Col de la Bonette - Special Stages

Col de la Bonette

Chris Leustean

Colle della Bonette is one of the most spectacular roads you can ever travel. It is located in France, in the Maritime Alps, and with its 2,715 m asl it ranks fourth in the list of the highest mountain passes in Europe.
If this were not enough, a road starts from the pass that makes a ring around the Cima della Bonette (2,860 meters) reaching the highest altitude at 2,802 meters, making this stretch of road the highest asphalted transit in Europe.

Altitude: 2715/2802m
Length: 45km+1.5
Colleague: Jausiers (FR) with Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée (FR)
Google Maps link:

There are other roads that in turn exceed this altitude, but they are dirt roads or limited to traffic, so if you want to reach the highest point in terms of altitude with your sports car, this is the half to choose in Europe!

Il Colle can be easily reached from Italy from both sides.

The southern slope can be easily reached from Italy through the Colle della Lombarda and then from the Stura Valley (CN). The ascent to this incredible pass, in French territory, starts from Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée. In the first section, the road is not wide and at times a little bumpy, but once you reach the crossroads where the M2205 becomes D64, the conditions of the asphalt improve and the roadway widens gradually as it emerges from the vegetation.
Along the climb you come across a couple of small inhabited centers up to an altitude of about 1,800 metres, after which the road runs fast up to the pass. Very characteristic is the passage through the ruins of an ancient military camp, which is located at about 2,260 meters.
The asphalt is in excellent condition and the view is wonderful, even if you need to be very careful as the road is totally unprotected downstream.

The north face is equally spectacular. The ascent begins from Jausiers, which can be reached from Italy via the Colle della Maddalena, and therefore always from the Valle Stura. Shortly after Jausiers you come to the small town of Lans where we recommend that you pay attention to the artificial speed bumps, which are particularly accentuated.
The rest of the climb to the Bonette is in spectacular condition. Perfect asphalt, a roadway suitable for traffic and a panorama that is truly difficult to describe. Here too the road is unprotected, so you need to pay particular attention.
Going up the road runs along the side of a wide valley with almost lunar landscapes, all accentuated even more by the mountains devoid of vegetation of an unusual dark gray colour.

The road which from the pass makes the ring around the top of La Bonette is subject to a strange controversy. On both sides there are signs prohibiting access, both vehicular and pedestrian. However, the flow of tourists that travels along this road is high and there has never been any news of disputes regarding these transits.

At the highest point, at 2,802 meters, there is a plaque commemorating the construction of the road and from this point begins a footpath that takes you to the top of the Bonette from where you can admire an enchanting 360-degree panorama.

In our opinion

It is one of the destinations that we recommend most of all. Both for the truly unique panoramas and for the conditions of the road you travel on.
It is difficult to give advice on which direction to take this pass, both sides are excellent both uphill and downhill. We can give the advice on reaching from Italy, advising to walk the Colle della Maddalena in the morning and the Colle della Lombarda in the afternoon, then climbing to the Col de La Bonette from the north, from Jausiers.

We also recall the proximity of Jausiers to the Col de Vars, to be included in a longer and more complex itinerary which may perhaps start from the Val Varaita (CN) entering France and then from the Colle dell'Agnello.

Credit blue Porsche 911 Col de la Bonette:

Credit Col de la Bonette landscape: Matthias Klaiber

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