OverviewMount Janus (2540 m.),
the two-faced Mountain, rises majestically on the south side of the Col du Montgenevre. It is a blade of rock characterized by two steep rocky slopes (South and North), and two ridges that descend almost vertically to the east and west. Coming from Italy, its unique shape, is already noticeable at Claviere (Hill of Montgenevre).
Today is a beautiful backdrop for the ski slopes of Montgenevre, but was once the advanced sentinel, placed to protect the French border and the
pass of Montgenevre. To reach the peak you can choose two different routes, the longest from Briancon, the shortest Montgenevre. It is a wonderful path for hikers, bikers and in winter, for ski mountaineers.
Getting There.From France:
From the Town of Montgenévre, park your car at the start of the "Chalmettes Telecabine", from there start the dirt road direction :"Les Gondrans". It is a really beautiful and long dirt road, crossing inside a Pine Forest (the so called Front Neige). With about two hours you reach the Gondrans, from which the road to the Janus.
From Turin, take the A32 motorway (Turin-Bardonecchia), exit Oulx, direction Hill of Montgenévre. When you arrive at Claviere (Italy), you have to follow the S.S. 24. Then take the route National 94 in France and you arrive in Montgenévre. Leave your car at the start of Telelecabine Chalmettes, from there start the dirt road to the Gondrans.
The Trail.Once you arrive to the Gondrans, in front of you open the wonderful plains that slope to Montgenevre, winter home of the ski.
The whole summit ridge is dotted with old gun emplacements dating from the late nineteenth century (which you can visit). If you look closely the grassy plains, are all dotted with deep holes, are the signs of the terrible bombing in June 1940. From the guard of the French army (guarded)start the dirt road to Mount Janus, was built at the end of eight hundred. Is a path carved into the rock, which leads with wide turns and long straights to the summit ridge.
First, you will find the entrance to the colossal work Maginot , which crosses all the mountain (Is not open).
On top of the mountain there are huge walls of artillery and a beautiful cut stone barracks, fortifications dating from the early nineteenth century. Going all the ridge to the east, you arrive at the most evocative of the mountain, the two steel domes Maginot.
You will quickly realize the importance of Janus for the French, is a veritable eagle's nest from which it monitors every foot of the Col du Montgenevre.
It is an amazing vantage point.
To the North: the Valley of Clarée and Nevache, to the East: Mount Chaberton and the Hill, to the South: Mount Chenaillet, the Valley of Cervieres and the Pic the Rochebrune, to the West: Briançon the Valleys of Durance and Guisane and the Barre des Ecrins.
The military road from the Gondrans to Mount Janus takes about forty minutes biking.
Inside the mountain, living in a submarine.In 1883, the military engineers of Briançon, built a road to reach the summit of Mount Janus. Between 1886 and 1889 he began to fortify the summit, built a two-floor Blockhaus and several artillery positions open air.
From 1989 to 1906 excavations were undertaken in the rock. The construction of the Chaberton Fortress by the Italian, had made vulnerable the newest French fort.
Were built long tunnels , warehouses, dormitories, kitchens, and artillery positions in the blockhouse.
In 1931, the fort was again modernized, with the construction of a Maginot impressive work in the bowels of the mountain. Excavations were carried out for a total of 24950 cubic meters. The Maginot work was totally independent and a fortress capable of resisting for months.
Owned electricity generators, drinking water supply, dormitories, warehouses, food, first aid stations and numerous weapons in reinforced concrete.
He was armed with eight guns (including mortars and cannons), four twin 7.5 mm machine guns and ten machine guns for close defense. In time of war, the garrison of sixty men, living literally sealed inside the Janus, as if they were inside a submarine!
In June 1940, the Janus was repeatedly bombed and attacked by Italian troops, without them even get close to the access road.
The Janus played his role perfectly as a Sentinel of Montgenevre, invincible and indestructible!
In short.Length: 10.03 Km
Biking time: 3 hours
Difference in altitude: 1030 meters effective
Recommended period: July to October
Cartography: I.G.N. 1:25.000 3536 OT Briançon - I.G.C. 1:50.000 n. 1 Susa Chisone and Germanasca - I.G.C. 1:25.000 n. 105 Sestriere Claviere Sansicario Prali (partial coverage) - Didier Richard 1:50.000 n. 10 Queyras, Pays du Viso
Just remember that it is stricktly forbidden use jeep on the French ancient military road.
Only feet, bike, horse or sky.