Travelling via the Grand St Bernard Pass as an option to the Mont Blanc Tunnel
Another option on how to get into the Aosta Valley through Switzerland.
This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
For those of us driving to the mountains from the UK into Italy, the classic and fastest route is to go to Calais. From there, you take the A26, A5, A31, A39, A40 and you cross the Mont Blanc Tunnel. This past summer the queues at the Mont Blanc Tunnel where horrendous. That is why we thought why don’t we do our travelling via the Grand St Bernard Pass as an option to the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
We’ve first tried that on our way back, as a way of a road trip. Usually, the day of the long stretch we go from Morgex (10′ down of Courmayeur, by the Mont Blanc Tunnel), to Reims. This time, the first day, was falling on the day of my eldest’s birthday, and it would not have been too much fun to be sitting in the car for hours. So we’ve decided to go to Strassbourg and then Brussels. There it was sensible to go through the Grand St Bernard, as it is pretty a straight route.
My husband was not happy thinking you have to pay the Swiss vignette. At about 40 CHF, it is nothing if you compare it to the tolls of the French Autoroutes.
Obviously, this means that there are more cars on the road. The Swiss vignette gives you access to all Swiss motorways for the calendar year.
This October, we went for the week of the half term to our home in Morgex. We knew that the Mont Blanc Tunnel was going to be closed for three weeks. We’ve went the first day, to our typical stop at Chaumont. We always stay at the Ibis Styles Chaumont Centre Gare. This is a great stop, we know the manager, Chrystelle, that is always very welcoming. The rooms are comfortable, beds are great, and they have a very good breakfast.
Chaumont is a great city where to stop. The city centre is very compact and have lovely views of the valley from the top of the hill.
We always have dinner at Le Jardin, a small restaurant attended by its chef, with only five tables. We always take the formule, and it is always very good at a great price.
The next morning we woke up and went on the Route Nationale (D619) towards the A31. From there to the A39 and on the exit of Lons le Saunier, we went towards Poligny. From there we went through a series of D roads towards Pontarlier. Then south of Neuchatel lake, and we got into Switzerland. We took then the A9, the connection with the A1 towards Geneva lake. After this, the A9 again direction east, towards Lausanne and Montreaux. Here you have lovely views of Lake Geneva. Then we went south towards Martigny, and Orsieres. This is the direction if you were going to Verbier. We continued towards the Grand St Bernard tunnel. At this time of the year, the pass had already closed.
The tunnel is much faster than the Mont Blanc Tunnel, as there does not seem to have queues. And the price is cheaper. Return costs 50,00 CHF / 43,10 € and one way 31,20 CHF / 26,90 €.
You enter to the Aosta Valley and the road is very nice, passing by the ski resort of Crevacol, then E-troubles. You continue going down towards Valpelline. From there to Aosta and then you are in the statale SS26 towards Morgex. We avoided the A5 as the short path from Aosta to Morgex on motorway is very expensive. Plus, it only takes 5′ off the driving time. And the views of the SS26, with all its castles on the peaks and mountains, is really amazing!
On our way back, we did pretty much the same, going up to Aosta, then into Valpelline, E-troubles, the Grand St Bernard Tunnel. From there towards Martigny, and to Montreaux, Lausanne, and then the D-roads towards Poligny. We did a couple of error turns, more as the GPS got lost a couple of times when we got into France. But eventually we made it there. I love that you pass very small ski resorts, with a couple of surface lifts. I am assuming they only open if snow is there- and do not rely too much on artificial snow.
That night we decided no to drive to Reims, as this trip puts one hour more in our normal route. We went instead to Troyes, to the Brit Hotel Comptes De Champagne. The hotel is very well located in the historic centre of Troyes. This time we got a room in their annex, by their parking, across from the main building. I would suggest you to stay in the main building. The hotel is not fancy, but it is a nice old middle age building with pan de bois. The breakfast is good and the employees are all very friendly.
The fact of the rooms across is that they are within a building that has private apartments and there is no front desk checking who is coming in or out.
Next day we woke up and have to drive to Calais and then back home. Back to reality- until next time! This can be a road we take more, as the Mont Blanc Tunnel needs to have lots of repairs, and I’ve read that they might have to close it for up to 3 months!
Featured Image: Coming into the Aosta Valley passing the Grand St Bernard Tunnel from Switzerland. Travelling via the Grand St Bernard Pass as an option to the Mont Blanc Tunnel
Please follow and like us: