Nice Côte d’Azur by motorbike!

19 April 2023

The Nice Côte d’Azur region offers a wide variety of motorbike routes, from winding pre-Alps passes to panoramic coastal roads. Whether you’re an experienced rider looking for a technical challenge or simply a lover of exceptional scenery, you’ll find here a number of itineraries to suit all your escapades.

The most popular route is up to the Col de la Bonette, one of the highest roads in Europe at over 2800 metres, offering spectacular views of the Alps and the Mediterranean.

The coastline is not to be missed, of course, as it opens up a view of the blue horizon with that incredible feeling of freedom, and all without any traffic problems!

The Nice Côte d’Azur region is undeniably a destination of choice for motorbike enthusiasts. There are plenty of routes to suit all levels and tastes.

The scenery is even more striking. They are breathtaking!

Whether you’re an inveterate biker or just looking for a good ride, you won’t be disappointed by the winding roads and spectacular panoramas of this sun-drenched region, rich in high and low relief, sharp and vivid colours.

@OTM NCA / Prescillia Cognet

The coastline

From Nice to Beaulieu-sur-Mer via Eze: 1h45 – 45 km

This is a beautiful coastal route, with countless points of interest for motorcyclists in search of new discoveries.

Leave Nice and head for the port to start the route with your feet almost in the water. Head for Villefranche-sur-Mer, whose turquoise bay is perfect for a first stop for a dip, a coffee or a picnic. It’s also a great place to take some wonderful photos.

A little further afield, Saint-Jean, with its Cap Ferrat, is a little jewel of land jutting out into the sea. A mecca for luxury residences, it’s a must for discovering the rich and varied architecture, not forgetting the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild with its 9 dreamy gardens.

Beaulieu-sur-Mer is also a very pleasant place to stop. Don’t miss a visit to the Villa Kérylos, a magnificent historic residence with unique Greek architecture, set right on the water, opposite the beautiful Plage des Fourmis and its charming little port.

The lower Corniche d’Eze is another place to discover on a motorbike, with its winding roads offering spectacular views over the Mediterranean.

The village of Eze, perched on a hill, is a charming place to wander through. Its exotic garden is certainly one of the most beautiful on the Côte d’Azur. Located to the south of the village, it majestically overlooks the blue sky and sea.

Leaving the village, head for the Fort de la Révère, a 19th-century military structure located in the Grande Corniche Nature Park, which can be a perfect break for motorcyclists. It’s a green, peaceful spot with a remarkable view.

@OTM NCA / Prescillia Cognet

To complete the loop, pass over Mont Alban, which separates Nice from the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, giving you a view of Villefranche on one side, then the whole of Vieux-Nice and the Promenade des Anglais on the other. An interesting stop-off point for lovers of history and military heritage. This coastal route offers a perfect combination of spectacular views of the sea, discoveries of historic and cultural sites, and pleasant breaks in exceptional locations.

In the land

From Vence to Saint-Jeannet, via l’Estéron : 2h10 – 70 km

From Vence, you can follow a route that takes in the Col de Vence, Coursegoules, Bézaudun les Alpes, Bouyon, Le Broc, Gattières and Saint-Jeannet.

This route is renowned for its superb scenery and panoramic views of the mountains and the Cagne valley. The villages you pass through are also delightful places to visit, with picturesque medieval streets and interesting historical remains.

The starting point is Vence, with its undeniable cultural, natural and tourist attractions. Before setting off, take a stroll through the centre and the Place du Grand Jardin to do a little shopping for your picnic, not forgetting the local speciality, Craquelin but also to fill your water bottles at the fountains, where the spring water from La Foux was recommended by doctors in Roman times.

The Col de Vence is also a venue for the famous Monte Carlo Rally, a historic car race held every January. If you are lucky enough to visit the region at this time of year, you may be able to witness this spectacular event and the rally races that take place on the surrounding mountain roads.

Once over the pass, head towards Coursegoules, a small village at the foot of the Cheiron mountain known for its medieval architecture, with many stone buildings dating back to the 12th century, and also for its Provencal market, held every Thursday morning.

Pass through this village and head for Bezaudun les Alpes, a village dominated by a medieval castle built in the 11th century on a hill overlooking the Estéron valley. Then on to Bouyon, famous for its ruined 11th-century castle overlooking the village. There are also two water mills that are largely intact and bear witness to daily life in the village over the centuries.

Continue on to Le Broc, which overlooks the Var and Estéron valleys. If you haven’t packed a picnic lunch or stopped for lunch, it’s worth stopping off at a restaurant in the arcaded square. This village of around 2,500 inhabitants has a rich historical and cultural heritage, including a medieval castle and a Romanesque church.

The penultimate stop on this hinterland itinerary is Gattières. Set in the hills, this village offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean and is surrounded by forests and olive groves. There’s a beautiful medieval watchtower at the heart of the village, perched on a promontory overlooking the Var valley.

The route ends at Saint-Jeannet, a very distinctive village, recognisable by the Baou against which it backs. This is a rocky mountain over 800 metres high, with a flat summit offering spectacular views over the region. The Baou is also a popular spot for hikers, climbers and paragliders.

Drive up to the village to discover the breathtaking views over the Mediterranean and the charming little streets carved into the side of the baou. It’s a popular spot for bikers, who like to stop off for a drink on the terrace and enjoy the exceptional views, after a winding road that was made a famous scene in “To Catch the Thief” with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in a convertible.

The High Country

Mountain resorts in summer: a popular route for motorcyclists! 3h00 – 156 km

Clans, which can be reached from the Grenoble road (N202) to the north, is surrounded by picturesque roads that are very popular with motorcyclists, who find them an enjoyable riding experience. The best thing to do here is to take your first break and enjoy the views of the village and surrounding mountains.

Travel 50km north to reach the Mercantour ski resorts. Isola, whose village lies 17km from the resort, offers one of the most beautiful routes through the green of the pine trees and larch-filled mountains. Nature lovers will be delighted to embark on a road trip to Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée / Auron, a village in the high country that has preserved its authenticity, old-world charm and unique architecture. Must see: Chapelle Saint-Erige, the church of Saint-Etienne and a hike to the Lacs de Vens.

Once in Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée, there are a number of picturesque roads to explore, but the most popular is the D89 leading to the Col de la Bonette, Europe’s highest road pass at over 2800 metres. This road offers spectacular views of the mountains and Alpine scenery.

There is another route to the Gorges du Cians, the D2205 heading south. This road winds through several picturesque villages, such as Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée and Rimplas, before reaching the gorges themselves. Then take the D28 road, which crosses the gorge through several tunnels and offers spectacular views of the surrounding cliffs and Alpine scenery. This place is well worth a visit. Extremely wild and sparsely populated, this valley is unique. Huge walls of red shells and ochre soil transports you to an extremely exotic place.

This route, over 150km long, is a nugget for any backpacking motorcyclist. It combines picturesque roads and twists and turns through a variety of Alpine landscapes in shades of green. It also links remote and authentic villages, where it’s good to stop for a bite to eat or simply to meet local producers.

The Nice Côte d’Azur region is a delight for motorcyclists. Go from blue to green in less than an hour, from the sea to the mountains, and take breaks either on the beach or on a steep path. Save time compared with motorists, while still being able to take it in and savour it by stopping off in authentic towns and villages.

Of course, it’s important to check the road conditions before you set off, as well as the opening times of the tourist sites you plan to visit. You should also make sure you wear the right protective gear when riding your motorbike.

Need to make a stopover?
Welcome to Hôtel Floréal in Vence (Relais Motard accredited):

  • laundry facilities
  • possibility to wash your motorbike
  • possibility to dry your clothes
  • outdoor motorbike parking
  • swimming pool
  • breakfast on site
  • 5 min from the Col de Vence


Coordinator of the Vence Information Office