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.