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Thread: The Vercors, France

  1. #1

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    The Vercors, France



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    The recent thread on Mental Roads prompted me to mention the Vercors District in France. Its often bypassed on the way to more well known areas, meaning even in the summer holidays it can be relatively quiet. It has some quite outstanding sights, so I thought I’d give it a brief airing. A few years ago we made a little detour from our Alpine wandering to have a look, and these places and roads stuck in my memory.

    The Vercors is a mountainous limestone area with a high plateau lying south west of Grenoble. From south of Grenoble the D531 climbs steeply up the flanks of Le Moucherotte giving a great birds-eye view back over Grenoble and its valley. Continuing via St Nizier the road drops steeply again to Lans in Vercors, and on to Villard les Lans where above the town is a nice free aire (45.066181, 5.556076. no services) with views over meadows and hills.

    The D531 continues down the sinuous Gorges de La Bourne, carving its way through the plunging sides of the gorge, dodging low overhanging cliffs…which are doable with a coach-built van, but take a bit of negotiating!


    The gorge emerges at Pont-en-Royons, from where a short hop leads to the D76 which heads towards ‘the main course’ of the trip, a drive up Combe Laval.

    Combe Lavel is a vast limestone shear sided bowl. The D76 climbs steeply up and then through a series of narrow airy balconies and tunnels climbs up out of the declivity up onto the high limestone plateau. Passing other vehicles can offer a few moments of entertainment!

    Above the gorge, peeling off the A76 a little leads to Font d’Urles and a nice little known Aire in a sheltered basin at an equestrian centre (44.898039, 5.320547: free to stay but water, showers and elec. payant). From here there are walks into a Geopark area to visit interesting limestone features, and peer over a great escarpment with towering views over the Rhone Valley. There’s another more crowded paying Aire futher on at Vassieux-en-Vercors. A little further on one can join the D518 and either complete a circuit back to Lans, or as we did, go down to St Die, and then via D315/D120 circle round to Chichilianne close to Mont Aiguille (Reminiscent of the mountain in ‘Close Encounters?).

    There’s lots of walking routes around Chichilianne, to make the best of them we parked up one night in Chichilianne village, and another in nearby Richardiere at a small free Aire at little ’Nordic Walking Centre (44.822678, 5.547307) water/ emptying free, pay elec.)
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    Last edited by barge1914; 20-12-2018 at 15:09.

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    Amaaaazing!

    Truly amaaaazing photographs and a very well written piece, I felt I was almost there again.

    We were there in May 2016 and I loved it but most Wonderous hated it as we were down well below freezing every single night the coldest being a nice warm -7C!

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    Photos 2 & 3

    Made me rush to the toilet.
    Is it like that for a lot of the way or are these just the highlights.
    I like mountains but NOT steep drops.

    We used Col de Cenis instead of the Frejus tunnel.. Easy peasy
    as was the Rollo pass in Italy on the way to the Brenner and down to Innsbruck again easy peasy
    as is the Fernpass

    PS we have also gone over the Pass to Applecross and the scenic road to Lockerbie

    So we are not complete wimps

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    Quote Originally Posted by jagmanx View Post
    Made me rush to the toilet.
    Is it like that for a lot of the way or are these just the highlights.
    I like mountains but NOT steep drops.

    We used Col de Cenis instead of the Frejus tunnel.. Easy peasy
    as was the Rollo pass in Italy on the way to the Brenner and down to Innsbruck again easy peasy
    as is the Fernpass

    PS we have also gone over the Pass to Applecross and the scenic road to Lockerbie

    So we are not complete wimps
    Have real problems with heights . Couple of times almost froze on the pyrenees . Avoided Applecross for a long time , went there a couple of times had no problem with the road
    Likes jagmanx liked this post

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    Good cure for constipation.
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    Vercors

    Quote Originally Posted by jagmanx View Post
    Made me rush to the toilet.
    Is it like that for a lot of the way or are these just the highlights.
    ...
    Rest easy, these are the highlights. The Gorges de la Bourne are a few miles long, but not really really high. the interesting bit through the eye of the needle lasts only for a mile or so.
    Thanks jagmanx thanked for this post

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    An interesting read ... thank you.

    I will add the first location to the POIs.

    The third location is already in the POIs.

    The latitude and longitude for the spot at Font d’Urle appear to be incorrect. Please can you check?

    Thanks ...
    Remember - POI additions and updates can be sent by email to POI@wildcamping.co.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by POI Admin View Post
    The latitude and longitude for the spot at Font d’Urle appear to be incorrect. Please can you check? Thanks ...

    44.89789 5.32105 this is where we parked for that name Font d’Urle

    But Barges co ords look like a open spot

    And thanks to him for taking the time to write up his report
    Last edited by witzend; 18-12-2018 at 21:27.
    Likes Tezza33 liked this post

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    Quote Originally Posted by witzend View Post
    44.89789 5.32105 this is where we parked for that name Font d’Urle

    But Barges co ords look like a open spot

    And thanks to him for taking the time to write up his report
    This is the spot currently in the POIs ...
    Remember - POI additions and updates can be sent by email to POI@wildcamping.co.uk

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by barge1914 View Post
    Rest easy, these are the highlights. The Gorges de la Bourne are a few miles long, but not really really high. the interesting bit through the eye of the needle lasts only for a mile or so.
    Here's a good site with it listed the site is worth exploring as many other "interesting roads" are listed

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