Cycling Barcelonnette to Guillaumes, France (Day-5: ROUTE DES GRANDES ALPES)

August 2020

DAY 5

Stats: Barcelonnette (1,150m) to Guillaumes (800m) via Col de la Cayolle (2,326m); length 60km; elevation 1,400m. Battery used 70%.

CB1BF730-5A7D-4BAC-8697-4596D62BF8D3

We had an early starts, running against time to avoid thunderstorms at our night destination. We also cranked up the engine a little 😜🚴‍♀️.

This stage was superb! It goes through Mercantour National Park, with minimal traffic, immersed in total isolation apart from fellow cyclists and rare motorists . The surroundings are completely wild, with narrow gorges, streams and steep mountains .

7461F075-08DE-448F-8F73-D1D0D98A3FB71299C896-9839-4DA0-B957-AE1DF9F94839A0BFD72F-505F-40BC-9EEA-09D108C7F77807BD06E4-E66B-4EB5-8B49-50376EC10B8D

We felt we were biking not in France but in some remote untouched mountain range in some exotic part of the world.  We biked in awe of the surrounding nature, somewhat reminiscent of the Swiss Alpine landscape.

AD6F77C4-EDEA-43C6-A1CA-E18BD72426E2

Col de la Cayolle, situated in the Mercantour National Park, marks the separation between  Alpes Haute Provence and Alpes Maritimes. Up there the panorama is superb, peaceful and beautiful in its wilderness , surrounded by meadows and beige sandy mountains. We would have gladly rested there if time and weather allowed.

6CCFB0DE-85AD-45D9-A300-8FCE10CCA960
Col de la Cayolle

0409FEC4-D074-4030-BDC2-8DAEEC48F168691A3FFA-1725-4C15-8D24-B9DA6CAA96A6

4715A17B-1EC0-4B49-B1D7-E822224400B1
Passing the Col

7FE0DE0F-65CC-4467-9F81-2D51C58E12C9

The descent is equally dramatically wild and spectacular and follows the Vars river to Guillaumes.

88505E50-09F8-4D79-A57F-97D6098257A9A5E99C25-53F2-4121-966E-5BF8CFE5752C5451E234-CB84-4ED4-8F90-D1FCC6AF2B08

As predicted, the bad weather finally caught up with us and we biked the  last 30min under pouring rain.

Guillaumes was a big disappointment. I don’t usually write negative comments, since my viewpoint may not reflect the general sentiment. But here I cannot refrain. Not sure what I was expecting in such a remote location. Maybe I’m used to the Swiss Alps, where every little hamlet is pristine and charming, no matter how isolated. In Guillaumes , we find a single dirty-looking restaurant, which we skipped. A single coffee/snack shop, unappealing and without Covid sanitary precautions, which we skipped. The only dinner option left was a Supermarket, which looked like taken right from a war-stricken  country. The fruits and vegetables were so rotten that not even animals would have eaten them. The fridge section had been raided. We were left with some canned food, a bit of cheese and crackers, which we ate on the banks of the river. 

As a consolation, our room in Guillaumes was very cute, new and with a chalet flavor.

Links to other sections of the Route des Grandes Alpes:

2 thoughts on “Cycling Barcelonnette to Guillaumes, France (Day-5: ROUTE DES GRANDES ALPES)

Leave a Reply to Swissbiking Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s