Truly exceptional! Not to be missed! A must. Insist for the bucket list! Drop everything and go now! Col de Bonette! This pass has few rivals. Much better than the Stelvio class passes -- and I love Stelvio. But this is something else. We started in Barreme, picked up C4 at Jausiers and rode it on to St Entienne. Sublime. Just do it. Hope for nice weather.
I took the road by the map I uploaded except few details. I started not in Menton but in Monaco(let´s say at the start of F1 track:). I saw nice view from top of Monaco and then take bit of highway to join La Route des Grandes Alpes near Menton. I went by twisty road to Sospel, take amazing Col de Turini, wend up from the road to see French side of Col de Lombarde, then use shortcut to Col de la Bonette with amazing scenery and lot of corners(first time over 2700m), Col de Vars and Col d´Izoard, which seems average after previous 2. Twice Col du Galibier, first time at the evening, while I saw only fog on the top(above tunnel) and second time at the morning with all the beautiful scenery and cyclist riding downhill. Col de l´Iseran with fog and 2775m above see level and Cormet de Roselend which was last spectacular passes. Rest of route is more average and often I was not sure if I´m still on the Route des Grandes Alpes or just on some local route. I almost took also Col de Joux Plane by accident, but it was closed. I didn´t go all the way to Thonon-les-Bains, but I went to Lugrin, where we found camp.
All route took as 2.5 days, while we was not pushing too much. Surface is usually really good, road is sometimes bit to narrow, there are lot of 180 corners to take you up to some Col and also fast twisty narrow valleys with rocky walls and lot of tunnels where you can ride fast corners. Be prepared for changes of weather. We got lucky and had mostly dry conditions. Gas stations are sometimes quite far away(50+km) from each other so check it before you go up to Col.
You are able to find signs of La Route des Grandes Alpes on all the road, but you are not able usually to navigate by them while they are not on cross roads.
Sept 2012 I picked up this route from the BBR mobile app. We then had a fantastic 4 days following the route des grand alps all the way down to within about 70km from Nice then back across Provence.
This road has everything from extreamly narrow switch-back hairpins, to nice fast roads that sweep and miander (if miander is the right word to use at 80mph) for ever downward next to a river or railway. There are spectactular high passes a plenty and small villages surrounded by Alpine Meadows and lakes. Very rarely did I think hmm, this bits a little dull.
We were on GSs though there were plenty of sportsbikes about (you could tell sports bike riders in the cafes as their eyeballs were still jiggling about)
We put in the follwing way-points and let good old TomTom (set to avoid motorways of course) do the rest.
From St Gervais les Bains - Albertville - Bourge St Maurice - Val dIsere - St Michel de Maurienne - Valloire - Briancon - D902 Col dIzoard - Guillestre - Vars - Jausiers - St Etienne de tinne - Beuil.
From There took a day to cross Provence to Gap before hitting the Autoroute home. 1998 miles out & back from Essex.
Beats Stelvio hands down!
A friend of mine recommended this route, says its really fantastic and a beautiful part of the World. Hoping to try it soon.