Distance Nice - Peille/return: 54 km
Climb: 900 m+
Main routes: M2204 and D2564 (Grand Corniche)
Close to: Col de la Madone, L’Escarène, Monaco, Menton
Level of difficulty: Moderate - Col de St. Pancrace from La Grave de Peille 8,5 km 5,61% in average, 9% max.
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Tip: You can combine this climb with a climb to the final part of Col de la Madone from the West side: 3,5 km 8% in average, 10,5% max.
Col de St. Pancrace is a very nice ride If you look for a few hours out on the bike from Nice and want to include a classic climb.
Head out of Nice by the major road that takes you North of Nice - it is flat and gives you an idea of what suburbs to Nice look like. They are not part of the glamor of the normal pictures of the Côte d'Azur. Here you see how some of the 'normal' people live as you pass through La Trinité, Drap and Cantaron.
The road is very busy on workdays. Therefore I advice you to do this ride in a weekend. When you reach D21, make a right turn towards L'Escarène and Peille. Follow it for a bit, until you take D53 to your right.
The first part of the ride is not really the most spectacular, but it is a nice stretch to warm up the legs before you reach La Grave de Peille: The start of the climb!
The hairpin climb starts as a lot of climbs in the area do: with some quite high % climbing on the first sections. Make sure to find a good low gear to begin spinning with and save a bit of energy for the hairpins to come.
It is not a very long climb, but it is a nice challenging one for the ones who want a good training. The road will take you through pretty olive groves and pass stone houses. Take in the silence and magnificent mountains that surround you. The road-stones tell you how many km you still have to go before you reach Peille and your altitude. Make a countdown to 665m.
Before you know of it, you are in the beautiful mountain village Peille. You can make a stop and grab a drink - enter the old town by the lower terrain of the village.
If you want to beat a Strava record, just pedal on. Pass through Peille to reach the top of the climb in St. Pancrace. It is a few turns away on the opposite site of Peille.
It is an extremely picturesque route and there are very nice photo spots along this road!
Continue towards La Turbie via D53. You can extend the climb by turning left after a few km - look for the road going up and roadsign to St. Agnes. From here there is about 4 km climb to the Col de La Madone.
Had enough of climbing? Then continue by the curling road straight on and go back to Nice via la Turbie - Moyenne corniche or Grand Corniche/Col d'Eze.
Have fun! :)
Lifesparkz Bike Tours
Tina Baltzer, owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours.