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Want to see the ALPS: Please give advice on driving from Italy to France

Want to see the ALPS: Please give advice on driving from Italy to France

Feb 2nd, 2012, 04:24 PM
  #1  
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Want to see the ALPS: Please give advice on driving from Italy to France

My husband and I are trying to drive from northern Italy to Paris through the Alps in late June. We know it may be cheaper/easier to fly, but we would like to see some of the beauty and charm of the Alps and my husband really enjoys driving. I have been trying to research, but I seem to be getting more and more confused as to what we should do and would really appreciate any tips or advice!

I am not totally sure, but I think these seem to be a few of our options:

1. Start in Venice, head to the Dolomites for a night or two, and then head up towards Innsbruck, and then??? can we still cut across the swiss alps, or do we cut across germany?

2. Start in Milan, head across the Swiss Alps through the Bernese Oberland -- but there are many passes, and not sure which would be best?

3. Get to Nice, and then take the "Route des Grandes Alpes" through towards Lake Geneva and then, I think, through the Rhone Valley towards Burgundy and Paris.

My main question is... Are the three options equally beautiful?

Also, are there certain drawbacks to any of the routes?

Again, we're interested in beautiful scenery, charming villages, and maybe taking a short hike or two. Spending bulk of time in Italy and France, and just looking to spend a most a night on the drive across.

Thanks so much!
Dina
dina4 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 04:31 PM
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The Route des Grandes Alpes is impressive (if that is the road that comes closest to the Italian border), going over at least 5 high passes. We did it in two days, starting in Chamonix and stopping overnight in Briançon. I would recommend a minimum of three days, which would allow more stops along the road to enjoy the views.
Michael is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 04:54 PM
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Thanks so much for your response, Michael.

I've read the drive is quite impressive. Did you enjoy your overnight in Briancon? Any place in particular you stayed?
dina4 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 04:59 PM
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The trip took place in 1967, so I do not remember the hotel in Briançon, except that it was cheap and had mismatched rose patterns--one for the wallpaper, another for the curtains, and still another for the bedspread (one remembers crazy things).
Michael is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 05:05 PM
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Lol. That is funny.

We were hoping for a charming place to stay in one of these charming towns....

Thanks anyway!
dina4 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 05:15 PM
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Are you aware of the big drop charge for the car in France?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 05:15 PM
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You could always try viaMichelin:

http://www.viamichelin.fr/web/Hotels...ns=2&keywords=

The LOGIS Hôtel de la Chaussée might be what you are looking for.
Michael is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 05:32 PM
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Hi Bob. Yes, we're aware of the fee, as we've paid it before. That's why picking up a car in Nice to start the drive is appealing. I know you're a wealth of information -- do you have any preferences for any of the routes?

Michael, thanks again! That place looks nice and affordable.
dina4 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 06:02 PM
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You've paid the extra $500 or so to pick up in one country and drop off in another? OK, if you're comfortable with that.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 06:05 PM
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well, we rented a car in paris once and dropped it in rome. the fee was more like $300, but that was six years ago. maybe it's a lot worse now?

that being said, would we missing a lot by just seeing the french alps vs. the swiss alps?
and how do the dolomites compare...
dina4 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 09:41 PM
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Aside from getting around the rental car drop off problem, I find the Nice-Alps-Paris route the most interesting.
The drive from Nice until you finally hit the Alps is the longest, but you go from pines and palm trees to snow-capped mountains, so to speak. Very diverse vistas and sights.
And if your heart is set on exploring the Swiss Alps, it is no problem to go from Nice through the Maritime Alps along the French-Italian border, then head for Torino and Milan, and enter Switzerland near Como.

Coming back to your option #1 Venice-Dolomites-?
You don't have to go straight north from Innsbruck and leave the Alpine region. But keep going west-even though a bit of that route would be on motorway to Landeck, then SW into (Swiss) Engadin (Scuol, Davos) and further west as you please.
Or do not go across the Brenner pass to Innsbruck but stay parallel/ south to the Austrian border via Meran until you got to (Swiss) Engadin.

Eventually, it all boils down to how many days you can or want for "crossing the Alps". 2-3 days would do in a somewhat direct way. But going all the way west thru the Alps from Venice to Geneva would be more like 5 days IMO. Not net drive time, but allowing for stops, sightseeing, short hikes etc.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 12:30 AM
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I am not really familiar with the routes you are describing. I can tell you what we did in 2010.

We collected our lease car at Lyon airport and took the most direct route to Briancon [quite scenic as I remember] where we stayed in a rental for a week [ this was the last week in Sept]. We then drove into Italy over the Col de Montgenevre [was on the Tour de France last year] and on to our next rental in the Lunigiana region of Tuscany. Two weeks later, from our rental in the Chianti region [Greve], we drove through Piedmont and back into France through the tunnel at Tende [probably too far south]. After a week in La Brigue we then drove back into Italy, and returned to France over the col de Larche and through Barcelonnette and eventually into the Drome region[ also probably too far south].

All this tells you is that there are heaps of attractive ways to travel from Italy to France. We enjoyed all our drives. For you, I would probably go with the first [ through Briancon] if you are coming from the north. Once you are back in France you could then get over to the autoroute and head north.
rhon is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 06:12 PM
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Thanks again!

This is all really good info. I think we're actually leaning toward staying in the dolomites a few days and then heading west...

Thoughts?
dina4 is offline  

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