The Route Napoléon, signposted by gilded eagle markers, is both a historic and tourist attraction of Hautes-Alpes, recounting the story of the Emperor in 1815. After being forced to abdicate on 6 April 1814, Napoléon Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Elba. From then on he had only one objective, to escape and overturn the monarchy. The Route Napoléon (RN85) is the name given to the route he took accompanied by three thousand men on his way to Paris to regain control. It runs from Golfe Juan to Grenoble, via Grasse, Digne, Gap and Col Bayard, crossing two regions and four ‘départements’ including Hautes-Alpes, through the valleys of Champsaur and Valgaudemar.
Originally known as the Route des Alpes d’Hiver, the 314km long road took the name Route Napoléon in 1932 and is one of the best ways to admire the beautiful scenery of Hautes-Alpes.
Follow the route through beautiful villages and countryside to discover the high reaches of the Alps. At the start it is bordered by fields of lavender and sunflowers, followed by apple orchards before gradually climbing to the fortified hillside villages of Upaix and Ventavon, overlooking the Durance Valley. Further north, the small town of Tallard has a medieval centre featuring many remnants of its past including a 14th century castle, 17th century church (a place of pilgrimage for Armenians), wash pools and fountains. Another absolute must is its red wine, to be drunk in moderation… Take a little detour to the aerodrome for a wide range of aerial activities including ballooning, parachute-jumps, gliding, helicopter and microlight flights, paragliding, etc., not forgetting a wind tunnel with a freefall simulator and a 360° view of outside !
Scenery along the Route Napoléon RN85