An Article by Porscheist
Curves France: "From Martigny to Nice" - The perfect Roadtrip!
Inspired by a weekend trip through the Alps with 'Stefan Bogner', founder of the well known CURVES-Magazin in July, I came up with the Idea of doing another roadtrip through the Alps this year, following the route of 'CURVES 1 - France: Route des
Day 1: "Pick up in Stuttgart!"
It is 06:00 AM on a beautiful Thursaday morning. I get awake from the unpleasant ring of my cell phone clock. Time to get up now! - My train is leaivng at 08:00 o'clock. Aim? - Stuttgart.
More speciffically Zuffenhausen. The home of all Porsche.
After a cold shower I leave the house with a big coffee in my Left and my backpack in the Right.
13:30 AM - After an unpleasent drive with the "Deutsche Bahn" I finally arrive at my first destination, Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof. Just
a few Stations with the Tram and I'm finally there. My nervouseness increases, my hands are sweaty when I leave the wagon and cross the street. "I am there! - The home of Porsche!" - I think by
The first thing I get to see is the Porsche Museum. It is a massive sculpture entirely built from glass and concret. Like a big rock
it rises up to the sky and sparkles in the midday sun like a diamond. It is really impressing.
Also very impressing are the two cars, standing infront of it. An 'ultraviolet' Porsche 911 GT3 RS - the dreamcar of my childhood - is standing directly next to a red, brand new Carrera GTS cariolet. "Could it get any better? - This must be the perfect start into a pefect roadtrip!" - I think and I should not be disappointed.
At the factory gate I get received by a grumpy but friendly security officer. A man of the so called 'Porsche Werksschutz'. He tells me I should wait inside his office while he will check my invitation and will register me for the entry into the factory. After a few minutes a very kind and cheerful young guy arrives - "Welcome at Porsche! I hope you had a good trip and didn't have to wait that long?" he sais and leads me to the building where the press cars are housed.
(The truth is, I was so amazed by all these special cars such as a 997 Sport Classic, several GT3 RS and Turbos that were entering and leaving the factorys door minutely, that I had absolutely no time to get bored!) After we get all legal formality done he leads me to the car that would accompany me through the next week.
A brand new Porsche 718 Boxster!
Porsche 718 Boxster
First I have to put my packgage in the trunk. Because of its mid-engine design the Boxster has two of them, one in the front with a total capacity of 150l and one in the back which holds 125l. More than enough for a long journey of two adult persons I think and in fact on the whole trip we never suffered from any space problems.
Finding the perfect driving position takes me a while, because of the Porsche Sportseats Plus, which are mounted in our vehicle and are adjustable in 18 ways. Yes. 18! - A lot if one is as picky as me with the perfect drivingposition. Anyways, finally I feel perfectly happy and after I set 'Rosenheim' as my first destination I start my drive.
It doesn't take long until I fall in love with the car. I really did. I must admit I was quite sceptical towards Porsche's decision to change from an atmospheric flatsix to a downsized and turbocharged flat-four engine in the Boxster and Cayman models, but the huge amount of torque you get already at low ranges is simply astonishing!
After I have left the city and enter the german 'Autobahn' the oil temerature reaches 90 degrees and I can fully put the throttle down for the first time.
What followes leves me speachless... The entry level Boxster has 300 PS now. Not bad but it feels like a lot more. Full of anticipation of the curvy roads lying
ahead us during the next days, I drive home to pick up my girlfriend Nina who shall acompany me on the trip.
Day 2: "Bavaria to Chamonix!"
On our first day we have to go from our homebase in Rosenheim to the Start of the CURVES trip in the french town Martigny. Not a very spectacular episode on our journey. Only miles and miles of autobahn, trafficjam and speedlimits. It takes us about 8 hours, time enough to get used to the brand new communication and navigation system that features Apple Carplay now. A very amousing gadget especially for tech-nerds I think...
I have to admit that the new Navigationsystem has improved alot and helpes us well to find our route around several construction sites otherwise we would have left 9 hours or even more to get to Martigny.
To reach our first destination, a little hotel high up in the french Alps where we stay for the first night we have to drive up an incredible narrow road. I have never driven anything like that before, but I didn't know that this was only a foretast of what should follow during the next days.
Like an eagle's nest, our accommodation hangs between the peaks of the surrounding mountains. The view into the valley gives us a foretaste of the breathtaking roads and landscapes that lie ahead of us during the next days.
Day 3: "From Martigny to Nice!"
On the third day of our trip we finally arrive on terrain the Boxster was created for. Narrow curvy roads, as far as our eyes reach! The french alps seem to be
nothing else than endless passes which are juxstaposed. Thousands and more narrow sweeps go over into short straights and long drawns. It goes hundrets
of meteres uphill, only to drive steep downhill again. No where else the Boxster feels more appropriate than here. The turbocharged engine pushes so vehemently out of every turn as if it wants to
overcome the next straight in one single jump! With every kilometer driven the driver feels safer and the pace is constantly increasing. Very much to the suffering of the pessenger. After an hour
or so it is time to stop atfirst. Also we haven't come far more than 100 km yet, the sullen feeling in the stomach gives us a clear signal that it is time for our first pitstop and a short breath
on this day.
Drivers change! Time to devote themselves to the camera now. But only briefely... My girlfriend Nina also seems to feel more comfortable from sweep to sweep. Thanks to the seats mounted in our car, that really offer an excellent lateral support otherwise I would probaly would have flown through the cockpit several times. After another 2,5 hours of driving we finally reach the summit of Col de I'Iseran.
What a phantastic view! Delicate green meadows go over into rugged rocks which protrude into the sky like pinnacles. Like a huge snake the pass winds between the peeks of the mountains here. A true paradise also for countless motorcycles and road biker. We continue to screw up south with our Boxster we have kept into our hearts now finally!
Following on Col de I'Iseran we drive over numerous other passes such as Col du Galibier, Col de la Madelein and the Col d'Izoard. In the meantime it has become afternoon and we have been traveling almost seven hours now already. In any case we seem to be getting tired in contrast to our vehicle! Surprisingly, we had not had to refuel it sice our first stop in the morning. All in all the Boxster needed almost 9 liters of Super Plus only 2,1 liters more than the factory specification promises. A pretty good value as I think considering that we were driving through chellenging terrain. In any case, when shifting with the PDK transmission we seldom got beyond 4th gear.
This also works excellent! It is equipped with seven aisles, with the seventh being designed as a pure overdrive gear especially long. Our vehicle is also equipped with the so-called Sport Chrono package as well as the sports leather steering wheel with shift paddles mounted. Two features, I think you shouldn't get rid of. Nothing is more fun than driving in manual mode and shifting with the paddles. A quick snap is enough and within a few milliseconds only, the Boxster clicks to the next gear. Faster than a blink of an eye! - Awesome. Towards the evening we finally reach Nice and after a somewhat painful ride through the countless narrow one-way streets of the city we finally park in front of our Hotel.
Day 4: "A day on the beach!"
After driving almost 2.000 kilometers during the first three days of our trip, we only planed a short stage for this day. After an extensive breakfast we drive along the coast from Nice to the neighboring Liguria. We want to spent one day at the beach there, before we have to go home on the following. Along the winding coast we follow the road to the little italian town Alassio 115 kilometers away. Gradually more and more exotic cars appear. A sure sign that Monaco is not far. This dwarf state on the Cote d'Azur with its almost 19.000 inhabitants has always been the home of the rich and famous people. At about 10 o'clock we reach our destination Alassio and immediately go to the beach where we enjoy the sun on our skins for the rest of the day.
Day 6: "Driving back to Stuttgart!"
On the sixth and last day of our trip we have to return to Stuttgart. There we meet Sabrina C. an employee of the Dr. h.c. F. Porsche AG and the Porsche Newsroom. She has some special plans with us! A photoshooting with a second Boxster at the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen and around the area of the city. At first however we stuck in raffic again as so often before on our journey - "Ufffzz!"
From one hour become two and even more. When we finally arrive it is late in the afternoon already. We decide to change our plans and go to Schloss Solitude atfirst. At the avenue of the castle we can take a few amazing shots of the Boxsters.
Afterwards we have to return to Zuffenhausen. There, Sabrina leads us to the top floor of a car park. There we have an unbelivable view over the whole area of the Porsche AG. Because of the factory holidays all production tapes are standing still and nobody except us is there. Afterwards it is time to finally say goodbye to our beloved Boxster with the numberplate 2688. We hade a great time with you!
By the way: You can find all pictures of our shooting with the two cars in Stuttgart under Photos: Porsche Boxster Shooting - Old & New!
Some pictures to remember...
A short clip of our journey on You Tube:
There are probably only a few more beautiful or possibly equal routes like the "Route des Grandes Alpes". Stefan Bogner - founder of the Curves-Magazin, compiles them with the motto: "soulful driving!" and creates in his printmagazines real artworks with usability. Within numerous fantastic photos these magazines are ideal travelguides as well as a pleasent lecture on a winterday.
Any fan of driving whether on two or more wheels should be urgently recommended to take the one or the other route in his lifetime. What remains are not only fantastic photos but also unique impressions of beautiful landscapes.
For the route from Martigny to Nice you should at least plan 3 full days of driving, to rally enjoy it. We necessarily had to drive it in only one single day and therefore could not drive all of the brilliant passes. But hopefully it should not be the last time we visited the french Alps!
- Philipp M. Hohenthanner -