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Biking around Southeast France

Biking around Southeast France

What is this page?

This is by no means a comprehensive overview of biking in southeastern France. I lived in Nice in 2005 and did a lot of biking around the area, and I mainly just wanted to collect some of my biking-related pictures, maps, altitude profiles, etc. in one place in case anyone wants to have a look.

General overview of the area

This map shows the area between Nice and the Italian border, where I do most of my riding. Between Nice and (roughly) Monaco, there's three roads I generally take, which are commonly called the Grand Corniche, Moyenne Corniche, and Basse Corniche and have various number-letter designations and names in different towns. The Grand Corniche reaches an altitude of about 525 m and the view from it is so awesome that I always have to be careful not to get distracted and bike off the road. The views from the other two are not bad either. These roads merge east of Monaco and head towards the Italian border. Then there's other minor roads, like the D53 and D22 which lead from la Turbie to the Col de la Madone that I often take. The main roads out of Nice to interesting places to the north are heavily travelled and not always that pretty till you get out of town, so for going to places like the Col de Turini, it's best to put the bikes on a car and drive a ways out of town.


I don't bring a camera along on most of my rides because I generally find that taking pictures gets in the way of biking and enjoying the scenery. For the rides I'll probably just do once or twice, though, I try to take a few pictures, and I made sure to get a set of pictures from the main route along the coast so other people can see at least part of what I get to see around here.

My bike! It's a Bianchi Via Nirone 7, which I bought in April 2005
Col de la Madone (w/ lots of pictures along the coast as well)
Col de Turini
Col de la Bonette
Stage 12 of the Tour de France, which passed through a town a few hours from Nice on Bastille Day.
Signs you see when you leave Nice. I find them amusing.

Altitude Profiles

While I don't take pictures most of the time, I always record the altitude profiles of my rides with my CicloMaster CM-436M bike computer, which is amongst my favorite gadgets. Here's some plots of various rides I've done. The major towns/landmarks are labeled on the plots.

Nice - Observatory - Nice (May 12, 2005)
Nice - la Turbie - Beausoleil - Nice (May 15, 2005)
Nice - Beausoliel - la Turbie - Nice (May 21, 2005) This is much less painful than the opposite direction!
Nice - Ventimiglia (Italy) - la Turbie - Nice (May 28, 2005)
Nice - Eze - Col d'Eze (June 2, 2005) Between Eze and Col d'Eze it was so steep I though my heart was going to explode. It's at least a 15% grade at some points.
Nice - Col de la Madone - Ventimiglia (Italy) - Nice (June 4, 2005)
Nice - Col de la Madone - Menton Nice (June 11, 2005)
Ride around Coldigioco, Italy (June 18, 2005) It's not France, but it was a cool ride nonetheless. I took it while I was on this trip. Here's a map of the area.
l'Escaren - Col de Turini - l'Escaren (June 6, 2005)
Nice - Menton - Col de la Madone - Eze - Nice (July 2, 2005) This is similar to one of Lance Armstrong's training rides when he lived in Nice. He does the main climb in about half an hour, which is about three times faster than I did it.
Nice - Beausoleil - San Remo (Italy) - Monaco - Nice (July 10, 2005) My longest ride here thus far, at 116 km.
St. Etienne de Tinee to the Col de la Bonette and back (September 17, 2005) The highest paved road in Europe!

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