A Nice Drive Along N5: Geneva-Dole-Dijon

After a frustrating drive up a traffic-clogged Route Nationale 6 and 7 from Lyon to Paris some years ago, expectations were much lower for RN5 between Geneva and Dijon. In the event it was as much as anyone could have hoped for: a rolling drive through beautiful rural France on an almost completely empty road, even in early July.

Poligny and Dole were lovely as expected but who new Dijon was so pretty?

125 miles. See map below.



Geneva can be awkward to drive around what with cycle lanes, bus lanes, trams, vigilant police – don’t throw a fag out of the window – and a comprehensive one-way system.


Navigating is easy however. Sooner or later you find yourself by the lake and everywhere is pretty much from there really.


Strictly speaking N5 continues across the Swiss border and into Geneva from the north (past the Hadron Collider at CERN). Instead we head up the left (west) bank of the lake towards Nyon to pick it up from near there. Note the sign for Dijon. The idea had been to take it easy on the lake road but we found ourselves on the A1 motorway (it’s complicated). It didn’t really matter because we already had the vignette and we know from prior experience that the waterfront is pretty much all bought up and blocked off anyway. Gland BTW, twenty miles up from Geneva, is where Michael Schumacher lives.


JURA MOUNTAINS: a 360km arc stretching from near the western edge of Lake Constance down via Basel to the west of Lake Neuchatel and Lake Geneva (Leman), between the Rhine and the Rhone. Higher in this southern part, topping out at the 1718m Cret de la Neige, 15km north west of Geneva.


It’s nice. What can we say? Not spectacular, or incredible or amazing. Just a hilly, twisty road lined with trees and, above all, quiet. It pretty much sets the tone for the day. The only disappointment is that there isn’t anywhere to catch an overall view of Geneva and the Alps opposite.




We were searched pretty thoroughly at the French border, the guards on the look out particularly for documents.

Route National 5: Geneva-Dijon. More later.

It’s not until we’re over the French border that, a few yards on, we pick up N5 proper.



Lunch. Just off N5 was a signed picnic place for the cascades at xxxxx. We thought we’d really lucked in here but, in early summer, it was little more than a trickle and the viewing platform was a precariously perched steel scaffold. But it was still nice.






Dole, Haute Ville.



Navigation note. Route Nationale mostly passed to local authority control a few years ago and many were re-numbered, especially up to and around towns. However, the new number will always end in the old number, e.g. D905 is the old N5.











Also see Driving Route Nationale 6 and 7: Chambery-Lyon-Paris.


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