Gorges of Saorge Road

The road and the gorges’ work are at the bottom of the valley near Roya river, and Ambo road on a steep slope. The commemorative plaques are visible from the road.

Period Nineteenth, XVII

Accessibility No

Visitable Yes

Until the end of the sixteenth century, the Roya Valley was crossed by trails, some of which had been arranged to facilitate the journey by convoys of packs mules. Locally, in the climbs, the ground was paved with local rocks and stone thresholds facilitated the grip of the mules.

The first major development works known came when Savoy controlled the route from Nice to Turin. They were made around 1433 – 1439, under the control of the gabelier (tax officer), Paganino Del Pozzo. The use of explosive powder, which was beginning to be controlled, allowed an easier production of uncut rubble for the implementation of the works of art, as the destruction of certain natural obstacles.

From 1592, the stronghold of Tende being acquired, Charles-Emmanuel 1st launched a project of junction of the carriageways on the courses of mountain between Nice and Turin. The ambition was not achieved, some bridges and passages being too narrow for four-wheeled carts, but in the Roya valley, shortcuts were opened in the gorges that previously required bypassing the heights. The journeys became faster and easier.

A commemorative plaque was engraved in the Gorges of Nocé, on the vertical wall on the left bank of Roya river. (Monument)
From 1616, following the opening of this road, the creation of the relay-hamlet of Fontan proved necessary to avoid the travelers the detour by Saorge.

Nevertheless, in 1752, it was found that in many places the width of certain passages is still not suitable for carts and carriages, and that the road was very locally badly damaged.

From 1780, Victor-Amedee III initiated the completion of the work undertaken by Charles-Emmanuel I. The road was finally drivable all the way.

The Gorges of Nocé road is still in use.

Conditions of visit

RD 6204 Road and surroundings (see cartography).

Authorized and easy access, various nearby parking options.

Permanently open to the public, except closed Gorges of Saorge parts. Beware of the dangers of traffic for a walking tour of the Gorges of Nocé.


Additional information


  • Botton Charles et Gaber Jean, Histoire de Saorge et Fontan, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 2009.

Useful links

Non documenté.