When we imagine cycling in France, we might immediately think of the world-renowned Tour de France. An impressive 3500km race that sweeps, climbs, and descends through the stunning towns and countryside of France. However, cycling in Provence offers incredible opportunities for all levels – whether novice or experienced. And, as cycling has grown in recent popularity in France, foundations have also been implemented to support it. For example, improved cycling lanes and the likes of e-bikes for some extra momentum to climb the Provençal hills! So, what better way to explore the remarkable region of the Côte d’Azur – straight from your Parc du Cap home. This blog will offer you some top tips and suggested visits on your own cycling tour of Provence.
Where to start…
Interest in cycling in the region means there are plenty of places to rent a bike if you need one. Most importantly, in various towns, you can find bike rental shops and local cycle guides. Their knowledge and expertise can direct you to some of the best and off the beaten track locations. Moreover, if you would rather potter around the city whilst exploring the sites, Nice offers a bike sharing scheme. This way, you can jump on and off as you wish, whilst leaving the bikes in the multiple docking stations. Take the opportunity to visit the Cours Saleya markets, or visit a museum or two. Likewise, sit back at a beachside restaurant whilst indulging in a delicious lunch and taking in the breath-taking Mediterranean views.
Explore the local neighbourhood
The perfect place to start is right here in Antibes. That is to say, you can gently meander through the charming winding streets of the old town. Or, immerse yourself in the fascinating history whilst exploring the 16th century Fort Carré. After that, follow the 23km bike lane that begins in Antibes and extends to Nice’s Promenade des Anglais. This mostly flat route will take you all along the seafront. Top tip – consider an electric bike in case you decide to continue your adventures into the mountains.
Coastal town cruising
One of the most wonderful ways to discover the stunning coastline of the Côte d’Azur is by bike. From Boulevard de la Garoupe in Cap the d’Antibes there is a delightful path that takes you to Saint-Raphaël. This is ideal for novice cyclists as there are no major hills to contend with! Firstly, on this journey you will pass some of the area’s most magnificent châteaux and villas. Secondly, you will pedal through some of the enchanting seaside towns along the way. For instance, the chic Juan-les-Pins with its long, sandy beaches. And, Fréjus, the town of art and history with its Roman ruins dating from the end of the 1st century.
Head to the hills
For the more experienced and enthusiastic cyclist, there really is no better place to cycle than here in Provence. In other words, the Alpes-Maritimes area offers extraordinary opportunities – you will be spoilt for choice regarding cycling routes. A classic cycling route near Antibes is the Col de Vence. To clarify, ‘Col’ in cycling terms means ‘mountain pass’. This stimulating ride up a steep mountain pass to a summit of 963m is not for the faint-hearted! After passing through Cagnes-Sur-Mer you’ll reach Vence, a medieval town with ancient streets and pretty squares. After that, it is onwards and upwards – up a constant gradient climb of about 6.5-7%. Once reaching the col, you will be rewarded with incredible scenery as mountain after mountain stretches out into the distance. Back at your Parc du Cap home, cool down by the pool whilst sipping a well-earned glass of chilled rosé.
In short, the region is a feast for all cycling enthusiasts and of all abilities. Whether exploring the coastal towns and villages or challenging yourself to a ride through the mountains, there are many options. Either way, you’ll be able to enjoy the Côte d’Azur from a different viewpoint and one that shouldn’t be missed. Please contact the concierge here at Parc du Cap if you would like further advice.
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