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Cycling and sustainable city life
Distance Nice - Eze - La Turbie: 30 km return ride (Nice-Eze/return 20 km)
Altitude: 500 meters
Main routes: From Nice catch Corniche André de Joly (Moyenne Corniche M6007) that will take you to Eze Village. In Eze make a left turn at Route de la Turbie (M45) at the second crossing (you pass the entrance to the village).
Close to: Col d'Eze, Monaco, Peille, Col de la Madone, Menton
Level of difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Season: All year
Tip: The fountain in La Turbie is one of the most used fountains for refilling water bottles in the area. You often see professional top riders pass by in La Turbie on their way from Monaco (where a lot of the professional riders live) and to the routes in the Les Alpes-Maritimes. The fountain is nearly 200 years old, however young in architecture compared to the Roman ruin "Trophy of Augustus" in the town that dates back to year 6 B.C.
Cycling the mountains around Nice can feel like traveling back in time. Classic shorter rides from Nice are cycling to Eze Village and/or to La Turbie. People have lived in these areas for thousands of years. Eze Village is a medieval village built on a mountain top facing the Mediterranean Sea and some of the buildings date back to the 12th century.
When you pass through Eze and climb a bit more you reach the town La Turbie, where you find the remains of a Roman trophy that was built in honour of Octavius, Caecar's nephew later Emperor Augustus after the Roman's victory over the Alpine tribes. The trophy was part of a sanctuary devoted to the god Hercules Monoikos - which later gave rise to the name Monaco. Monaco is at the foot of the hill up to La Turbie.
Enough of the history lesson!
The Moyenne Corniche offers a more or less continuous climb by one of the main roads out of Nice. The gradients are moderate (3-5 %), the road is wide and the views are amazing! You will pass Villefranche-sur-Mer bay and get a spectacular view to the Cap Ferrat peninsula. Make sure shortly after to have a look down to Beaulieu-sur-Mer harbour and the azur water in Eze-sur-Mer.
Keep on going and before you know of it, you will see a bridge ahead of you and Eze Village on the other side of it.
On a Summer's day you will find a coffee-snack van at a look-out spot just before you reach Eze Village. A nice spot to stop and enjoy the coast view.
You pass the bridge and enter Eze Village that is up from the main road on cliffs to the right. The villlage itself is closed off for traffic and not really accessible by bike. So if you would like to visit the village, I recommend you to bring a lock to secure the bike and some shoes for walking the narrow streets. There is a lot of galleries, restaurants and different small shops for tourists. In Eze Village you also find a very special exotic garden.
Shortly after you have passed the entrance to Eze Village, you will find a road going uphill on your left. This is a nice few km of extra climb before you hit the Grand Corniche road and can spin the last stretch to La Turbie.
In La Turbie you have quite a few good cafés and restaurants that welcome cyclists. The fountain is a legendary water tap for cyclists in the area. You are very close to the roads to/from the classic climb Col de la Madone and you often meet a lot of cyclists passing through.
If you turn down the road left of the roman trophy and the historic old town, you come to a look-out spot with a beautiful view towards Monaco. You can also cycle through the town to another brilliant look-out spot called la Tête de Chien.
Take a minute to take in the scenery before heading back to Nice either the same way - or via the Grande Corniche and Col d'Eze. La Turbie is a an excellent gateway to some of the other great cycling nearby; Menton, Italy, Col de la Madone, Peille or further to l'Escarène and the mountains in the Mercantour Nationalpark.
In the last few posts, I have introduced you to 3 shorter routes East of Nice. In the next posts, I will guide you to some of the nice routes West of Nice.
Lifesparkz Bike Tours
Tina Baltzer, owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours.