Tour Reports

Thursday, 20 May 2010

A difficult day as I lost a screw on the GPS holding bracket so the GPS got a knock and somehow lost the maps I loaded for the route into Italy with the result being I had to use the old fashioned way of navigation. After more then a few wrong turns I managed to find my way through stunning scenery up into Switzerland where I immediately got skinned by Swiss customs for 30 Euro. What for? Well in Switzerland you need to buy a 30Euro sticker to use their motorways, and in some ways it’s probably a better system as you don’t have to keep stopping at toll booths, it’s a 1 off payment.

I hadn’t been in Switzerland in many years and I forgot how dangerous it is to drive there, its so hard to keep your eyes on the road as the mountains on every side climb to incredibly imposable heights, you cant help but stare until you realise your about to barrel into the back of a bus. The motorway round lac Lausane has magnificent views which brings you up to the St. Bernard Pass and the route into Italy where I headed into the Aosta Valley and Breuil Cervenia, home of Mont Cervinia (The Matterhorn)

After a long 10 hours on the road I eventually found my destination, a little pizzeria with rooms above hidden in the Matterhorn valley in the hillside town of Torgnon. And what a wonderful place it is to stay, the restaurant called Jour et Nuit is a wonderfully rustic wooden mountain building, the pizzas are excellent and I should know as I spent 12 years as a chef. My room in the mountain style hints of wood smoke and overlooks a deep valley with insanely beautiful views of village spotted, forested mountains with snowy peaks with the tip of the Matterhorn 30 km away.


Next: 2010 Euro Bike Tour. Day 3 – The Matterhorn

2010 Euro Bike Tour, Biking Routes - France, Biking Routes - Italy, Biking Routes - Switzerland 4 Responses so far

4 Responses to “2010 Euro Bike Tour. Avalon to Aosta / Matterhorn Valley”

  1. SATDOC27 says:

    Hi Denis,
    I was looking for embedded google maps of the ride from Avalon to Torgnon and then the Matterhorn Valley. I thought they used to be in the write up but may be mistaken.
    Thought we might try the route this year.

    All the best – magic site for reading and watching on youtube when its howling outside.

    All the best
    Bob Calver (Cornwall)

    • gpsroutes says:

      Hi Bob,

      I thought it was in there too, but I’ve been neglecting the route download section as I’m overloaded as usual. I’m also redesigning the whole site to make it easier to navigate and find information.

      Anyway, from Avallon you have a few routes to choose from.

      Route 1 –
      This brings you from Avallon to Dole via motorway, then it’s easy riding ad pleasantly meandering rural D roads to Lausanne, round the east side of Lake Geneva and a quick motorway jaunt to the Great St Bernard Pass. At Bourg St Bernard take the Great St Bernard Pass if it’s open and NOT the tunnel, the old pass is stunning, the tunnel is horrible, although not as bad as the Mont Blanc Tunnel which should be avoided if anyway possible. About half way through the St B tunnel there can also be a customs check (Swiss/Italian border within the tunnel) which can cause in-tunnel tailbacks. Apart from the St B Tunnel, the downside of this route is that you need to buy a Swiss motorway pass which is about €40 I think. Check before you leave Avallon that the St B Pass is open, if it is then this route is worth it and takes about 7-8hrs.

      If the Grt St B Pass is closed and you have to take the tunnel then this route is not worth it, take the following route instead..

      Route 2
      This route brings you along Lake Annecy which is beautiful and Annecy is a cracking good town and well worth a visit if you have the time. Gets very busy in tourist season though. This route then brings you over some really great roads to Bourg-St-Maurice, the Little St Bernard Pass then on to Aosta. Also 7-8hrs if you don’t hang around Annecy.

      Hope this helps. Happy New Year and safe riding..

      • SATDOC27 says:

        Hi Denis

        Excellent advise thanks, I will factor in as you suggest. I have to say that using your routes before we have had magic riding in all the best places.
        Booked up this year to do a longer tour from Folkestone to Lauterbrunnen, Torgnon, Briancon, Ardeche then Midi Pyrenees to Carcossone, St Beat (your route) South Loop from St Beat (your route)
        then head off through Broto (through that superb canyon on your TV chan) Pamplona and Santander – risking the Guardia Civil but how else to get to Santander.

        Booked in at Chateau le Chapeau Bleu with Ron and Carol and will try to use the Jour et Nuit at Torgnon as well as Mt Prorel.
        What a resource eh!

        All the best
        Bob and Jon Calver

        • gpsroutes says:

          Wow, that’s one heck of a trip you have planned, even I’m jealous ;) Don’t worry about the Guardia Civil, as long as you are doing nothing wrong there is nothing they can do anyway. Just remember they have cameras with reg plate recognition hidden on all the main routes, so just watch your speed and you’ll be fine.

          Enjoy and safe trip..


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