This 75 km route starts in Cannes and provides you with an easier ride along the Corniche de l’Esterel (nicknamed Corniche d’Or for its beautiful red-coloured rock), and into the Esterel National Park.
It’s a nice ride and offers a good way of breaking up the harder climbing days around the Côte d’Azur. It still includes nearly 1,800 m of climbing, but by Côte d’Azur standards, that’s pretty tame!
If you’re based in Nice, you can drive or catch a train or bus to Nice. Alternatively, if you want to turn it into a longer day out with barely any extra climbing, you could:
Route map and profile
Distance: 75 km
Elevation Gain: 1,770 m
All metrics in this guide are approximate
We enjoyed leaving the hubbub of Cannes and heading onto the Corniche d’Or/Esterel coast road, with its incredible coastal views, smart seaside towns and striking red rocky surrounds. With the azure blue sea, lush green vegetation and the red rock of the Esterel, it’s a feast for the eyes. Pointe de l'Esquillon and Cap Roux were particularly dramatic.
We also loved the winding canyon road through pine forests in the Esterel hills.
1.Cannes to Agay (via Corniche d’Or): 0 - 29 km
From Cannes, the route leaves La Croisette and skirts round the port through the coastal resorts of Théoule-sur-Mer, Miramar and Agay. The latter coastal stretch is less populated, and bright red crags rise both from the sea and the cliffs on your right.
2. Agay to Fréjus: 29 - 43 km
The route then turns inland on pleasant roads. Our route skirts the wealthy, leafy, residential suburbs of Saint-Raphaël and Fréjus. While it’s not jaw-dropping scenery or epic difficulty, it’s great to be zipping along on these charming roads. An excellent bike path borders the road.
3. Fréjus to Cannes: 43 - 75 km
As you leave the outskirts of Fréjus behind, a signpost marks the start of the Foret Communale de Fréjus. It's rolling hills until you reach the Col du Testanier, where you climb steadily at an average of around 4.5% for just over 5 kilometres.
As you skirt the hills, walking trails lead off the forest road and the coastline glints between the hills in the distance behind you.
At 54 km you stay on the DN7, through the hamlet of Le Castellan (don't turn left towards Les Adrets), and start the descent back into Cannes.
From here it’s more sweeping hairpins and craggy views as you hit the coast at Mandelieu-La-Napoule and roll back into Cannes.
While there are a few options before you hit the remoteness of the Esterel hills at 45km, you may as well fuel up at Agay and enjoy the sea views before you turn inland.
If you want somewhere with excellent food, good service and tasty casual food on your return to Cannes, try Bobo Bistro at 21 Rue du Commandant André. We ate tasty pasta and pizza in the sunshine and thoroughly enjoyed it. Good toilets too!
We did this ride from our base in Nice. While it would be easier to do this particular ride from Cannes, Nice is the capital of the French Riviera and superbly well placed for riding in the region as well as the airport. We think Nice is a better choice than Cannes as a cycling base.
Our ultimate guide to Nice for cyclists provides details of where we stayed and other ideas for accommodation too.
Read our tips for cycling in Nice before you set out.
Rich from VeloGuide mentioned the water fountain in Agay to us. He says "It's at the cross walk immediately in front of the Société Générale bank. You'll have to lean over the wall to see it on the beach side, but you can fill your bottle from the top of the wall. Always good to know if it's a warm day!"
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Don't miss our other ride guides on Nice: see the related rides section above.
Check out our ultimate guide to cycling Nice and the Côte d’Azur, as well as our other articles on the region, below.
(via Moyenne Corniche, L’Escarène, Sospel and Col de Braus)
(aka Corniche d’Or) loop
(via the Basse Corniche, Ventimiglia and Sospel)