Spring has definitely arrived in the Cote d’Azur and I’m making the most of it by getting out and biking before the weather gets too hot. I’ve been revisiting my favorite rides and discovering some new ones. This past week I made my way to Mont Chauve, a mountaintop behind Nice and near the small hilltop village of Falicon.
Getting there means heading north straight up from Nice, through the upscale neighborhood of Cimiez, (which is the hill right behind downtown Nice), then passing through the even-a-little-more upscale Rimiez, and eventually to Falicon. Easiest route is to take Blvd. de Cimiez and then Ave. de Rimiez, which takes you to the top of Rimiez and eventually to the right-side turn-off to Falicon, on the Route de l’Aire Saint Michel (the hotel Auberge de St. Michel is situated on the corner).
Route de l’Aire Saint Michel winds its way to Falicon, perched on a small hill that looks out towards Nice and the backside of Rimiez. There’s a viewpoint on the top with a bench that circles a tree and offers plenty of shade – a great place for lunch if you’ve brought one. The views look back to Mont Boron, the port, and old town Nice.
To get to Mont Chauve you have to return back along Route de l’Aire Saint Michel for a bit, and then take a left turn on Route de Mont Chauve.
It’s a climb. There are 13 switch backs as the road narrows to a single lane and makes it way up the mountain. At every turn there’s a viewpoint, which continue to get better the higher you climb. You’ll have to pass by a closed gate to get all the way to the top, as it is closed to cars – just hikers and bikers. Unfortunately it wasn’t the best day as it was partially overcast, but that kept the weather cool.
From the top you can see nearly all of Nice, westward to Antibes and the Esterel mountain range south of Cannes.