On the road

Km 17

Saint-Pierre-d'Albigny (Pop: 4,000)

Miolans Castle
Foundation: 11th century
Style: medieval fortified castle
Characteristics: for defensive purposes, the castle was protected by four successive ditches and 3 drawbridges, associated with 5 staggered gates to break the enfilade.
History: transformed into a state prison from 1564 to 1792, the fortress counted the Marquis de Sade among its most famous prisoners.
Current use: privately owned by the descendants of the former prefect of Savoy, Eugène Guiter, who bought it in 1869 to restore it, the castle hosts cultural events and is partially open to visitors.
Classification: Historical Monument in 1994

Regional Nature Park of the Bauges Massif
This park, created in December 1995, covers 85,600 hectares and includes 65 communes with 56,500 inhabitants. It protects impressive limestone cliffs as well as beautiful landscapes of forests and mountain pastures.
These mountains are home to a remarkable flora and fauna: 1,300 plant species, 150 species of breeding birds, 9 species of amphibians, etc.
On 17 September 2011, the Park was awarded the Geopark label for the Bauges massif. This label, supported by UNESCO, promotes sustainable tourism and economic development by enhancing the geological wealth of the massif. The gateway towns are: Aix-les-Bains, Albertville, Chambéry, Ugine, Rumilly, Annecy.

Km 27

Montmélian (Pop: 4,100)
Located in the combe de Savoie. Former military capital of the Duchy of Savoy and historical capital of the Savoy vineyards.
Pioneer town in terms of solar energy: it has been the French champion of solar energy since 2004 and holder of the European Citer'gie EEA label. In 2015, Montmélian was the starting point for the Dauphiné stage won in Saint-Gervais by Chris Froome.

Morens Bridge
Listed as a historical monument in 1985. Located between the communes of La Chavanne and Montmélian, this stone bridge was built between 1671 and 1685 by the architect François Cuénot.

Km 36

Challes-les-Eaux (Pop: 5,600)
Between the Chartreuse massif and the Bauges massif. A spa and tourist resort renowned for its ENT and gynaecological cures with the most sulphurous waters in Europe. The thermal baths were opened in 1874, following the discovery of sulphurous water in 1841.

Km 42

Chambéry (Pop: 63,600)
Prefecture of Savoie. City of Art and History. Its old town is made up of a large number of old town-houses (15th-16th century) belonging to the Savoy nobility, small streets dating from the medieval period, with colourful and narrow facades (a tax introduced in the 14th century was calculated on the width of the facades), and trompe l'oeil decorations. But Chambéry is also a collection of old buildings mixed with contemporary ones ... the beautiful Charles Dullin theatre of 1864, which bears the name of the Savoyard actor, the Phare, a large multi-purpose hall of 2008, its Law Courts where the proclamation of the results of the plebiscite on the reunion of Savoy with France (1860) took place, the elephant fountain, nicknamed the "4 assless ones", built in the 19th century ...
Chambéry has hosted the Tour de France on three occasions, for starts in 1996 and 2010, and in 2017 for a finish that saw Rigoberto Uran raise his arms. The town has also hosted the Critérium du Dauphiné 16 times. However, it was in 1989 that the greatest cycling feat was achieved in the city with Greg LeMond's victory in the world championship ahead of Dimitry Konyshev and Sean Kelly, a few months after his second Tour victory. Already clad in rainbow in 1983, LeMond gave the name of Chambéry to one of the bike models he later marketed.

Fountain of the elephants
Listed as a historical monument in 1982. Historically called the Colonne de Boigne and nicknamed "The Four Without Asses". Erected in 1838 in honour of General De Boigne, the fountain is today one of the most famous monuments in the city. The fountain is 17.65 m high and is made up of 4 cast iron elephants. It houses a bronze statue of the general.

Castle of the Dukes of Savoy
Foundation: first built in the 11th century, then modified several times during the 13th century and completed in the 15th century.
Style: medieval, with Gothic additions
Characteristics: huge building designed in an irregular quadrilateral, from which stands out a square keep flanked by a watch-turret, a high semi-circular tower and a high chapel.
A little history: the castle suffered several fires in the 18th century and from 1800 onwards the first prefects began to work there. When Savoy was annexed to France in 1860, it was conceded free of charge to the department: a major restoration requested by Emperor Napoleon III was carried out, including a new wing and a monumental staircase for the semi-round tower.
Current use: used by the Savoie Prefecture, the Savoie Departmental Council and the Savoie Academy.
Classification: Historical Monument in 1881

Chartreuse Regional Nature Park
Created in 1995. One of the 54 regional nature parks in France today. Straddling Isère and Savoie, the park covers 76,500 hectares and 60 communes, with a population of nearly 50,000.
The central Chartreuse (Haute Chartreuse) is characterised by mountains with steep slopes and covered with deep forests. It is the favourite habitat of roe deer, wild boar, deer, mouflons and chamois. The "Hauts de Chartreuse", classified as a State Nature Reserve, are the cradle of a mosaic of landscapes where open mountain pastures, high altitude forests and long cliffs alternate. They are home to a particularly rich flora and fauna over more than 4,450 hectares. The Moyenne Chartreuse and the foothills have more open landscapes. They bring together a large part of the demographic, agricultural, craft and industrial resources.

Lake Aiguebelette
Located at 360m of altitude. It is the 7th largest lake in France with a surface area of 545 hectares.
Its emerald-green colour has given it its name since Aiguebelette means beautiful little waters. It is a private lake owned by the Rivérieux de Chambost de Lépin family and by Électricité de France. The lake is frequently used for major rowing competitions and has hosted the World Rowing Championships twice. Popular French novelist Frédéric Dard owned a house on the lake.

ISERE (38)
Population: 1.26 million
Prefecture: Grenoble
Sub-prefectures: Vienne, La Tour-du-Pin
Surface: 7,431 km².
Specialities: Grenoble walnuts (AOC), St Marcellin (IGP cheese), Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage (AOP cheese), ravioles, Chartreuse liqueur, Bonnat chocolates, antésite, wines (coteaux du Grésivaudan, Balmes dauphinoises, Collines rhodaniennes, Vitis Vienna), Vercors trout, alpine meats (beef, lamb), gratin dauphinois, brioche de Bourgoin, murçon (charcuterie)...
Heritage: Ecrins National Park, Chartreuse Regional Nature Park, Vercors Regional Nature Park, Vercors High Plateaux Reserve. Domaine de Vizille, Grande Chartreuse monastery, Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, Pont-en-Royans, Choranche caves, Grenoble cable car, Chartreuse cellars, St Hilaire du Touvet funicular, Crémieu medieval town, Vienne, Walibi Rhône-Alpes amusement park, Virieu castle, Touvet castle
Main sports clubs: FC Grenoble (Rugby), Brûleurs de loups (Ice hockey), GF38 (Football), CSBJ (Rugby), Les ours de Villard (Hockey), Rugby Sassenage Isère (Women's rugby). Events: Foulée Blanche in Autrans, Vélo Vert Festival in Villard de Lans, Ut4M (Ultra tour des 4 massifs), Trail des passerelles du Monteynard, Echappée Belle (Ultra traversée de Belledonne), EuroNordicWalk Vercors, La Marmotte à l'Alpe d'Huez (cyclosportive event), Coupe Icare in Chartreuse, Mégavalanche in Alpe d'Huez.
Festivals: Alpe d'Huez Festival (comedy film, January), Berlioz Festival in Côte Saint-André (August), Jazz in Vienne Festival (July), Autrans Mountain Film Festival (December), Grenoble Open Air Short Film Festival (July), Musée Electronique Festival at the Musée dauphinois in Grenoble (June), Vercors Music Festival in Autrans (July), Cabaret Frappé Festival in Grenoble, Musiques en Vercors Festival, Rencontres ciné-montagnes in Grenoble.
Economy: Industry, electronics, digital, micro and nanoelectronics, information technology, research, health, hydroelectricity, chemicals and the environment, energy, thermal baths, tourism (21.4 million commercial and non-commercial overnight stays - €2 billion in turnover generated by tourism companies).
Websites: www.isere.fr / www.evasion.ishere.fr / www.alpes-isere.com / www.cyclo-alpes.com

Km 47.5

Saint-Laurent-du-Pont (Pop: 4,530)
Saint-Laurent-du-Pont was the birthplace of cyclist Charles Berty, former world record holder for the 100 km. This rouleur, who took part in the Tour de France in 1935, 1936 and 1939, was deported to Mauthausen in 1944 at the age of 32. A stadium in Grenoble was named after him before it was demolished to build the Stade des Alpes.

The 5-7 disaster
On the evening of 31 October to 1 November 1970, a terrible fire destroyed the 5-7, a fashionable nightclub located at the entrance to Saint-Laurent-du-Pont. While Parisian band Storm were performing on stage, the fire quickly spread to the decorations made of paper mâché and polyurethane. When these materials burn, they release highly toxic gases. Melted plastic rained down on the victims, and the synthetic fibre clothing also caught fire. The public tried to flee but the emergency doors were locked to prevent access to the fraudsters, and the metal turnstiles at the entrance to the establishment only worked in one direction: 146 deaths, 4 of which succumbed to their injuries, the majority of the victims were under 20 years old. During the investigation, the gendarmerie found 68 violations of various regulations.

10 km away:

Museum of the Grande Chartreuse
The Grande Chartreuse (The Great Charterhouse) was founded by Saint Bruno in 1084. The monastery remains a place of prayer and the visit to the museum sheds light on the life of the monks who retired in solitude and silence, through original documents and testimonies on the 900-year history of the Carthusian monks.

Chartreuse (liquor)
In 1605, the Duke of Estrées gave the monks of the Charterhouse of Vauvert, in Paris, a manuscript revealing the formula of an elixir containing almost all the medicinal plants of the time, the origin of which is unknown. In 1737, the Grande-Chartreuse monastery decided to make an exhaustive study of it. Its apothecary, Brother Jérôme Maubec, was given the task. In 1764, he succeeded in definitively establishing the formula for what became known as the Grande-Chartreuse Plant Elixir. Still used today, this elixir is 69 pc. Chartreuse Verte, at 55 pc, was developed in 1840. Its success was immediate.
In 1903, the Carthusian monks were expelled from France. They took their secret with them and set up a distillery in Tarragona and then in Marseille until 1929. The monks then regained the use of the name Chartreuse; they resumed distillation in France, in their old distillery at Fourvoirie, near the Grande Chartreuse monastery. These buildings were destroyed in 1935 by a landslide. The production was then transferred to Voiron, where it remained until November 2017 before being transferred to Entre-Deux-Guiers.
Invested with this mission by their Order, two monks work in the greatest secrecy and are the only ones to know the details of the production. Today, as in the past, the formula remains a mystery that modern methods of investigation have not been able to uncover.

Km 87

Voreppe (Pop: 9,230)
The etymology of the name Voreppe comes from a pre-Celtic root, Vor, meaning "rock, height" and App "water" in reference to its geographical situation.
In 1980, Voreppe was the starting point for a stage of the Tour de France, won by Sean Kelly in Saint-Étienne.

Château de Siéyès
Foundation: 17th century
Characteristics: the facade overlooking the garden opens onto the terraces of a French-style park that was designed by Le Nôtre. On the street side, the facade on the street presents a remarkable trompe-l'oeil decoration.
A little history: it is here that Choderlos de Laclos (1741-1803) conceived the idea for his epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782). The castle also welcomed Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850), Daniel Stern (1805-1876) and Stendhal (1783-1842).
Current use: private property
Classification: Historical Monument in 1980

Notre-Dame de Chalais Abbey
Foundation: 12th century
Style: A masterpiece of Romanesque art in the Isère department.
Characteristics: the abbey was greatly transformed by the Carthusian monks in its exterior (hood-shaped roof, bell tower crowned by a globe topped by a cross, etc.) and interior.
A little history: the sun of the summer solstice is in the axis of the nave. Entering through the oculus in the chevet, it describes a luminous ellipse on the floor during the day. This feature is found in other Chalaisian abbeys.
Current destination: sold during the French Revolution, it is now the property of the Dominican Sisters of Oullins who offer religious retreats and have opened a traditional biscuit factory.
Classification: Historical Monument in 1974

Vercors Regional Nature Park
Straddling the departments of Drôme and Isère. 206,208 hectares (1,700 hectares for the Hauts-Plateaux Reserve, 10% of the territory of this Regional Nature Park), 85 communes (gateway towns of Crest, Grenoble, Romans-sur-Isère, Saint-Marcellin). To the north, the Four Mountains, to the northwest, the Coulmes, to the west, the Royans, to the centre, the Vercors drômois, to the east, the Trièves, to the southeast, the Diois and to the southwest the Gervanne.
The geomorphological varietý of the massif with its deep gorges carved into the limestone, its plateaus, its mountain peaks dominated by the Grand Veymont (2,341 m), its immense cliffs, its vast forests, but also its many climatic influences: continental, oceanic, Mediterranean and Alpine, make it a particularly rich and diverse territory in terms of fauna and flora. More than 1,800 plant species have been recorded here, from the plains, mountains and high mountains. Not to mention the specific fauna of the cliffs, caves and wetlands. Certain species such as the Alpine ibex, the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture or the marmot have been reintroduced in recent years.

Km 96

Moirans (Pop: 7,700)
The history of Moirans goes back to ancient times under the name of Morginum (it is possible that the river Morge is the origin of its name). The Romanesque church of Saint-Pierre, built in the 11th century, is a listed historic monument. The town has preserved a medieval tower, a vestige of the old fortifications. A convent of the Cordeliers dating from the 13th century presents an exceptional medieval monastic architecture in the department.
In 1580, an insurrection broke out in the Valence region, exacerbated by tax pressures and poverty, and cemented by the religious quarrel. The governor of the Dauphiné, Maugiron, seized the place where he went on a rampage and demolished the fortified enclosure. The Duke of Lesdiguières became Lord of Moirans. He bought the Colombinière estate from his mistress, Marie Vignon, known as "the lady of Moirans". The town has a former Delphine castle, which was successively transformed into a tax collection office, then an Ursuline convent and taken over by the commune in 1811; this is where the town hall is located today.
The French Revolution nearly made Moirans the capital of Isère. In July 1790, it fell 19 votes short (out of 556) of being chosen instead of Grenoble as the prefecture.

Km 101

Tullins-Fures (Pop: 7,700)
The history of Tullins-Fures began with the Celts. The Romans then occupied the region. In the Middle Ages, on the death of the last lord of Tullins in 1428, the Dauphin inherited the lordship. After the attachment of the Dauphiné to France, the town was given in commitment to different families of the region for more than two centuries (from 1428 to 1650). In the 17th century, rich families settled in Tullins and restored medieval houses, the traces of which are still visible today: many doors are listed as Historical Monuments.
From the beginning of the 19th century, industrialisation developed in the hamlet of Fures with the hemp cloth industry, silk industry, metallurgy and paper industry thanks to the driving force of the water. After the damming of the Isère at the end of the 19th century, the Tullins plain became suitable for agriculture. The production of walnuts developed to replace the vineyards, which had spread over the hillsides of Tullins, decimated by the phylloxera crisis.
The town of Tullins has a rich heritage around its old centre, the castle tower and the Clos des Chartreux. This architectural heritage bears witness to the town's history.

Km 119

Saint-Gervais (Pop: 540)

Royal cannon foundry of Saint-Gervais
Listed as a Historic Monument in 1986. Former foundry that cast its first cannons in 1678 for the navy of Louis XIV. Bought by King Louis XV in 1731, Saint-Gervais was at that time the third cannon foundry of the navy, after Ruelle and Indret. Restored in 1843, the foundry itself, built of Rovon ashlar, with two very simple outriggers, still has four visible furnaces.

Km 130

Saint-Pierre-de-Chérennes (Pop: 480)

Saint-Marcellin cheese
The race passes 5 km from Saint-Marcellin, famous for its cheese.
Saint-Marcellin is a cheese from the Dauphiné. Its Protected Geographical Indication (IGP) dates from the end of 2013 and covers 274 communes in Isère, Drôme and Savoie. It is a small cheese made from cow's milk, with a soft rind and an average weight of 80 grams. It is produced with milk from 274 municipalities in Isère, Drôme and Savoie.
Saint-Marcellin was also the town of Christophe Manin, who took part in the 1992 and 1994 Tours de France.

Department of Drôme (26)
Population: 494,000
Prefecture: Valence (Pop: 63,700)
Sub-prefectures: Die and Nyons
Surface area: 6,530 km².
Specialities: stone fruits, aromatic and medicinal plants, lavender and lavandin, garlic. 19 AOC / AOP including 10 wines, 3 cheeses and 6 other products: Grenoble walnuts, Nyons black olives, Nyons olive oil, Provence olive oil, Haute-Provence lavender essential oils, Ardèche chestnuts. Drôme products also benefit from 9 red labels and 13 IGP.
Sports clubs: Drôme HandBall Bourg-de-Péage, Valence HandBall, Team Drôme BMX, Saint Vallier Basket Drôme. Competitions: Critérium du Dauphiné, Drôme Classic (UCI Europe Tour), Corima Drôme Provençale (cyclosportive), Drômoise (cyclosportive), Raid VTT les chemins du soleil (Marathon X Country international)
Festivals: Fêtes nocturnes de Grignan, Crest Jazz Vocal, Saoû chante Mozart
Economy: 44,300 establishments and 13,000 companies. Leather and luxury goods, agri-food, transport-logistics, etc.
Main tourist sites: Crocodile Farm (Pierrelatte), Grignan Castle, Ideal Palace of Factor Cheval (Hauterives)
Websites and social networks: www.ladrome.fr / www.ladrometourisme.com / www.facebook.com/ladromeledepartement

Km 143.5

Saint-Nazaire-en-Royans (Pop: 800)
Medieval village with narrow streets. Traces of ancient ramparts and ruins of a fortified castle. Overlooking the courses of the Isère and Bourne rivers, the village was very early on a fortified town in the medieval period, protected by ramparts. A strategic issue from the 12th century onwards between the lords of the region, the locality once again paid a heavy price during the Wars of Religion.

Aqueduct of Saint-Nazaire
A round-arched bridge, completed in 1876 (the work on the Bourne canal, however, lasted until 1882) and fitted out as a footpath, 35 m high, 235 m long with a panoramic lift to access it. 17 arches: 5 small arches of 10 m, one arch of 15 m, 8 arches of 12 m, one arch of 15 m to cross the departmental road n°7 which crosses Saint-Nazaire, 2 arches of 10 m. At the foot of the aqueduct and a few metres from the entrance to the Thaïs cave, the paddle-steamer allows cruises.

Thaïs cave
Carved out by the Thaïs underground river, which then flows into the Bourne. The underground river has formed a series of galleries, some of which are still drowned and are the subject of dives by speleologists. Part of the cave was inhabited at the end of the Ice Age (around 8,000 BC). The cave with its naturally red and black coloured walls can be visited on three levels, one of which was actually occupied by humans.
The route includes natural areas with astonishing reliefs and decorations but also galleries where men took refuge.

Km 161

Barbières (Pop: 1,100)
Situated on the slopes of the Vercors, the village is particularly remarkable for its spectacular geographical location in the Barberolle gorge, dominated by the ruins of the Pellafol castle.
The village developed in the 19th century.

Km 173

Chabeuil (Pop: 6,700)
In 1349, the Dauphiné was attached to France, and Chabreuil then depended on the Dauphin Louis, the future Louis XI. During the war against Spain, Louis XIV, for reasons of alliance, offered the town to Honoré II de Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco, which became a Monegasque town until the revolution of 1789. The Grimaldi mansion, with its well-preserved keep, can be admired today.
Chabeuil is home to the Valence airport. At the roundabout, the replica of Tintin's rocket in Hergé's Explorers on the Moon.

Km 180

Beaumont-lès-Valence (Pop: 3,800)
Rugby icon Sébastien Chabal's town is notable for its tower topped by a bell tower (14th century) and its church which welcomes Catholics and Protestants under its roof.

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