There is no other way to discover the stunning coast of the Cote d’Azur than by bike. This bike ride is not the most challenging, as no serious hills are conquered, but it is a stunning way to explore the coastal towns of the Cote d’Azur.
Our starting point was Antibes town centre and from here we headed toward the ocean, turned right toward Boulevard de la Garoupe and followed the coast road around the Cap d’Antibes. This route loops round the edge of the cap, keeping the glamorous estates to your right and their yacht equivalents lazily floating in the Mediterranean sea to your left. However you should pay attention whilst taking in the views on this stretch of road as it is narrow with a lot of traffic.
As you approach the foot of the cap the road cuts inland across it and directs you back up towards the chic town of Juan-les-Pins. The road then rejoins the coast and takes you through the town’s high street. Along here we enjoyed the awe-inspiring yachts moored in the marina of Port camille Rayon in Golfe Juan. The town is more understated and simple, with a wide open road lined with Palm trees, whilst the flat landscape lets you admire the boats moored along the harbour.
Past Golfe Juan you pick up the signs to Cannes. Our trip had coincided with the Cannes Film Festival, so the roads were very busy along here. Nonetheless, it was not an unpleasant journey as there is a dedicated cycle lane which runs alongside the road.
On arrival into Cannes we came to a dead end, as the main coastal road was shut for the film festival and dominated by pedestrians. However, on a normal day this stretch of road would be beautiful to cycle along. The seafront shops consist of some of the biggest names of fashion, palm trees tower over the boulevard and the wide open beaches give a different feel to the rustic Cap d’Antibes.
The roads were calmer after exiting the town of Cannes, making the onward road very pleasant. We had been warned that the road would start to get more hilly from here, but for the section between Cannes and Theoule-sur-Mer, which was our next stop, they remained flat.
Continuing to follow signs to Frejus our stomachs finally got the better of us and we stopped for lunch in Theoule-sur-Mer. We found a great restaurant, Palazzo Pizzeria, overlooking the beach where we had a delicious, crispy-based Italian pizza and a salad with some of the best buffalo mozzarella.
After soaking up the rays, and food, we continued onward. Out of Theoule the road climbs gently up and you can see you are heading up the cliffs. The climbing is not long or strenuous and worth every peddle, from here onward the views are stunning. If you are making a full day of it pack your swimwear and park-up at one of the dozens of coves which could be your own private beach!
The undulating road finally drops gently into Le Dramont, a small beachside town, and we carried on through to end up at our final destination of Saint Raphael. We chose this as our stopping point as it is the last coastal town before you head slightly inland to Frejus. Naturally we ended up at a beach where we had a quick dip in the sea to cool off before jumping on the train back to Antibes.
This cycle route was my favourite of the holiday, mainly because of the views after Theoule-sur-Mer. They were stunning, the water in the coves was a beautiful colour of turquoise and the quiet roads meant you had all the time in the world to take in the scenery.
If you are looking to make this a little more challenging you can always extend the ride up to Frejus, which is the end point of the train line returning back towards Nice. Alternatively, you can turnaround and come back. Our route was approximately 45km and to extend the ride to Frejus would be adding another 10km.
Who should go...
What to do
What to see
Where to lunch
Level: Beginner | Intermediate
Typical Duration: 2 hours | Half day