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French Alps - May?

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
951 posts
4 reviews
French Alps - May?

Hello

Family of 3 planning self drive over 16-18 days. (Have already driven Norway, Iceland, Austria + Dolomites.)

Now - Will these Roads/passes be open between May 10 - 30? Looking for mountains + scenery so will this be a stunning drive?!

Geneva - Chamonix - Aosta Valley - Briancon - Verdon Gorge - Avignon - Geneva.

Thanks for any advice!

Michelle

14 replies to this topic
Marlow, United...
Level Contributor
5,766 posts
26 reviews
1. Re: French Alps - May?

There will be roads and tunnels open to access all of those locations at that time of year but the high mountain passes may still be shut by snow. There would still be plenty of great views even if you do take the Mont Blanc tunnel.

Grenoble, France
Level Contributor
850 posts
188 reviews
2. Re: French Alps - May?

The high mountain passes are generally closed until June, sometimes July, depending on the depth of snow. So you might find you have to drivf a very long way round.

reading
Destination Expert
for Chamonix
Level Contributor
2,366 posts
11 reviews
3. Re: French Alps - May?

If the passes are closed there are tunnels not scenic but you get where you are going

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
951 posts
4 reviews
4. Re: French Alps - May?

So is this a good route we have chosen for scenery? Any suggestions like should we continue down to the coast and then back up again?

Marlow, United...
Level Contributor
5,766 posts
26 reviews
5. Re: French Alps - May?

It depends what you want to see. The passes being closed means you are basically swapping a 1.5 hour climb and descent via the passes for a 25 minute drive in a tunnel, but there is still plenty to see either side of Mont Blanc. I suggest you look at a map to see what appeals but Torino, Genoa the Ligurian coast and the Cote d'Azur would be on my list.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
951 posts
4 reviews
6. Re: French Alps - May?

We are from Singapore - so basically we only want to drive Alpine roads and see snow (mont blanc) + lakes (Annecy?) - like we drove Glossglockner, Dolomites, Bavaria etc.

We can only do the drive between May 10 - 31 therefore trying to understand and squeeze out whichever Passes may be open in the French Alps during this time.

Champlon, Belgium
Level Contributor
9,374 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: French Alps - May?

There is no absolute guarantee that any of the passes will be open in May. The handful of "all year" passes will probably be open, as will a few others that aren't too high, but they can all be closed for short periods if there is fresh snowfall - signs on the access roads to the passes will tell you whether they are open, closed or chains required.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
951 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: French Alps - May?

So now what do we do?? Any advice on how to proceed further

Grenoble, France
Level Contributor
2,024 posts
92 reviews
9. Re: French Alps - May?

The only all year mountain pass above 2000 m is Col du Lautaret, between Briançon and Grenoble. Here you will see snow in early May for sure, and it is a stunning drive indeed. From Geneva to Chamonix, no tunnels, but from Chamonix to the Aosta Valley you need to take the tunnel du Mont Blanc (otherwise you could have taken the Col du Petit Saint Bernard), and from Aosta to Briançon it should be alright. But I would simplify your trip, and skip Italy altogether. Start in Geneva, visit Annecy and Chamonix, then visit mountains that are low enough you can drive and visit with no trouble : the Bauges mountains and the Chartreuse. Then go to Grenoble, visit, and take the road to Briançon, visiting La Grave on the way, seeing the cable car to the Meije glaciers. Then visit the Queyras mountains (unfortunately col de l'Izoard will still be closed most likely), then the Serre Ponçon lake and Gorges du Verdon (no trouble here with the roads). Finish in Avignon, and backtrack through the Vercors mountains (again, low mountains, May will be fine), lac du Bourget (Aix Les Bains) and back to Geneva. Plenty to fill a 16 day trip.

Grenoble, France
Level Contributor
850 posts
188 reviews
10. Re: French Alps - May?

Michelle, the route Nicolas B has given you is an excellent one. You’ll have plenty of variety, fabulous scenery, and plenty of mountain roads. It’s a perfect route for May, and should fill 2 weeks nicely. Make sure you don’t have too many overnight stops, as you’ll want several nights in the best places so you have time to explore.

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