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translate the mountains

Jun 18, 2009
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If there are french speakers here, i would like to know what the names of the Tour mountains means in english. I know some, like croix de fer and ventoux....i would like to know for example, izoard, hautacam ( i know haut means high...but...acam.. :confused: :) ) galibier etc. many thanx.

( it's just a fixation )


rgmerk said:
Try Wikipedia - for instance, the entry on Mont Ventoux explains it might be either named after a Gaulish mountain god, or just as a variation on "snowy peak".

I was under the impression that "Vent" is wind

Therefore, "Mount Ventoux" directly translates to "Windy Mountain"
Mar 18, 2009
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Correct. And the (much, much, much easier climb) on the other side of the mountain (where Evans won at Paris-Nice in 08) is thus the Mont Serein, or the Serene mountain....because there's barely any wind on that side.
Mar 11, 2009
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Here are a few from the Pyrenees.

Hautacam = High Land.

Cambasque = Basque Land

Soulor = from original Gascon language, meaning now unknown. To me anyway.

Tourmalet = Many French say that it means "Bad Detour" or "Bad Trip", Tour is same in English and mal is French for bad. However the name derives from the Gascon Language and not France, most probable meaning is "Distant Mountain".

Col d'Aubisque = Again from Gascon and meaning unknown.

Col du Marie Blanque = Marie Blanque is the French name for the Egyptian Vulture which is common here in summer.

Somport = High Mountain Pass. From Gascon again, Som meaning top and Port meaning mountain pass.
Mar 11, 2009
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From my info:

Alpe d'Huez: the Alpe in this one and in Les Deux Alpes refers to the meadows instead of the mountains themselves. Huez is the village from where the farmers let there cattle graze on the alpes.

Comes from the beech trees that grow there. Gland is French for acorn.

Named after a chapel near the top honouring Ste. Marie-Madeleine. Used to be named the Col de Colombe after a nearby village.

Comes from Galber, Germanic speaking language for the name Gualabertus or Galibertus. In honour of a man with an important function in the region. 'Ber' is just changed into 'bier'.

French version of Germanic Isoward. Supposed to mean Iron Guard (Isan= Iron, Ward = Guard)

Refers to an iron cross close to the top.

Supposed to be named after a stone called Pietra Sesteria. It was used by locals to show distances to other places.

Named after a nearby forrest

The river Isere has it source there.

From a Napoleon era Fortress with a signal installation called a Telegraphe.

If you want I'll do the Pyrenees after i get back from the supermarket :)
Mar 11, 2009
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McLovin said:
sooo.....are you back from the 'supermarche' ?

Oh LOL, totally forgot.

Comes from 'le haut du champs', the height of the fields.

Comes from the old-French word Aspera, meaning rocky area.

Peyre should be old French for a monument on a mountain, sourde should be Occitan for damaged/broken.

Aubiscou is the French-Basque name for a plant used to feed cattle and make chimney brushes. This plant grows on the Aubisque.

Bad detour. Comes from the 18th century when people where forced to pass this mountain to reach the Luz valley because the Gave de Pau was flooded. There are other explanations.

Non Pyrenees or Alps:
-Puy de Dôme
Puy means highland or mountain, all volcanos in the Auvergne are named this way. Dôme comes from Gallo-Roman god Dumias.

Venteux should be the right one.
There are other explanations pointing to Vintur, the god of the mountain top or Celtic Ven-Top meaning Snowy Mountaintop.
Since the Latin names Mons Ventosus and Mont Ventorius were also used with ventus meaning wind, it's probably the easy one :D

-Ballon d'Alsace, Grand Ballon, Petit Ballon
Belchen in German. The Ballons are the high points in the area. Has nothing to do with the shape of the mountains. Belchen was probably wrongly translated as Bälchen.
Could also come from Celtic god Bel. There are theories that the Ballon d'Alsace was used for a solar observatory by the Celts.

That's what I've got. Could be a bit off on some, but I think most is correct.