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Bonhomme mountain pass, from past to present

, July 3rd 2013, No comment, 1223 vues.

Located at an altitude of 2329 metres, the Col du Bonhomme is today one of the most famous mountain passes for its cultural heritage. It is also an extremely popular itinerary when  hiking in the Alps.


In 1355, the Val Montjoie became part of the House of Savoy and the Col du Bonhomme lost its status as an official border between France and  Italy following the integration of the province of Faucigny to the Savoy.

In 1860, after the annexation of the Savoy to France, a passport became compulsory in order to cross the col du Bonhomme mountain pass. A free zone was created by the Treaty of Turin,  reduced by France at the end of the first world war at the time of the  Versailles Treaty. The col du Bonhomme trail was created between1861 and 1866 following the visit of the Emperor Napoleon III. Legend has it that the presence of brigands made the journey along the pass extremely dangerous for travelers. In an attempt to drive them away permanently, the locals set fire to surrounding forests where the brigands  hid.

Today, located between two valleys, the  Beaufortain and the Val Montjoie, the Col du Bonhomme offers hikers splendid panoramic views of the Reserve Naturelle in Les Contamines on one side and the Beaufortain mountain range, on the other. Famous GR-5 hiking trails, the “Tour du Mont-Blanc” and the “Tour du Beaufortain” meet along the pass before separating down opposite sides of the mountain. Needless to say the path is extremely popular in summer. A high rate of frequentation has always existed, this route was also once a Roman road. Just imagine, a few thousand years ago, Roman or Gallic traders drove horse and cart along these mountain roads, passing through the upper Arve valley into Italy.  Regardless of the chosen itinerary, without the tunnels that exist today, it was impossible to avoid a passage through the high mountains.

This pass is one of the few areas within the region where nature has remained intact so please enjoy it! Don’t forget that in order to preserve its interest and attractiveness it is necessary to abide by certain rules: keep dogs on a lead, carry waste rubbish home with you, do not pick flowers, avoid making noise and use the specific bivouac areas.

Practical information :


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