The Alpine Arch spreads from Slovenia all the way to the French Riviera in a 2500km 'C' shape. It has been a natural border between France and Italy for centuries thanks to its peaks that reach up to 4800m, its dead end valleys, its glaciers and majestic landscapes. Pilgrims, merchants and now hikers have been strolling the GR5 for hundreds of years, but very few know that a parallel route can be driven. Of course it is off road, using the old border control trails, farmer's tracks and more recently remote power line access routes. This itinerary is magical. You will journey from the heart of the Alps starting at the base of the highest mountain of Europe and zig-zag through amazing scenery from pastures to high passes, river crossings and forests, alpine vistas and ocean panoramas, until you reach the Mediterranean sea. This itinerary is rich in its history spanning from the Barbarians, Napoleonean tales, WW2 ruins and most recently illegal migration routes. At the heart of both the Italian and French nations this route will have you discover an incredible side of Europe, while enjoying great food, varied accommodation, and most importantly, challenging drives with our nicely prepared 4x4.
Why choose us
The Alps is where we come from; it has been for years our playground and we have developed a strong knowledge of all areas we go to. And most importantly we are passionate about our 4x4 trip.
Best season is the European summer: from late June to late September.
We currently have the following dates (contact us for specific dates):
10 days (9 nights)
Geneva airport, Switzerland.
Who can go?
this is a family friendly trip.
Trip overall Hardship Rating [where 1 is 'easy' and 10 'is very tough'] = 4,3 /10
Difficulty = 4
Isolation = 5
Danger = 4
This activity involves (%):
Transport: Walking = 20% Taxi = 5% 4x4 driving = 75%
Survival skills = 0%
Orienteering = 25%
Group Autonomy = 10%
Day 1: (D)
meet at the airport and drive to Chamonix. Settle in accommodation. Briefing, car presentation and car handling in neighbouring trails. Dinner.
Day 2: (BD)
Departure to Bourg Saint Maurice via Contamine Montjoie, Hauteluce, Lac saint Guérin and the old fortress of La platte. Stunning vistas with the Mont Blanc.
Day 3: (B)
Bourg Saint Maurice to Motaret via Courchevel. We will be entering the biggest ski resort in the world, and enjoy the Vanoise national park landscapes.
Day 4: (BD)
Motaret to Parque Naturale de Susa via Menuire, Modane and Mont Cenis.
Day 5: (B)
Parque Naturale de Susa to Briançon via Lac Noire, Col d'Izoard and the fortress of Briançon. This section snakes between Italy and france like if there was no border.
Camping by a lake below some remnents of WW2 bunkers.
Day 6: (BD)
Briancon to Barcelonette, through the Queyras national park. Enjoy a beautiful castle and discover local farmers tradition. We will drive through an old military tunnel of Parpaillon above 2000m.
Camping in a magnificent site called Argentera
Day 7: (B)
Barcelonette to La Bonette via the 2800m pass. Passing former WW2 sites
entering Mercantour parc, crossing into italy Col de la Lombarde and back to a pass at the french/italian border. Visit traditional Piemont villages.
Camping inside ancient military fortress
Day 8: (BD)
Heading to the ocean via Tende, pastures and forests. We will drive the mythical 70 turns trails to the village. Visit of Sospel and continue on to the sea in Menton.
Drive along the Riviera to Nice via Monaco
Day 9: (BD)
Drive to Chambery via the Napoleon road primarly started in 1778.
Day 10: (B)
Head to the airport
End of program
Weather / local conditions / Terrain:
Weather in this region is continental. Summer temperatures can reach up to 35°C during the day and 5°C at night in altitude. The environment is rich in wildlife: from trout to foxes, chamois, marmots, mountain deers, lynx and eagles. In some areas wolfs are visible. The landscape is made of pine trees, spruce, birch and ferns in wet areas, high peaks, rock fields, pastures, snow and glaciers.
We will use cosy little hotels, Bnb or 'gite'when available,.
When in the wild we will camp with the gear fitted in each vehicle
It is an important part of our journey as we spend a lot of time together! We will often picnic for lunch and when we drop in a village we will enjoy carefully chosen local restaurants, to experience fine food and great diversity. Most lunches are cold picnic (baguette, patés, saucissons, wine, fruits, sweet treats, etc) - We take you to local markets to experience and choose your own products under the guidance of your guide. In hotels, Bnb or huts, excellent hearty food is served. It will be mostly french traditional food (quite rich), it is delicious and highly awaited for after a long day behind the wheel. When camping we will enjoy the warmth and beauty of a bbq and you'll be surprised at the quality of dishes that can put together in such remote and secluded areas by your guide.
In a private taxi from and to the airport
Driving your own 4x4 - our vehicles range from 4x4 pickup trucks, landcruisers and landrovers. They are all fitted for off road and geared for camping. Most of the time beside our journeys the 4x4s go on international races and challenges such as the Rallyes Gazelle Aicha.
What to expect
This is not a race - it is about taking the time to take it all in. To enjoy an amazing variety of scenery. To discover a very rich history and stuningly varied landscapes. As we zig-zag between France and Italy, we will drive up and down passes, across forests and open valleys, and through modern and old villages. Sometimes we will be on roads, but mostly on old trails. We will visit ruins, cathedrales, churches, museums and farms. We will enjoy hikes in national reserves. We will have challenging drives, with some difficult sections. In some places you will be surprised by the drop. We have selected hotels and camp sites to sleep under the stars and enjoy the natural beauty.
Safety and security
We take safety very seriously. There are no major risks but the ones inherent to 4wdriving. And we minimize these risks by preparing for them. But the best is to act mindfully and carefully during the trip. The area is well known to your experienced guide, and the route could differ depending on local conditions. Should an incident happen, rescue protocols are well established and local rescue operators can be contacted easily mostly by mobile phone.
Visas are not required for Australians for the duration of this trip.
in twin share per person in a group of 6 vehicles, and 2 per car:
Inclusions and exclusions
Should you have any questions please contact us