words to heartful action
Cycling and sustainable city life
Distance: Nice - Bouyon / return 75 km
Climb: 830 m+
Main routes: D1
Close to: Col de Vence, l'Ésteron Valley, Gilette
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Season: All year around
The villages on the Western bank of the Var river hold witness of thousands of years of history. You reach them by cycling out of Nice towards St-Laurent-du-Var, pass through St-Laurent-du-Var either via the town or via the main road along the river. To reach the level of the villages, you climb either to la Gaude or Gattières from where you follow the D2209 and D1 roads.
Carros village is the first hill top settlement that you come through. If you stop and have a look around the old houses you may find the bench made out of stone with Roman inscriptions in it. Carros used to be on the border of France and a part of the Département Var until Nice and Menton became French in 1860 and the Département Alpes-Maritimes was established.
We also recommend a lunch in charming Crêperie du Moment with salty and sweet pancake meals on the menu:
The next village that you come to is Le Broc. Le Broc is a small yet as charming with old rustic houses. At the level of the flat plateau below the village you see the characteristic Broc lake with blue water. It is an artificial lake now used as a recreational area.
You can make a return and go back to the coast by the same road that you came, descent to the low land in Broc and catch a cycling lane following the river back - or continue a bit further via the main road D1 to Bouyon.
Climbing further up the main road from Le Broc you get stunning views to the confluence of the Var and the Estéron rivers. The last section to Bouyon is a bit of a climb, so it is nice to have the grant view to distract you as you push pedals.
Bouyon is a gateway to the Estéron riverdale and the Vence back country plateau. A small medieval village in absolute calm and surrounded by beauty which would make a nice spot for a weekend break-away.
From Bouyon you can return to Nice. Mind the technical descent with bending roads and turns that are sharper than you think! Another option is to do a circuit either around the Estéron gorge and go back via Gilette and the river dale. You can also do a circuit by cycling to Coursegoules and back via Col de Vence and Vence.
The many options for routes is what makes les Alpes-Maritimes a true cycling paradise. There is always a new road to discover!
Owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours
15. June 2020 marks the day where most EU citizens again can cross borders to explore regions and countries after a very strange and bizar first 6 months in 2020. It is the real start of season for tourism where Lifesparkz Bike Tours is based in Nice in Southern France. It is also the 4th year birthday of our tiny one-woman-led bike tour company, which has so far welcomed hundreds of cyclists from all continents around the Globe.
I moved to Nice in 2015 from Copenhagen out of curiosity for life, the mild climate, the amazing Nature and the charming cultural landscapes in the Côte d'Azur. It did not strike me that I would create a bike tour company before I moved here and realized that people I met found it very special that I'd love to cycle everywhere!! It is a part of my culture and upbringing to cycle as my way to come around. First time I brought my road bike to Nice, I searched for a local bike guide, but could not find an English speaking guide for a reasonable price.
I moved here and I decided to be the one to guide visitors by bike! I started cycling, meeting fellow cyclists and learning routes. Eventually I persuaded some of my new friends to go for a guided bike tour with me as guineapigs. They are still my friends!
I started Lifesparkz Bike Tours out of a mission to make more people discover the Alpes Maritimes by bike! The mission did not change and I am happy to have shown a lot of wonderful people around in one of the World's best regions for especially road bike cycling.
I am a simple woman. Cycling in beautiful Nature, meeting and chatting with open-minded people from all over the world makes me happy. So bike guiding here is a perfect fit for me! Since 2016, I have organised and guided groups from 1-60 persons. The challenge of getting everything sorted out for big groups is exciting - however I have learned that guiding individuals or small groups is much more fun! In times of Covid-19 it is therefore only natural for me to offer tours for groups of max. 6 persons only this year.
When we cycle a few people together, we have a chance to share some hours of our lives. I feel that I meet new friends on every tour. I feel blessed that I am connected to lovely people all over the World with whom, I have had the pleasure of sharing some beautiful moments during a day or two by bike.
Cycling has become the new black for commuting in cities in 2020. I had set up for a big cycling season in Nice with a planned start of the Tour de France in June and one of the biggest sportive cycling races L'Etape du Tour taking place here. COVID-19 set an initial stop for it, but we are happy in the Côte d'Azur that the Tour de France start will still happen here in August. Meanwhile cycling tracks are being tested in towns all along our coastline from Menton to Cannes to make cycling even more appealing when visiting here.
Even if our season starts 3-4 months late in 2020 and we will miss out a good bunch of people from the continents furthest away from us for a bit longer - we hope to still make 2020 a cyclists blast!
4 more years....
A big thanks to all of you who keep supporting this cycling adventure. Fellow guides, family, friends, business partners, former guests and guests to be. The road is free.
Cannes, L'Esterel, Agay - coast tour
Distance Nice - Agay/return: 125 km or Nice - Saint-Raphaël/return: 145 km
Climb: 730 m+
Main routes: M6098 and D6098 - coast road through Antibes and Cannes
Close to: Tanneron, Sainte-Maxime, Lac de Saint-Cassien
Level of difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Season: Best in the Fall, Winter or Spring (October-May)
Stunning landscapes are ahead of you when you set off for a ride to the preserved coast road in the Esterel massif. You enter volcanic soils with its distinct red-brown colours and dramatic rock formations.
As you cycle from Nice by the cycling paths towards Antibes, you are already on a seafront adventure of the French Riviera. You follow the paths all along the coast - and please pay attention to the traffic that cross the path at intersections. It is a lively route, so to say.
On your way, you will pass seaside restaurants in Cagnes-sur-Mer, the grand Marina in Villeneuve-Loubet and wide beaches before you see the old Vauban citadel of Antibes welcoming you to one of Europe's biggest marinas with yachts of all sizes.
You pass through Cap d'Antibes, Juan-les-Pins, Golfe-Juan and before you know of it you are in Cannes. Keep going on the flat coast route and pass through Mandelieu-de-Napoule. From here you enter the country of red rocks and blue sea of the Estérel.
There are not enough Wauws and Wows in the world to cover the impressions you get in this place. You continue by the winding road, which takes you a bit up, then a bit down, while showing you a new magnificent landscape around the next bend.
You can continue all the way to Saint-Tropez by this road, the massif itself however ends around Agay.
Once you have cycled here there is not many places in the world that will beat this!
Lifesparkz Bike Tours
Tina Baltzer, owner of Lifesparkz Bike Tours.