Distance Nice - Menton: 30 km one way by the coast road - so it is a 60 km return ride.
Climb: 300 meters climb one way by the coast road (rolling hills) - so 600 meters return.
Main routes: The coast road (Basse Corniche - M6098) from Nice that passes through the coast towns; Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Eze-sur-Mer, Cap d'Ail, Monaco and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. You can also choose the roads that travel up the front mountain sides of les Alpes-Maritimes (Moyenne Corniche M6007 or Grande Corniche M2564). These roads offer more climbing and take you through either Eze and La Turbie (Moyenne) or Col d'Eze and La Turbie (Grande Corniche).
Close to: Monaco, La Turbie, Col de la Madone, Sospel, Italy // Ventigmiglia, Dolce Aqua, San Remo
Level of difficulty: Easy-Moderate (roads with traffic)
Season: Fall/Winter/Spring (October-May)
Tip: Cycling through Monaco can feel like cycling through a maze when you do not know how to find your way through the one-directed streets and tunnels. If you are happy for a bit of climbing, you can avoid Monaco by cycling up through La Turbie.
What more to wish for as a cyclist than a ride along the beautiful azur blue French Riviera and a lunch from one of the very Italian cuisines in the last town in France before you reach Italy: Menton?
Cycling from Nice to Menton is a very pleasant ride to do if you are in Nice in the Winter season and look for a good ride. While temperatures can fall quite a bit in the mountains from November-March you often find pleasant days at shore. Un a sunny day, it feels like Spring already in January. Cruise these roads at times of the year, where they are free of the thousands of tourists' cars that pass during Summer. Or in the early mornings, if you are here in the Summer season and want to do a ride on one of the more flat routes in the area.
I will describe the route that follows the coast through Monaco.
When you leave Nice - you can do a warm-up climb by following the scenic route through the harbour and La Réserve up to Mont Boron. It is a head start with gradients around 10%, but very short. You can also choose the less steep main road Boulevard Carnot/Basse Corniche to start with.
You pass the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer with its iconic view towards Cap Ferrat. Follow the road down through Beaulieu-sur-Mer, where you pass the beach, a casino, a small harbour and some of the Riviera's big villas. Soon you are in Eze-sur-Mer and follow the rail-tracks on your ride side. As you reach a tunnel, stay on the road to the ride hand side of the tunnel. Enjoy the view!
On the other side you start a section with a short climb before you reach a nice descend to Cap d'Ail. During rush hours this section can be quite busy from traffic to/from Monaco. Just take it easy!
Right after Cap d'Ail you reach a few bigger round-abouts - welcome to Monaco! Follow the road straight and soon after the round-abouts follow the road and the tunnel on your right. As you reach central Monaco it can be a bit tricky, but find your way to the road that passes the harbour front first. On the Eastern side of the harbour, follow the street signs towards Menton.
On the Eastern side of the harbour, you can follow the road on the right and cycle through the tunnel that is famous from Formula 1 and continues towards the beach side. Another option is to climb the steep road on the left of the East harbour and pass the casino.
Soon you are back in France and reach Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Follow the road and soon you are in Menton. The most scenic route you find by taking the road on your right around Cap Martin.
In Menton you find a lot of restaurants at the beautiful beach side that stretches all the way to the border of Italy. Here are plenty of options for a coffee or lunch before your return.
As you go back through Monaco you need to travel through a few tunnels. Follow the signs towards Cap d'Ail, do not be scared from cycling through the tunnels, but please do pay a lot of attention to and respect traffic.
You actually often go faster on your bike than the Ferraris through the tunnels in Monaco - Enjoy how much cooler you are !
Altitude: 507 m
Gradient: 5% in average. Sections of 7-8%.
Main routes: The classic start point is from Nice via Grande Corniche (10 km). You can climb via roads from more towns; Villefranche-sur-Mer and Eze (from Moyenne Corniche).
Close to: Nice, Nice Observatory, Reserve de la Revère, La Turbie, Eze, Monaco
Level of difficulty: Easy-medium
Season: All year round
Tip: Try to climb from Nice first via Moyenne Corniche to Villefranche-sur-Mer and here continue climbing via the road M33. It is a climb with less traffic and spectacular views to the coast. If you continue to climb to Fort de la Revère, you get an amazing view towards Nice along the coast.
Col d'Eze is one of my favourite climbs in the Côte d'Azur and I have ridden it around a 100 times in the few years that I have lived here. I basically live by the foot of it. When I just want to go out for a few hours on the bike, this climb is in my backyard and is often a first choice. Why?
It offers stunning views to the seaside as well as to the Alps-Maritimes when you reach the top. It offers climbs that challenge you, yet are doable. The roads are in good condition. It is a gateway to so much more amazing routes in the backcountry of Nice, Monaco and Menton.
The classic way to climb Col d'Eze starts from the North-Eastern part of Nice, just out of the Riquier and St-Roch neighbourhoods. Find Boulevard Bischoffsheim (M2564) and follow this road up and out of the city. It is known as 'Grande Corniche'. The first few km are some of the hardest as you find some of the most steep sections of the total climb here and the views on the first section are not yet that exciting.
However, at cirka km 4 you get a chance to relax and take a sip of water as the road evens out a bit before the 2/3 of the climb. This offers a bit more easy steady climbing before you hit a few km of more aggressive gradients again on the last third (km 6-9). Yet - on this part of the climb you get the amazing views towards Eze, Cap Ferrat and all of the blue sea.
The last km is nearly flat - enjoy the ride!
When you reach the top, you can make a very nice climb extension if you continue on the road towards La Turbie/Eze. Turn left towards the Reserve de la Revère and follow the hairpin road towards a big parking area just before the Fort de la Revère. You will travel through a national park full of bushes and trees, before you can make a stop at the top and take in the scenery.
Another option is to follow the same road to La Turbie. You get a very nice section with a slight of descend and a brilliant wide road with great views. Welcome to a cyclist's paradise.
You can make a loop and return to Nice via Moyenne Corniche passing through Eze and Villefranche-sur-Mer - or return the same way that you already climbed.
Col d'Eze offers variations for cyclists who look for a bit more technical rides. You can challenge your climbing by taking the Moyenne Corniche (M6007) until Eze. In Eze make a left turn at M46. If you climb Col d'Eze from that side, you are up against a 2 km section with 8-15% gradients.
Another option is to follow the Moyenne Corniche and make a left turn just after you have passed Villefranche-sur-Mer (M33). This is a gentle and steady hairpin climb which brings you up to the last 3rd of the classic Col d'Eze climb on Grande Corniche.
Col d'Eze is the last climb of the professionals' Spring classic Paris-Nice from which they descend quickly into the final goal of the race at the Promenade des Anglais.
It is a climb for well-trained beginners as well as professional road bike cyclists. You find every sort of cyclist out on their daily training on these roads!
From Col d'Eze you can continue your cycling adventures to La Turbie, Col de la Madone, Peille, Cap d'Ail, Monaco and Menton. More to come on these roads in upcoming posts!
Today I feel strangely thankful for BREXIT, for talented youth that want to spend their working lives otherwise than in cooperate offices and for a trend that high performers are not necessarily looking for a high salary or work security in their dream job.
I realise that by creating my small scale company, flexible at heart in my business model, I have created job opportunities for some of the world's most talented and resourceful people.
Today, I had a job interview with a young law graduate, who wanted to escape a career in law firms in London while he still has the chance to seek a different kind of job in one of the city hubs for international adventurers in Europe.
As he said: Due to BREXIT, I must make a move now - I don't know whether in 6 months I will have to get a visa to work outside of UK! This is said by someone, previously working with immigration cases.
This young lad could get any wellpaid job in the world! Yet he chooses to apply for a job-job basis work with me today - and is even happy to volunteer to get more experience in the field of bike guiding. He seeks the out-of-office kind of work, the adventure of meeting people from all over the world, the uncertainty of the independant worker's having to adjust to the day to come way of operating, the possibility of exploring and learning about this beautiful region by bike, the challenge of spreading the ways of doing sustainable living by DOING something different than the main stream.
I feel so very humble for finding that I attract such talent from what I have already done during my few years of operating through my out-of-the-box career choice.
Sometimes the world chooses you.