R03 - Brig to Bourg Saint Maurice
Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard (2188m)
Driving around the Alps is quite an experience. You have not yet passed one corner or the next one is already coming up. While climbing from the valley, see the landscape change from wooded slopes with splashing waterfalls to alpine meadows where no trees can be found and asphalt roads that cut through the eternal snow. Arrived on top of the mountain, enjoy phenomenal views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks, as if you were standing on the roof of the world. For me that is pure enjoyment and that is why I rate this route with 5 stars.

The Rhône is a river that originates in the Rhône glacier near the Furka pass, a pass in the northeast of the canton of Valais and flows from there in a south-westerly direction. The boundaries of the canton correspond to those of the river basin. Until Brig the high mountain valley is called Goms and the river itself is called Rotten. The valley widens sharply at Brig. The river now flows west. Larger places here are Brig, Sion and Martigny, where the river makes a sharp bend to the northwest. 40 km further, the Rhône flows into Lake Geneva.
During the first 100km, the Rhône forms the backdrop for this route. Every now and then there is a little deviation from driving on a nice mountain road, but the river keeps popping up. And yet the river is only crossed twice, most of the first 100km is south of the water.

Just before you cross the Rhône for the first time, you can see a large number of satellite dishes on the mountains you are facing. These are located in the place Leuk and belong to the 'Satelliten Bodenstation Brentjong'.
Brentjong's honeycomb-shaped one-storey station building with its pillar-free interior and enormous circular parabolic antennas at Leuk has long been considered an architectural gem. The architects Heidi and Peter Wenger had built a complex on the gently sloping terrace on the right flank of the Rhône valley between 1972 and 1973, commissioned by PTT, which, despite its imposing dimensions, blended surprisingly well into the environment and at the same time looked futuristic and elegant.
In March 2000, the operator Swisscom withdrew from the satellite communications business. In the future, the company relied on transmission media such as high-quality submarine cables or on purchasing satellite services from other foreign providers. The ground station went to the American company Verestar. As a result, it was repeatedly said that a subsidiary of the buyer had close links with the US Secret Service. Verestar would have ended up in the right company in Leuk: the Onyx reconnaissance and eavesdropping system of the Swiss intelligence service operates its eavesdropping antennas in the same ground station.
In the municipality of Leuk and in the places in the region, there are no concerns about intelligence activities in the satellite earth station. Even at the height of the various wiretapping scandals, there was no criticism. The subject is not very explosive. It is apparently clear to everyone that every country is engaged in espionage, so don't worry about that ...
Unfortunately the station was closed to the public after the death of the founders.

After you have crossed the Rhône you climb higher and higher until you reach the town of Lens. A remarkable museum has been built in that town: The Fondation Pierre Arnoud.
The facade of this museum alone is remarkable: 84 glass solar panels cover this building by architect Jean-Pierre Emery. This reflects the environment of Lac de Louché and the mountain peaks of Wallis. Inside there is approximately 1000 square meters of exhibition space that is arranged with unusual changing exhibitions, amazing. Click on the link below for more information about the exhibition. Not interesting for you? Then it is nice to look at the building from the outside and take a picture, because the location by the lake is beautiful.

The route continues on the right flank of the Rhone Valley until you cross the river again at Sion. You pass this fairly large town on the south side, then you drive a long way along the Rhône. The last 15km through the Rhône valley, the river has been replaced by a railway line. There are no bends in these 15 kilometers, only straight ahead. But do not worry, there will be plenty of curves soon, after Martigny, there will be plenty!

After Martiny has passed the route starts to climb. That does not take too long, because at the first hairpin bend you encounter there is the possibility to stop for a coffee break. This coffee break is planned at restaurant Gorges du Durnand. The restaurant is in a beautiful location, surrounded by greenery at the tip of a hairpin bend. Order a cup of coffee, sit on the terrace and be amazed at what goes up and down the pass. Great to see!
The gorge of the same name, which has the entrance at the restaurant, was built in 1877 and completely renovated in 1987. The gorge offers a breathtaking spectacle, which makes it one of the ten most beautiful in Europe.
Located in the town of Bovernier, the visible part of the Gorges du Durnand extends for about 1 kilometer. It is accessed by a small rural path, lined by blueberries and wild strawberries, that suddenly turns into a series of hanging wooden walkways and stairs (330 steps in total) that provide visitors with amazing views. Be well informed by the information boards or the staff in the restaurant before entering the gorge. It's a tough walk!

After coffee you continue the route up the mountain, the Col de Champex, a pass that has its highest point at 1498m. On top of the pass you will pass through Champex-Lac, a picturesque mountain village. On the edge is a beautiful lake, which should definitely be taken a picture.
Just after the lake you will find the 'Fort d'artillerie de Champex-Lac' on the left. That's a fortress hidden under the Alps. Built in 1940-1943 it is a relic of the 2nd World War, although it was used by the Swiss army until 1998 after modernization for a possible nuclear conflict. More than 600 meters of corridor have been dug into the mountain. Completely invisible from the outside, with space for 300 people. For information about opening hours and admission prices, see the link below.

After Champex-Lac you descend to Orsières, where you will get a fantastic piece of asphalt under wheels that will take you towards the border with Italy. In fact, the climb of the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard starts here with a pass height of 2469m. Slowly but surely, the number of vertical meters is increasing. Just before the road you are driving on disappears into the tunnel, turn off and drive up the old pass. Not very good asphalt on the Swiss side. After a few kilometers there is a concrete construction along the road, Aeration du tunnel. That is the aeration of the tunnel, in this place it runs right under you.
The route continues to climb until you are on top. A lake forms the last part of Switzerland, at the end of this lake you enter Italy. And then ... the descent. Truly a great stretch of asphalt, beautiful views, beautiful curves and tunnels, all great. This descent is in my top three! 15 kilometers Enjoy with a big G!

Unfortunately, this beauty will come to an end far too soon, but there will soon be even more to enjoy.
You follow the route further towards Aosta. Just above this place you turn to the east, but you do not follow the big busy road, but the smaller mountain roads. That means steering, steering and steering again!
Arriving at Pré-Saint-Didier, the route turns southwest. Here you start the ascent of today's last col, the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard. On top of this col you will pass the French border. But before that happens you first have to process 8 tight hairpin bends on asphalt of great quality. Slowly but surely you climb higher and higher, trees become a rarity at this height and have made way for grass and bare rocks.
Although Aosta has been behind you for some time, you still drive through the Aosta valley. Just before the border, at Lago di Verney, there is an opportunity to take a last photo of the Aosta valley before you leave Italy for France.

Once you have passed the border, you immediately notice something. Asphalt is less, not really bad, but bumpy, not as tight as in Italy. And a guardrail? More than that, and often a wall of 40cm high. Not a good idea to come into contact with that during the 25 kilometer descent that you now have in front of the wheels.
Once you have reached the bottom, you enter the town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice, where today's final destination can be found, hotel Relais de la Renoise.

Have fun driving this route!
Fort d'artillerie de Champex-Lac
Gorges du Durnand
Useful links:
Hotel Relais de la Venoise
Gorges du Durnand
Artillery fort of Champex-Lac
Fondation Pierre Arnoud

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Using this GPS route is for your own account and risk. The route has been compiled with care and checked by a MyRoute-app accredited RouteXpert for use on both TomTom, Garmin and MyRoute-app Navigation. Due to changed circumstances, road diversions or seasonal closures there may be changes, so we recommend checking every route before use. Preferably use the routetrack in your navigation system. For more information about the use of MyRoute-app, please visit the website at 'Community 'or' Webinars'.

Waypoint, used to construct the route
Sight, here you can see something
Viewpoint, a short stop for taking a picture
Stopping point, for hotel, lunch, etc
Attention, see the text in the waypoint for more information

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Arno van Lochem - RouteXpert
Auvergne Rhone Alpes
The images and text displayed here originate from the Wikipedia article "Auvergne Rhone Alpes", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
About this region
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (ARA; French: [ovɛʁɲ ʁon‿alp] (listen); Francoprovençal: Ôvèrgne-Rôno-Ârpes; Occitan: Auvèrnhe Ròse Aups; Italian: Alvernia-Rodano-Alpi) is a region in southeast-central France created by the 2014 territorial reform of French regions; it resulted from the merger of Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes. The new region came into effect on 1 January 2016, after the regional elections in December 2015.The region covers an area of 69,711 km2 (26,916 sq mi), making it the third largest in metropolitan France; it had a population of 7,948,287 in 2017, second to Île-de-France. It consists of twelve departments and one territorial collectivity. Lyon is the prefecture of the region. This new region combines diverse geographical, sociological, economic and cultural regions, which was already true of Rhône-Alpes, as well as Auvergne, to a lesser extent. While the old Rhône-Alpes and Auvergne regions each enjoyed a unity defined by axes of communication and the pull of their respective metropoles, the new combination is heterogeneous; it sustained lively opposition from some local officials after its creation.
12710
Amount of visits (Auvergne Rhone Alpes)
45
Amount of routes verified by RouteXperts (Auvergne Rhone Alpes)
780
Amount of downloaded routes (Auvergne Rhone Alpes)
Route collections
The route collections by MyRoute-app are collections of multiple routes that belong to each other and checked by MRA RouteXperts. All routes are identical for TomTom, Garmin and MyRoute-app Navigation.
7
Routes
2110.12
Kilometers
42.88
Hours
View route collection Tour around Switzerland
About this route collection
The Alps, a mountain range in Europe stretching from the French Mediterranean coast in the southwest to the Pannonian plain in the east, almost always guarantee beautiful routes. It can hardly be boring there. The many passes, views and variations in the landscape make the Alps a true motorcycle paradise.
Switzerland is central to this paradise and is surrounded on all sides by countries where it is beautiful steering on fantastic roads.
The 7 routes of this collection lead you around Switzerland, of course this beautiful country itself is also visited. You will pass through beautiful areas such as the Alps, the French and Swiss Jura and the Black Forest.

A few attractions are discussed per route in the review. These often tell something about the history of the area in which you are driving. So educational. Many places have also been indicated where you can find some entertainment, such as a toboggan run. You are completely free to visit these sights, you can of course also determine your own interesting points.
But the most important thing you've probably traveled to this area for is simply driving. And as mentioned above, you are in a true motorcycle paradise where the steering is fantastic!

Each route ends at a hotel (except the last one which ends at the train station in Innsbruck). It is of course not an obligation to use these hotels, you can always find another place to stay in the area, you are completely free. However, my experience is that they are all simple but good hotels for a very reasonable price. They are known and can be booked via booking.com.

The routes of these collections:

R01 - Innsbruck to Chiuro, 301km
R02 - Chiuro to Brig, 279km
R03 - Brig to Bourg Saint Maurice, 288km
R04 - Bourg St Maurice to St Etienne de Cuines, 307km
R05 - St Etienne de Cuines to Metabief, 295km
R06 - Metabief to Fuerstenberg, 305km
R07 - Fuerstenberg to Innsbruck, 335km

Have fun riding these routes!