Since we’ve been back I’ve been getting in a lot of biking while waiting for the ocean to warm up. The weather has been exceptionally cold in the evenings in Nice, so the ocean is especially cold for this time of the year. Even biking early in the morning it can be a little chilly so I’ve been going out with a sweater overtop of my biking outfit.
The pictures here are from my latest ride up to the Tete de Chien behind Monaco, and then up to the Parque de la Grande Corniche, one of the higher points along this coastal mountain range.
I begin by going up by way of the Moyenne Corniche. There are three routes you can take from Nice over the coastal mountain range as it meets the sea; one along the coastline (which is usually the busiest), a middle road (Moyenne Corniche), and the highest road, which offers amazing panoramic views. All three routes actually are quite spectacular, but my favorite is up on top for the views and less traffic.
Heading up I passed by Villefranche, Cap Ferrat and Bealieau, seen in the photo above. A cruise ship sits inside the cove of Villefranche, Cap Ferrat is the landmass in the middle that juts out, (and that you’ll see in many of the photos here), and Beaulieau lies to the left in the photo.
About halfway up I pass Eze, which is charming medieval town that is now overrun by tourists, as it is the closest hill-top town to Nice. Hence all the cruise ships have tours there. I don’t think many people actually live in the old town now, it is mostly shops, hotels and restaurants. It was famously on the list in the movie The Bucket List, which starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman; they had lunch in the restaurant in the hotel Chateau de la Chèvre d’Or.
From there I continued on to the Tete de Chien where I enjoyed the view and had a little lunch. Below in the harbor outside of Monaco I could see to very different looking yachts moored, which I later learned are owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko. They are just small dots in the photo at the top of the page. “Sailing Yacht A”, as its called, was built for 360 million euros and is 468 ft. long with 8 decks, 3 swimming pools, helicopter pad and can carry a submarine, four cars and numerous water vehicles. “Motor Yacht A” is for sale for 300 million euros. Crazy….
After lunch I headed up for the park of the Grande Corniche. There is a great trail that leads from the top of the park, along a ridge, back to the town of La Turbie. Along the way there are a couple of tunnels, and lots of amazing viewpoints.
It is spring time, so there were lots of brightly colored flowers along the way. In the photo above if you look to the left in the distance you can see Cap Ferrat. The trail is in very good shape and they’ve even set up picnic tables at random spots along the route. The bike trail ends with a bench that overlooks La Turbie in the distance. You can barely make out the Roman-built ancient tower called Trophée d’Auguste that sits on top of the hill and that the town of La Turbie has been built around.
I was enjoying the view when I noticed that low clouds were quickly rolling in. I’ve been caught in that before and it can get very cold. The clouds move in very quickly and when you ride through them it is freezing. So I started back. When I got above Eze I could see that the town was quickly becoming engulfed by cloud. This happens often, meaning that the tourists coming here for the view are sometimes disappointed as all they can see is white.
The clouds were faster than I and although it is a spectacular 30-minute ride down, much of it this time was through the cloud bank, making it not only for a very cold ride, but also a dangerous one as it is like fog in places, making it difficult for drivers to see well. But I made it home safe. Cold, but safe, and very content.