Distance: Loop of Nice - Vence - La Colle sur Loup - Cagnes-sur-Mer - Nice / 72 km
Climb: 800 m+
Main routes: M118, M/D2210 and D6
Close to: Col de Vence, Gourdon, Gattières
Level of difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Season: All year around
A loop that will take you through charming villages, wide curving roads in good conditions and magnificent views to the Alps and the ocean.
As soon as you have passed Nice airport and crossed the Var, you ride in to St-Laurent-du-Var and start a shorter climb from the sea level and up to 300 meter. You can cycle through St-Laurent-du-Var town and find the road towards La Gaude, which offers a steady climb with moderate gradients between 2-6% in average.
At the bottom of the village St-Jeannet you can have a coffee break at the big cycling friendly café Auberge des 4 chemins.
In the round-about at St.-Jeannet you follow the road towards Vence. The majestic rock formation North of Vence rises above you as you cruise the main road that curls through the lower mountain side.
The hills are green even in Winter and the sea view never bores the eyes.
You pass through Vence - if you are up for a challenge, you can take a trip up to Col de Vence at 900m. However, you can also simply cycle through Vence and continue of the false flat road section to Tourettes-sur-Loup, which is another super picturesque village of the Côte d'Azur. When you come to the other side, look out for some nice photo opportunities!
You have now a long nice descent in front of you on a an easy downhill. It is easy to speed on this downhill, so be aware of traffic!
At an intersection where you see the road towards Gourdon and the Caussols Plateau you make a left turn to Nice. You will soon ride on the left side the Loup river. In Summer it is pleasantly cool on this road - in Winters you get a chill wind in your face. There always seems to be more wind in this valley than on the other roads.
Make your way towards La Colle-sur-Loup and continue to Cagnes-sur-Mer. Soon you are at the sea front making your way back to Nizza la bella.
Distance: Nice - Bouyon / return 75 km
Climb: 830 m+
Main routes: D1
Close to: Col de Vence, l'Ésteron Valley, Gilette
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Season: All year around
The villages on the Western bank of the Var river hold witness of thousands of years of history. You reach them by cycling out of Nice towards St-Laurent-du-Var, pass through St-Laurent-du-Var either via the town or via the main road along the river. To reach the level of the villages, you climb either to la Gaude or Gattières from where you follow the D2209 and D1 roads.
Carros village is the first hill top settlement that you come through. If you stop and have a look around the old houses you may find the bench made out of stone with Roman inscriptions in it. Carros used to be on the border of France and a part of the Département Var until Nice and Menton became French in 1860 and the Département Alpes-Maritimes was established.
We also recommend a lunch in charming Crêperie du Moment with salty and sweet pancake meals on the menu:
The next village that you come to is Le Broc. Le Broc is a small yet as charming with old rustic houses. At the level of the flat plateau below the village you see the characteristic Broc lake with blue water. It is an artificial lake now used as a recreational area.
You can make a return and go back to the coast by the same road that you came, descent to the low land in Broc and catch a cycling lane following the river back - or continue a bit further via the main road D1 to Bouyon.
Climbing further up the main road from Le Broc you get stunning views to the confluence of the Var and the Estéron rivers. The last section to Bouyon is a bit of a climb, so it is nice to have the grant view to distract you as you push pedals.
Bouyon is a gateway to the Estéron riverdale and the Vence back country plateau. A small medieval village in absolute calm and surrounded by beauty which would make a nice spot for a weekend break-away.
From Bouyon you can return to Nice. Mind the technical descent with bending roads and turns that are sharper than you think! Another option is to do a circuit either around the Estéron gorge and go back via Gilette and the river dale. You can also do a circuit by cycling to Coursegoules and back via Col de Vence and Vence.
The many options for routes is what makes les Alpes-Maritimes a true cycling paradise. There is always a new road to discover!
Owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours
Tina Baltzer, owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours.