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The Best Motorcycle Roads In The South Of FranceSituated between the Mediterranean and the Alps, the South of France is an all-year-round holiday destination. The summer brings to light the vivid colours of fragrant lavender fields in the Provence, whereas the glamorous Cote Azur lures you with palm tree lined promenades and beautiful beaches under endless blue skies.
But that's not all - thanks to an excellent road infrastructure, the South of France is blessed with some of the best motorcycle routes in the world. There is a large variety of mountain, coastal and inland routes. In terms of mountain roads, you have the famous Route Napoleon between Grasse and Grenoble. This historic stretch of road is blessed with a perfect road surface and sweeping bends. The fact that Aprilia, BMW and Ducati have chosen the Route Napoleon for several motorcycle launches speaks volumes for this road. Apart from 2nd and 3rd gear turns, you have altitude changes which provide spectacular views. On route, you will pass through the Gorges de Verdon, which is the Grand Canyon of France. This together with the turquoise Lake Sainte Croix is a nature sight not to be missed.
Two other mountain roads not to be missed are the Col de Turini and the Col de la Bonette. The Col de Turini is part of the special stage of the Rally Monte Carlo. If you're after hairpins, this is the way to go. Once you get up on top of the Col de Turini, you can stop for a coffee and enjoy the view of the mountains and the rivers running in the valleys. But make sure you fuelled up your motorbike on the way, as petrol stops have to be planned carefully on this road.
The Col de la Bonette is the highest road in Europe. At 2715m you will enjoy spectacular views across the South of France and Italy. But don't forget to bring a warm motorcycle jacket, as temperatures tend to drop when reaching the summit. On the other side of the Col de la Bonette, you have a village called Barcelonette. A good place to stop and take a rest after riding these sky high mountain roads.
The coastal roads between Monaco and Saint Tropez can be compared to the Pacific Highway Number One in California. Just outside of Cannes you have the bright red Esterel rocks which sit in contrast to the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. Continuing on to Saint Tropez you pass through the villages Frejus and Saint Raphael. Riding in and out of Saint Tropez on a motorbike is pure bliss. As there is only one road going in and out of Saint Tropez, you will be able to filter through traffic in no time. Beats being stuck in a car for 2h each way. On the other side of Cannes, you have three different roads going along the coast. The Basse Corniche (lowest and closest to the water), the Moyenne Corniche (in the middle of the two routes) and the Haute Corniche (highest coastal road). All of the Corniches offer spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. Something not to be missed is Sainte Agnes; France's highest coastal village at 750m. One word of warning is to avoid these roads in the holiday month of August. Due to school holidays, the traffic on these roads can get heavy. Best times are between March and May and September to end of October.
The Provence is a biker's dreams come true. No matter, which route you choose your ride past lavender, sunflower fields and various vineyards is something to write home about. And if you feel like taking a break, just stop in the next picturesque village and enjoy a Provencal cuisine meal. Our favourite villages are Lourmarin, Menerbes and Roussillion. If you're riding across the Provence you should not miss the Mont Ventoux also known as the windy mountain. This gruelling ascent is part of the Tour de France. The lunar like rocks on the summit give way to magnificent views across the Provence. You should also ride across the Alpilles, the Gorge d'Eygues and the Col de Cabre. You will not be disappointed.
Last but not least, the South of France offers sunny weather throughout the year. According to several weather websites, the South of France benefits of over 300 days of sunshine per year. Therefore, the riding season stretches from early March to late October. So no matter, where and when you ride, smiles per miles are guaranteed.
This begs the questions of how to get to the South of France. Nice Airport is the second largest passenger airport in France. Most international airlines serve this airport with several flights per day. As an alternative you can also fly to Marseille Airport. This airport is further to the West and offers the advantage of allowing you to explore the Pyrenees and Spain.
If you're coming from far away, it will difficult to bring your own motorcycle. In Cannes, you have a large choice of rental motorcycles in South of France including BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson and others. But only one of these motorcycle rental companies offers you one way rentals, motorcycle delivery and pick-up from the airport and can provide TomTom navigations systems to ensure you get the most out of your motorcycle trip.
In conclusion it can be said, that the South of France ranks among some of the world's best motorcycle regions. Giving yourself one week to explore the Provence, Alpes and French Riviera will allow you to discover some of the mentioned highlights. If that's not enough, you can always come back for more. Thanks to the sunny weather, motorcycle smiles per miles are to be had all year long.¬†
© Villa Lemonia in Miliou village near Paphos