Col du Lautaret

At an altitude of 2058 m, the Col du Lautaret is France’s highest mountain pass open to traffic year-round. It is also the passing point between Montgenerve and Vaujany. Part of our ‘stuckness’ for the last few days has been the closure of the Col de Lautaret due to the bad weather. So reaching Vaujany would be difficult without this route being open.

Passing through Serre Chevalier – impassable a few days before

We tracked the progess of the snow clearing for a couple of days on a useful site  Info Route 05 which details the staus of all the roads in the department.

Col de Lautaret is top left – Mongenerve is bottom right Green mountain means open

The warnings on the way were a bit of a worry as they suggested chaînes à neige obligatoires, however we thought our winter tyres would cope with the conditions provided there were no snow drifts.

As a bit of extra insurance in the event we might need to stop to put the chains on, we seized the opportunity to pick up two French hitch-hikers, who having caught the train to Briançon had missed their bus connection. The fold-away belted seats in the back of Charlie were put to use for the first time for the short journey up and over the col to La Grave (their destination hopefully not ours!).

La Grave in our most beautiful villages book and France’s renowned off- piste ski destination.

We eventually arrived at our much heralded and long anticipated camping car aire in Vaujany, only once again to be stuck this time for couple of hours at the aire entry barrier, as the system was saying the aire was full but we could see free spaces.

Three engineers later and eventually a man with a key for the barrier arrived and we we’re in. After digging out the frozen snow to clear the space, the bigger challenge was getting Charlie on the levelling ramps. The first two attempts had them skidding out from under the wheels (such fun)!  For the third attempt we packed snow in front and that worked – we stayed on…. Applause.

Post script – Whilst the navigator went out looking for provisions the driver stressed out after much skiddyness had a nap. Waking up he stepped out of the habitation door to see where she’d got to and promptly fell flat on his a*se and broke the hab door bucket lid in the process. On returning Lesley (and sometime later) not able to resist the urge to get that perfect sunset picture (yes you’ve guessed it) stepped out in her slippers…. a whoosh flat on her behind. Nuff said.

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