One can admit the top of the Galibier pass, as the highest road of Serre Chevalier. In fact, the top of the pass, on southern side, belongs to Monêtier les Bains borough, one of the villages of Serre Chevalier. It’s the highest asphalted road in Serre Chevalier (2642m) with the Col du Granon (2413m) belonging to Saint Chaffrey’s borough
The Galibier road was built from 1880 to 1891 (when the former was completed). The road peaked at 2556m until 1976, when the tunnel considered too dangerous, has been closed.
It took a while to build a new road over the tunnel to maintain the opening. The new route, crossing the pass, adds additional 1km road on each side with about 10% of average.
Until 1947, the road on Serre Chevalier’s side was completely different. The former road had a much steeper slope (the last six kilometers to almost 10%). Securing the road Briançon – Col du Lautaret this year, lead to change the course of the road.
In 2002, the tunnel has been renovated and allowed to avoid the last kilometer. This tunnel allows vehicles usually completely prohibited on the top part. But the extraordinary panorama on top of the pass worth the trip, one of the most beautiful views of the Alps:
– See at a glance, the Mont Blanc (4810m) on north, La Meije (3983m) and the Barre des Ecrins (4102m) to the west side, and the valley of Serre Chevalier and Mount Viso (3841m) to the South. As you can see on the website of Serre Chevalier :http://www.serre-chevalier.com/en/summer/about-the-valley/360-visit/ on a 360 ° bird’s eye view.
The Tour de France crossed the Col du Galibier 59 times. Stopped in 1996, because of snow, it became in 2011, during the centenary of the event, the theater of the highest finish in the history of the Tour: Pinerolo – Galibier Serre Chevalier. The former record was in 1986 when the Tour arrived on the top of Granon (2413 m), also situated in Serre Chevalier
Since 1949, on Serre Chevalier’s side, near the tunnel, stands the monument Henri Desgrange, famous cyclist of the late nineteenth century and the man who created the Tour de France in 1903
The snowy slopes of the Galibier welcome each year kiters in the world during the Snowkitemasters of Serre Chevalier
The Galibier is also known as long MTB downhill trail which remembers the famous slogan of Serre Chevalier « From Briançon to the top of Galibier »