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The Alps Alpine Passes* (with links)
Monte Bianco 4807m Colle d. Gran San Bernardo 2473m
Monte Cervino (The Matterhorn) 4478m Colle d. Piccolo San Bernardo 2188m
Val d'Aosta   Col de Montgenevre (this page) 1854m

Link to Wikipedia page on alpine passes

*and still on our list - the Simplon and San Gotthard passes



Starting Point - Gordes in Provence


The previous day we had been wrestling with indifferent / overcrowded roads and limited slots for guided tours of the "Lavender" Cistercian Abbey of Senanque.  Today Dom P had firmly locked away the cameras - it was to be just a relaxed driving day across the Alps.  But the Dutch and German campervans thinned out as we headed north into the roads less / not travelled by summer tourists, and the temptation became too great as the car climbed the beautiful broad valley past the Lac de Serre-Ponçon and on to Briançon and the Col de Montgenevre ....


Into the foothills with a curious spectator
Lac de Serre-Ponçon


The restored and working Abbaye de Boscodon, which uniquely in our experience claims to have a copyright on any photos taken of it ... an interesting feature of religious communities regaining control of abbeys etc (often, but not in this case, with the help of significant public funds) is that they inevitably become (much) less accessible - see, for example, Citeaux !











Nearing the top (1854m) where there is a collection of unmemorable ski stuff.  The road going down on the Italian side seemed to be steeper and narrower, though there were better engineered crash barriers - a necessary feature if one counted the dent evidence from (Italian?) vehicle impacts !  So this time the cameras really did get a rest until we arrived at our destination ........ 



........ the Cistercian Abbazia di Chiaravalle della Colomba (dove) (1136) near Fidenza, and the 15 room **** Hotel della Commenda in the beautifully "deeply restored" 1400s Abbot's Palazzo (below) - now firmly on Dom P's favourites list, especially after Barbara, who handles the restaurant, remembered him and the wine he chose from a year ago!  To get there leave the A1 at "Fiorenzuola" and head along the old main road (via Emilia) for Parma.  The Abbey is signposted to the left twice, the more obvious time being the second in Alseno.  This very reasonably priced four starer is also an ideal base for those wanting to be next door to where Giuseppe Verdi was born and lived.


Link to other paradoxplace pages on the Cistercian Abbazia di Chiaravalle della Colomba



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