Long affiliated with Piedmont and Liguria to the east, Savoy to the north and Sardinia to the south, the bustling streets of Nice have a distinctly Italian feel to them. For a cycling holiday, there is plenty to see away from the azure waters of the Mediterranean coastline. To the northwest, explore the cols of the Préalpes d'Azur Regional Natural Park, ride through dramatic gorges and stop in beautiful medieval towns for lunch. On return to the French Riviera, reap the rewards of long days in the saddle and treat yourself to delectable Niçois cuisine – from street snacks on the Promenade des Anglais' to fresh local produce in Saleya market and sumptuous Provençal stews in the countless cosy bistros.
Day 1: Arrive in Nice
We recommend a morning flight. After arriving you will be met and transferred to your chosen hotel in Nice. You will have time to build your bike (or pick up your hire bike) and grab some lunch. In the afternoon we recommend that you climb the Col d'Eze for a warm-up and grab a coffee in Cafe Cyclist.
Day 2: Col de Madone
The Col de Madone was made famous by a certain Mr Lance Armstrong getting his EPO level just right on it, and for that reason many pros feel sheepish about using it. It doesn't stop it being a great climb though. It's very much a back road, the road is narrow and the surface, not ideal. This route starts from the top of the Col d'Eze. To ride to the start, ride to the port and follow signs for the Observatory and then the Col d' Eze. Once at the top a fast descent takes you towards Menton. You climb and descend again to warm the legs, before taking a sharp left and starting the climb proper. For a pro it's a 30-minute effort. For mere mortals, think 50 minutes. To begin, you wind up under the motorway and with the gradient always changing, a rhythm is hard to find. The summit is 925m above sea level and offers great views on a nice day. Take care on the descent down, back towards Nice and the Col d'Eze, it's not steep, but it's very fast! Arriving in La Turbie, grab a coffee and then return the same way too Nice or Eze.
Day 3: Col de Vence
The Col De Vence Loop is a tough day in the saddle. Follow the cycle path along the sea front in Nice along the Promenade d' Anglais out of town. Pass the airport and then swing up to St-Laurent Du Var and start climbing. You will climb steadily till you reach Vence itself. This is an ideal stop for a coffee. From Vence climb the Col de Vence before dropping down for a km and re-climbing for a km. (Unless it's very cold, don't put your jacket on for this bit; put it on at the 'second summit'. A great fast and twisty descent follows before a sharp left at the roundabout takes you down a beautiful gorge. Swing right across a bridge and then take the right fork to climb to Gourdon. Gourdon is a beautiful old town, well worth a lunch stop here! From here you are downhill all the way to La Colle Sur Loup. From here you work your way back to Nice, jumping on the cycle path when you hit the coast.
Day 4: Departure day
There is time for one final cafe before we transfer you back to the airport. We recommend you get an afternoon or evening flight. If you want to extend this trip, this is possible.