Useful Information

PASSPORTS AND VISAS Col de la Croix de Fer

  • Nationals of EU countries need a full, valid passport to visit France.


  • As well as your holiday travel insurance, British nationals (and visitors from other EEA countries or Switzerland) are advised to carry a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This has replaced the old E111 form. The EHIC form entitles you to reduced-cost, sometimes free medical treatment if needed whilst in France. EHIC application forms can de obtained from your local Post Ofiice (in the UK), or by calling +44 (0)845 606 2030. Forms are also available to download from the Department of Health's website.
  • No vaccinations are needed for travel to France.
  • Some insurance policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities´, therefore it may be worth checking exactly what your policy states about the activity/ies that you are about to embark upon.


  • When driving or hiring a vehicle in France, it is a legal requirement to carry your driving licence with you. For suggested car hire companies go to Links page


  • Banks are open from 9am to midday, and between 2pm and 4pm and are closed all day either Saturday or Monday and all day Sunday.
  • Most cash machines accept UK bank cash cards. There are many cash-point machines in Bourg d´Oisans.
  • Transactions using a debit card require you to enter your PIN number into a keypad.
  • Banks, Post Offices and official exchange bureaus will change foreign currency and travellers cheques. Post Offices are open from Monday to Fr iday and until midday on Saturdays.
  • Most major credit cards (Visa, Barclaycard, Carte Bleue, Mastercard, Access, etc.) are widely accepted.


  • Telephone kiosks take phone cards (Telecartes) which are available in various denominations from Post Offices, tobacconists and newsagents. Some phone kiosks also accept credit cards. Calls can be received at phone boxes showing a blue bell sign.There is a telephone box in Rivier d'Ornon.
  • The code for the UK is 00 44 and then remove the first 0 from the number you are dialling.
  • Mobile phone reception can be patchy in mountainous areas, and our valley is no exception. You may need to arrange ‘international roaming´ with your service provider before you leave the UK.


  • France is one hour ahead of prevailing British time, all year round.


  • France runs on 220V at 50Hz AC, meaning that all UK appliances will work with the help of an adaptor.
  • Plugs in France have 2 round pins. Adaptors can be bought in some shops although it is generally cheaper and easier to purchase these in the UK.


  • France has two major mapping companies; Michelin and IGN (Institut Geographique Nationale).
  • The local area is covered by;

Michelin 333 - Isere, Savoie - 1:150,000

Michelin 77 - Valence, Grenoble, Gap - 1:200,000

IGN 3336ET - Les Deux Alpes - 1:25,000

IGN 3335ET - Le Bourg d'Oisans, L'Alpe d'Huez - 1:25,000

IGN 3435ET - Valloire. Aiguille d'Arves, Col du Galibier - 1:25,000

IGN 3436ET - Meije, Pelvoux, PN Des Ecrins - 1:25,000

IGN3336OT - La Mure, Valbonnais

IGN3335OT - Grenoble, Chamrousse, Belledonne

IGN3235OT - Autrans, Gorges de Bourne, PNR Du Vercors

IGN3236OT - Villard de Lans, Mont Aiguille, PNR Du Vercors

These maps are available in many UK specialist bookshops, and these and many other guide books of the area are sold in the 'Maison de la Presse' in Bourg d´Oisans. We also hold copies of the above maps in the chalet.

  • Other useful guides are;

Cycling France - Lonely Planet - ISBN 1 86450 036 0

Cycling In The French Alps - A Cicerone Guide - ISBN 1 85284445 0

The Ecrins National Park - A Cicerone Guide - ISBN 1 85284 322 5

Atlas Des Cols Des Alpes - Altigraph Edition - ISBN 2 903968 38 1


  • As with all Alpine areas, weather conditions in the Oisans can be changeable. Regular and accurate weather forecasts are posted at Tourist Information Offices or Bureau des Guides (in Bourg d'Oisans).
  • Weather forecasts are also available over the telephone ( From France 08 36 68 02 38).
  • As a general guide, the temperature drops about 6°C for every 1,000m of ascent.
  • To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit , multiply by 1.8 and add 32. To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, subtract 32 and divide by 1.8.


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
3.1 3.7 7.9 13.8 15.7 22.4 26.8 25.7 22.7 15.9 10.7 6.3



  • To convert miles to kilometres multiply by 1.61
  • To convert feet to metres multiply by 3.048


1 st January New Years Day

1 st May Labour Day/Fete du Travail

8 th May Liberation Day/Fete de la Liberation

21 st June Fete de la Musique - not a public holiday, but a celebration of music

marked by free concerts, street music and open air concerts.

14 th July Bastille Day/Fete National

15 th August Assumption day/ l´Assomption

1 st November All Saints Day/Tous Saints

11 th November Remembrance Day/Fete de la Victorie

25 th December Christmas day/Noel