words to heartful action
Cycling and sustainable city life
Distance: Loop: Nice, Aspremont, Correns, Nice - 50km
Climb: 840m+ (Col de Châteauneuf-Vielleville 630 m+)
Main routes: M114, M719, M815, D15
Close to: Duranus, Aspremont, Tourette-Levens, Levens, Correns
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Col de Chateauneuf de Contes is one of the many climbs in the Alpes-Maritimes near Nice that is known by locals but often don't make it to the cycling tour books.
If you ever participated in the Nice-Paris Challenge, you have passed this shorter climb as it has so far been an integral part of the Spring cyclosportive.
You can easily integrate the climb into a longer route. You can do the climb from both the Eastern and Western side. We suggest here a shorter loop from Nice, taking you through Aspremont village, climbing from the Eastern side and going back via the low land North-East of Nice.
Nice - Aspremont - Tourette-Levens
Aspremont and Tourette-Levens are villages located in the lower mountains only 10 km North of Nice. One way to get there is described here. You can also cycle to Aspremont from the center of Nice via M114 the areas Cimiez and Rimiez, where you quickly rise above Nice and get some nice views over the town and towards the sea. It is a steady climb to Aspremont, which is around 520 m above sea level. It is a nice place to stop for a coffee and a view towards the Var valley.
In Aspremont, you make a turn on the road towards Tourette-Levens.
Tourette-Levens - Chateauneuf-Vielleville
You get a nice and beautiful descent from Aspremont to Tourette-Levens. You will see road signs that you are on the Routes des Bréa.
Routes des Bréa refers to touristique roads in the backcounty of Nice where you find historic sites of the "School of primitiv Nicois" in mainly chapels and churches that dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
In Tourette-Levens you turn left towards Levens. Shortly after you reach a round-about from where the climb to Chateauneuf-Vielleville starts.
Col de Chateauneuf climb from the East
The main climb to Col de Chateauneuf is a relatively easy climb when you do it from the Eastern side; rather short, only about 5 km, and with the main sections of real climbing in the first 3 before the road flattens out as you approach the pass below Chateauneuf-Vielleville. Gradients are 4,5% in average and with a maximum of 8%.
You rise above the green valleys to the peak that is marked by a big iron cross. You can pause and say a little prayer, because the real challenge is the downhill!
Bike n'Roll to Contes
If you recently started cycling in mountains this descent is a great challenge to practise your technique on the downhill full of sharp hairpin bends. It is easy to gain speed, however daredevils watch out, as it is easy to become too confident on your skills for turning, especially if the conditions are a bit to the moist side. We have witnessed cyclists happily racing passed us one minute, just to find them a few seconds later lying by the road side as they miscalculated the road and slid in a turn.
When you reach Contes, make a right turn in the main crossing towards Nice.
The main roads back to Nice are quite busy, so we recommend cycling on this section out of rush hours or on a Sunday where there is less traffic.
It can be easiest to find you way if you keep to the right side of the Paillon river, but you can follow roads on both side of it. Be aware of an intersection, where it is tempting to follow the major road with the sign towards Nice - this is not a cycling road! But you can either follow a cycling track on the right side of the river - and follow it as it crosses the river and reach D2204 on the left river bank. Or follow the minor road D2204 on the left side of the river already from the round-about close to La Pointe.
Happy Cycling! :)
Owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours.
Tina Baltzer, owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours.