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Ref CR06

Road bike FranceFRENCH RIVIERA MOUNTAIN PASS TOUR Discover the Provence ranges and cols of the Verdon, Esterel, Maures and Sainte Victoire

During the off-season, when bikes are usually stored away, the Côte d’Azur region of France offers superb cycling with mild temperatures and winter sunshine! Discover a wealth of beautiful mountains, secret cols, and small Provençal villages... A trip beginning and ending in Nice, concocted by local cyclists, for whom the cycling season is year round! Enjoy the foothills of Nice, the region of Vence, the Esterel and Maures mountain ranges, Draguignan and the Var backcountry on this road bike tour with hotel accommodation and support vehicle. Thanks to the quiet off-season period, the trip offers a relaxing holiday, with superb views of the Mediterranean Sea under clear blue skies...

Tour with assistance vehicle: from 1095€ - Details Duration : 7 days | Level : Customer satisfaction : - 0 reviews
+33 458 140 435 A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.
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Highlights

  • The Mediterranean climate, offering superb off-season riding
  • A backcountry trip, away from the busy tourist areas
  • Comfortable hotel accommodation
  • Visit a string of small mountain ranges: Verdon, Esterel, Maures, Sainte Baume, Sainte Victoire...

Description

Comments

  • This trip exists in 2 versions: V2 = 2 wheels / V3 = 3 wheels. Each day you can choose between two different itineraries (V2 or V3), with varying distances and profiles.
  • Special offers available for private groups. Please contact us for a quote.

Levels

Every day you will be able to choose one of two slightly differents routes which vary in distance and profile (2 and 3 wheels).

Day 1: Nice - Grasse

Itinerary start : Rendezvous with organization team is fixed on day 1 at 9 am at SNCF train station of Nice. On demand we can book for you one night in Nice for the previous day. We can also organize a transfer from Nice airport.

Rendezvous in Nice on the morning of the first day. We meet our support vehicle (and driver!), our guardian angel for the week. Then it’s time to leave the city and head for our first climb of the day. After a ride along the famous Promenade des Anglais, we cross the Var River before tackling the Col du Peyron at 304 m, with its stunning views of the sea. We then take a pretty little mountain road above the Var River, the source of which is not far from the Col de la Cayolle, a mythical mountain pass on the Grande Traversée des Alpes. Our route then takes us along the eastern side of the Mouton d'Anou mountain, a summit well known to Nice hikers. We quickly reach our first small Provençal villages, such as Bouyon and Bezaudun les Alpes, with their flat, tiled roofs, typical of the Nice hinterland. Our altimeters hit 4 digits as we find ourselves at 1000 m above the Promenade des Anglais! We then descend the beautiful Gorges du Loup on a small winding road, which takes us to our first stopover of the week: Grasse. Perfume capital, Grasse is also full of small winding streets and alleys, some dating from the middle ages. Time to settle in to our hotel before dinner at a restaurant. 

Distance and altitude gain :

  • 2 wheels :  approx. 90 km / Ascent: approx. 1600 m.
  • 3 wheels :  approx. 115 km / Ascent: approx. 2200 m.
Day 2: Grasse - Saint Raphaël

A few kilometres from Grasse, we have the option of a loop via Opio, famous for its olive oil. We then head west, quickly reaching the Lac de Saint Cassien, with its dam and beautiful turquoise water. Our route winds upwards, with views of the lake, before taking us round the small Tanneron range. An extension of the Esterel range, the Tanneron is covered in vast mimosas and eucalyptus forests. The range is transformed during the 3 winter months, covered with a beautiful blanket of yellow flowers, their intense colour all the more beautiful under the striking Mediterranean sky. Even outside the mimosa flowering period, the Tanneron is an enchanting range, with its soft contours and quiet winding roads. We descend back down to sea level at Mandelieu la Napoule, before following the coast along the Esterel cliffs, from Théoule sur Mer to Saint Raphaël. 30 kilometres of beautiful rugged coastline made up of cliffs, creeks, promontories and islands. Arrival in Saint Raphaël for a picture postcard sunset, before settling in to our hotel. 

Distance and altitude gain :

  • 2 wheels :  approx. 95 km / Ascent: approx. 1400 m.
  • 3 wheels :  approx. 120 km / Ascent: approx. 2000 m.
Day 3: Saint Raphaël - Le Lavandou

Saint Raphaël and Fréjus mark the dividing line between two major ranges of the Côte d'Azur: the Esterel and the Maures. These two towns aside, the temperamental River Argens also symbolizes the gateway to the Massif des Maures. Unfortunately, the Argens, which takes its source in Seillons, a village that we will cross on day 5, gets regular press coverage due to the heavy flooding that it causes. The day’s journey takes us through the shaded forest of the Maures, and over the Valdingarde (392 m), Peigros and Gratteloup (225 m) passes. We then head due south to join the famous town of Saint Tropez. Crossing "Saint Trop" in the off-season is the best way to appreciate this pretty little port, away from the hustle and bustle of the summer months. We then follow the gulf of Saint Tropez, riding along the sinuous mountain roads used for the car chase scenes in the famous French film "Gendarme de Saint Tropez"… Ramatuelle, Col de Collebasse and La Croix Valmer. The coastal road, along the Corniche des Maures, takes us gently towards Le Lavandou, for a well-earned rest and overnight stay. 

Distance and altitude gain :

  • 2 wheels :  approx. 110 km / Ascent: approx. 1300 m.
  • 3 wheels :  approx. 125 km / Ascent: approx. 1300 m.
Day 4: Le Lavandou - Trets

A tonic start to the day, making the most of the panoramic views and cool morning air on the 400 m climb to the Col de Babaou. The mountain pass allows us to cross the Maures from south to north. Our route then follows the flow of the Collobrières River, descending the last foothills of the Massif des Maures, before arriving in the Toulon hinterland. Our route skirts round the capital of the Var, preferring to stay on quieter country roads, before heading west to the challenges of the Sainte Baume range. A mere 20 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea, this long mountain ridge stretches for 35 km and is 15 km wide. Our itinerary takes us along the eastern then northern flanks of the Sainte Baume, before joining Saint Maximin la Sainte Baume. We are now at the most westerly point of our Provençal itinerary. From here on, we’ll make our way back to Nice via a series of mountain passes and Provençal villages... Hotel for the night in Trets. 

Distance and altitude gain :

  • 2 wheels :  approx. 105 km / Ascent: approx. 1585 m.
  • 3 wheels :  approx. 145 km / Ascent: approx. 2000 m.
Day 5: Trets - Moustiers Sainte Marie

Protected from the famous Mistral wind by the Sainte Baume range, we make an early start, heading due north. We pass the source of the Argens River, before heading for the Gorges du Verdon. Our route takes us via the Artigues Mountain, then through the forest of Mont Major. For the more energetic amongst us, a climb to the village of Saint Julien, at the top of a rocky outcrop, offers superb views over the plains of Haute Provence. We join the Verdon River at Gréoux-les-Bains, before arriving at the shore of the Lac de Sainte Croix, and finishing the day at Moustiers Sainte Marie. 

Distance and altitude gain :

  • 2 wheels :  approx. 95 km / Ascent: approx. 1050 m.
  • 3 wheels :  approx. 115 km / Ascent: approx. 1700 m.
Day 6: Moustiers Sainte Marie - Castellane

We start the day with a big breakfast, in preparation for what will certainly be the most mountainous day of the week. We embark on a superb route overlooking the grand canyon of the Verdon, at the foot of the Corniche Sublime, 1500 m above the foot of the canyon. The route offers breath-taking landscape! A climb to the top of the Col d'Illoire and the Col de Vaumale, before continuing on towards Comps sur Artuby on one of the most beautiful roads in Provence. The surroundings offer a radical change in scenery, despite the proximity of the Mediterranean Sea. We avoid the classic route of the Gorges du Verdon, with its inherent traffic, and follow a route through small villages along the edge of the canyon. After a long section at between 700 and 900 m above sea level, we arrive in Castellane, on the banks of the Verdon. Hotel for the night in Castellane. 

Distance and altitude gain :

  • 2 wheels :  approx. 95 km / Ascent: approx. 1900 m.
  • 3 wheels :  approx. 125 km / Ascent: approx. 2200 m.
Day 7 : Castellane - Nice

For the start of the last day of this trip through Provence, we tackle a 330 m climb to the Col de Luens (1054 m). We leave the busy Route de Napoléon behind us and head up the second to last climb of the week: the Col de Bleine (1439 m). Highest point of the journey, the pass is reached after a series of steep hairpin bends. By this time we start to feel the benefits of the previous 6 days in the saddle, and the climb is one to remember. In the event of bad weather, a lower altitude route is possible. Descent to the foot of the Barres du Cheiron, before joining a short section ridden in the opposite direction at the beginning of the week. Then it's the final assault of the Col de Vence, at nearly 1000 m above sea level, with splendid views of the coast and surrounding mountains. It's all downhill from here, as we coast our way down to the sea, and Nice, the final destination of this trip!

Distance and altitude gain :

  • 2 and 3 wheels :  approx. 110 km / Ascent: approx. 1600 m.

Itinerary end : The trip ends in Nice at 3pm. On demand we can book for you supplementary nights in Nice and/or organize a transfer to Nice airport.

The given length (Km) and altitude difference (m) are given as reference and can slightly change depending on unpredictable local conditions

This tour has not yet received any reviews.

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A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.


Phone number: +33 458 140 435
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Contact us

A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.

Send the message