After solitary 8am breakfast, I set off downhill from the hotel (in St Vincent les Forts) through the village. This was a mistake as I then had to cycle back up the height I had just come down, and more! However after a fair amount of climbing there was a surprising amount of downhill/flat to Barcelonnette. Beautiful scenery here, and just before Barcelonnette I stopped to video a light plane coming in to land in what must be the only bit of flat land in the area!. See http://youtu.be/ywKIxdWt6Gk
Barcelonnette has an interesting history (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barcelonnette ) with strong links to Mexico, and some of the biggest villas were built by those who made good in Mexico and returned.
I visited the tourist office and discovered that the museum was closed for the season, so had a wander round the town, then lunched alfresco in the Cafe de la Paix. Heading off towards Jausiers, it was fairly level until the very impressive Fort de Tournoux http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_de_Tournoux
Shortly after this, a right turn leads to the Col de Larche. At the bottom of the climb is a big sign indicating pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed. However I had previously read a website that suggested this was not enforced, and moreover every kilometre there was a marker stone showing the gradient for cyclists, so we were obviously expected to be there. (In early December 2013 I finally discovered the reason for the ban was that the lower section of the route is subject to rockfalls, and the local authority thinks pedestrians and cyclists are more at risk from these than cars and lorries. Not sure I agree!) The gradient wasn't too bad, but there was very little habitation, so when I came across a cafe about 10km from the top, I stopped for a coffee & panini (It was an Italian cafe.) About 1km from the top I had to stop for several minutes as the road was blocked by sheep being loaded into big trailers. See http://youtu.be/JXQ9UK75P0U
At the top there was a souvenir shop (title photo) where I bought a celebratory can of beer, and wandered around admiring the scenery and the monument to Fausto Coppi http://www.offexploring.com/abruzzo2013/albums/over-the-alps .
Setting off to the South-East, the road passed a lovely lake http://youtu.be/CGQAV9D_iqc , then I had to negotiate umpteen hairpin bends http://youtu.be/uY_ajNw7Flk and a short tunnel before reaching Pietraporzio where I had previously booked into the youth hostel. Despite the sign clearly visible at the start of this video http://youtu.be/SmlEokVwqRw , it took me about 40 mins to find the hostel, as my map showed it to be on the W of the river, and locals that I asked agreed with this. Doubtless something got lost in translation, but not to worry, the extra miles of my search route were very pretty!
When I finally found the hostel (right on the main road!) it turned out that it was normally closed on Tuesdays (today). I had originally booked it for Monday, and later postponed to Tuesday, so the warden had honoured my booking, and I was the only overnight guest! After the usual clothes washing I had dinner in the hostel then walked down to the village hotel for a beer and wifi.