Distance Nice - l'Escarène - Col de Braus (960m+) - Sospel - Menton - Nice: 90 km
Climb: 1.560 m+
Main routes: Nice Est, D2204, D2566, the coast road Menton/Monaco/Nice.
Close to: Lucéram, Col de Turini, Peille, Col de la Madone, Ventimiglia
Level of difficulty: Moderate. Col de Braus climb is 10 km starting in L'Escarène, 6,4% average climb, 15% max climb.
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Tip: The restaurant serves cold beer at the top!
Col de Braus is less known by visitors to Nice, but very well known by local cyclists, as a beautiful climb that you can ride as the challenge it serves in itself or combine with some of the other legendary climbs in the area of Sospel or la Vesubie valley.
You can climb Col de Braus from L'Escarène or Sospel. Here, I describe departure from Nice and the L'Escarène side.
If you stay in Nice, you take off from town and find your way North-East towards La Trinité and Drap. I have described the way here until Peille. Instead of making a right turn towards Peille at D53 however, continue via the D21 towards L'Escarène. You will travel along Le Paillon on a magnificent road along the river.
L'Escarène is an idyllic typical Provence small town. Make a coffee stop at one of the cafés and take a few minutes to enjoy its charm. L'Escarène dates back to the 11th Century and it grew during the times where the Salt Road was built connecting Nice to Turin. It was one of the villages to stop in for travelers along the new Royal Road that was important for trade of salt and other goods during the 13-15th centuries between the Alps regions and the Mediterranean. Still today anchovies are an integral part of the Piedmont cuisine as a result of travelers from Cuneo in Valle Maira in Northern Italy, who went to work in the Sea region and brought back salty small fish to their kitchens.
As you pass the bridge in L'Escarène, you start the climb to Col de Braus!
This is what the way up looks like:
The descend to Sospel is pretty as well. It is a bit technical however doable.
Sospel is another charming town where you also find good options for a coffee or lunch break.
From Sospel out to the Sea front you still have a bit of rolling hills to climb as you follow the road to Menton. Follow the D2566. As you reach Menton all you have to do is follow the ocean road back to Nice.
Ciao Ciao and happy cycling!
Lifesparkz Bike Tours
Tina Baltzer, owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours.