words to heartful action
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 !
Lifesparkz Bike Tours
Tina Baltzer, owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours.