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Cycling along the Cote d'Azur in August: I need advice of some locals :)

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Cycling along the Cote d'Azur in August: I need advice of some locals :)

Salut and hello und hallo dear cyclist!

My name is Christina, Im a cyclist from Germany and Im planning my summer route along the Cote d'Azur at the moment. Hope time passes quickly :)

First of all, because I have read many forum discussions so far: I know it'll be very hot, there will be lots of traffic and yes, it's expensive. I don't mind all of that because my family and I have spent our last 15(!) summer holidays in the beautiful town of Port Grimaud, near St Tropez, and we always absolutely love it! Wouldnt go anywhere else, it really is our favourite place on earth :)

So instead of driving there with my family (12hrs in the car, bluargh...) I'm going to to cycle from Beziers to Port Grimaud (about 400k).

Now my questions:

  • Has anyone cycled that part of the coast and has advice for me?
  • How does that Eurovelo 8 route look at the moment? Would it be nicer to just travel along the coast or stick to the EV8?  
  • What about those campsites in August? There are sooo many warmshowers hosts and soooo many campsites. If you are a local or know the area, do you know...if it's easy to find a place to sleep in August?
  • Will the campsites be fully booked or do they generally have a pitch for a 1-person-tent?
  • Would I have to book in advance or can I just show up at reception? 

If you have been there before or if you live there, I would be really grateful if you share your experience with me :-) I live on the Eurovelo 15, between the Dutch boarder and Düsseldorf, so could help you out there :)

Kind regards from Xanten/GER and thanks in advance,
Merci beaucoup (ouais, ma mere est professor de francais, haha)

Christina

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Cycling the Cote d'Azur

Hi Christina!  My wife and I live in Antibes and I have cycled all the coast between Italy and St. Tropez, where you are heading.  This Eurovelo 8 route will slow you down a LOT because it's quite hilly.  If you are not in a hurry and want to avoid people and traffic then sure, take it.  You can always come down and get back on the coast road.  As you know from spending time in Port Grimaud, there are a LOT of tourists in August and a lot happening.  I personally think I would stick to the coast road as you will meet a lot of people and find lots to do.  Camp sites shouldn't be a problem in my opinion for one person with a small tent.  You won't find many campsites near Nice...  Stay in a youth hostel or something if you want to see Nice.  No camping in Monaco either.  The coast is hilly and beautiful between Italy and Nice and then flattens out until Mandelieu (just after Cannes).  After Mandelieu the riding is VERY beautiful until St. Tropez going through the Esterell mountains.  There should be lots of good camping there!  I personally wouldn't book a campsite in advance...  I like the adventure of not knowing and also leaving myself open for sudden, unexpected opportunities.

Any other ideas you may need let me know!

David 

 

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Wow,  my advice is entirely

Wow,  my advice is entirely opposite, we love cycling France but the only bad experiences we've had were on the coast...traffic, rude people, expensive everything; give us quiet interrior road through small villages, especially in August. gbb

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Agde to Sete

Ola Christina, I cycled from Bezier to Arles a couple of years ago in July . There is a nice bike lane strarting from Agde going to Sete along the beach. So it-s worth staying on the coast for that.Can]t remember the bit between Sete and Arles too well at the moment, but there is no horrible memories popping into my head... might even be that the bike lane continues to Frontignan and then Aigues Mortes through the national park to Arles is fairly quiet and nice. Bon voyage Sylvia

 

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Hi Christina

Hi Christina

We were cycling all the coast in summer months from Montpellier to Nice. It's nice and doable and has beautiful parts even though the traffic you mentioned is very heavy at some parts. We often made the experience that campgrounds made it somehow possible to find a spot for us. One of them even said that he has ALWAYS space for cyclists. Back then, we didn't know about warmshowers.org, so we were camping all nights on campgrounds. But some of these campgroundowners really squeeze you out: So, also with a small tent, you could easily be paying €25-35...

We were using this book as a red line we could follow: http://www.kettler-verlag.de/sofrank.htm We liked it.

We are ourselves travlling right now and unfortunately don't have access to our journey documents from then, but some interesting things we remember by heart:

  • At bac du sauvage, there is a ferry - it was free back then for cyclists. So you can take a nice and easy ride to Saintes-Maries de la Mer
  • There is a very beautiful but adventurous and veeeery steep (20% uphill from Cassis) alternative between Cassis and Le Ciotat, called Route des Crêtes (D141) - we can only remmend it
  • As far as we remember, we didn't find Camping in Marseille and the city wasn't worth to enter with the bicycle back then, may be it's better now...?

Voilà, that's all we remind right now from our memories:-)

Enjoy your journey - it's a very nice region and you'll find some very authentic and beautiful spots with the bike.

Best wishes

Anita & Alex

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The French Riviera

Hello Christina

The coast line is the place to ride and enjoy the beauty. i did it Marseille-Genova.  The Traffic is easy with the Bicycle (i was also once by car and you know how it is) , the old road its a beauty  (the fast heavy traffic is next to it paralel on the Autobahn). However the EV8 is also very nice to get rid of the noisy cars and get some fresh air at the shadows of its many trees.

As you know the towns along the riviera have a unique atmosphere, you can`t miss them at evenings; my advice is to ride along the coast where you can.  The Campings were not a problem for me, there were always a small spot to pinch my tent. (cassis has a nice one in town, actually i always found a camping on the way. in Cannes campings are not in Town but like 3 km before and a bit inland.) It was an amazing ride for me with only good memories.  Btw if you like Gardens, the Rotschilds House in Nice (cap ferrat) its open for visitors to go for a walk, you can enjoy that view in silence (overview of the bay with noise of running water).  Enjoy  Joaquin

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Dear Christine,

Dear Christine,
I am curtently in agde in my way Back from surroundng Iberia, i am from Freiburg. I would absolutely recommend Not to Care about the eurovelo But taking the Smalltalk roads in the Coast! I dont have an tent, Just a tarp and sleeping outside all the time, so i can't Help with that, But there are so much Camping Sites, IT should Not bei a Problem. Sometimes i Sneak in to have ä shower, every 2-3 weeks :)

You will Love that Tour!

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Christine -- 

Christine -- 

I agree wth the others. Plus, I can affirm that you should be able to find a campsite for one person  on a bicycle, even in a "full" campground. Hostel in Nice -- or the Hotel du Centre near the train station. It was a good base for touring around Nice for a day or two. 
Have a great trip. 

Jonathan

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Thanks for your feedback!

Hey everybody!

Thank you so much for your very useful comments! I am happy about all the good and also the bad news :-)
Actually, you made me so excited that right now, I am thinking of doing this trip in the Easter holidays already!
Cant wait until the summer, and in spring it might even be better ;-)
I will try and recommend some campsites when Im back.

Thanks and happy cycling to all of you!
Christina

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I think it is a very good

I think it is a very good idea to make this tour apart from main season. Here and there I crossed some mass tourism villages, even if they were more or less left empty in winter, they didn't cause any nice memorys. But they are rare and easy to find a way around them, unlike spain. Also, my experience is that local People are lot more open minded and friendly, apart from main season. The Loneliness in this beautiful, wide landscapes in Camargue and Okcitane with their monotone diversity were such a nice and deeply satisfying experience, and the people I met in the more lonely parts also were the best experineces! 

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Cote d'Azur

Thanks again :) The flights are booked. The tour begins on 26th March.
Ill definitely write some recommendations afterwards.
The opinions and tipps of all you lovely people who have replied are much appreciated!

A plus ;-)

 

 

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Good Luck and Have Fun

I don't have anything to say about the route but have fun Christina!

-Reggie

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Hi Christina

Hi Christina,
all great suggestions, I'll add just a couple of notes.

I used to live in Marseille, and I saw your post while doing my researches for a trip I am organising too. I will try and get there by September/October.
I am sure your trip will be amazing, I have seen that you start soon.

I used to work as an environmental educator and I can tell you that around marseille there are some amazing places. A lot of people are put off by the negative fame of this city, and this coast in general. I suggest you use a good lock for your bike and try always to keep an eye on it, or park it in a place like in front of a police station :) as well as inside at night if you are in a city (any of the cities around there.
On the other hand there are some amazing places to see, like the Calanques, les isles du Frioul, both well woth a look.
This area is very different from the richer cities around it, but the energy and life you'll breath there are unique, as well as its mix of music and food from all the world.

The people here is very warm, I would definitely conytact some WS ;)
Let me know if I can help you with anything.

Happy riding!
 

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Between Arles and Marseille....

HI!

I've already traveled between Arles and Genova, so I agree with others : you'll have a few part of hard traffic, and some wonderful parts of bicycle lane. Especially between La Seyne-sur-Mer and Cavalaire, where you have a bicycle lane almost all the time, even through Toulon, and even to avoid the small road along the sea where it's difficult to cross the cars. And a wonderful view!

line of the hardest question is to enter Marseille. You must absolutely avoid the N113 (or D113), which is an awful road by bike, and you must avoid Vitrolles if you don't want to cross highways! And I'm not sure it's a good idea to cross Martigues : big roads, chemical industry... Prefer to reach Arles and Salon de Provence.

My advice : 2 possible roads :

1. Salon de Provence, la Fare-les-Oliviers, Ventabren, take the road D65, and you'll cross the wonderful Aqueduct of Roquefavour. Then reach Calas (road D453), Septème les Vallons and Marseille. Nice country side road, not too much cars.

2. Salon-de-Provence, Pelissane, and take the road number D17 which is the old Roman road (via Aurelia). Nice country landscape. Reach Eguilles, take the D453 to Calas and Septème.

In Marseille : in August, go to l'Estaque (completely North of the town). Then take the "navette", the small boat who goes to the Old Harbour : it is meant to be authorized for bicycle, and it's the best way to enter Marseille!!

Have a nice trip!

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I cycled this route the last summer 2017

Hi Christina

im Felipe and I did this route the last summer time (from Montpellier to Milan). In total were 1.027 km in 27 days (veeery relaxed days, spending many days visiting friends and relaxing in different places), from the beginning of July to beginning of August.

the question is that I have a lot of information for you! I will answer now exactly your questions, but if you need anything else, please send me an email and we can share more about it (felip.arruda@gmail.com).

- About the Eurovelo 8, I remember to find it in a nice condition just in Nice and it’s sorroundings. Along the way, I basically used WS all the time and, specially in France, was really helpful! This track is a small part of the eurovelo 8, but honestly i didn’t find too much information about it. So I just decided to do my way and eventually I used it in Nice.

- As I told you, I considered myself the luckiest cycler in the world because I just used WS during my track in France! Was really amazing, many families hosted me and I felt really lucky to find so many people to receive me. There also many campsites but if I had to recommend you something is: try to use just WS!

i think that’s it, my dear! Good luck with your trip and anything you need, just look for me! It’s a really beautiful region to travel, quire safe and not soooo expensive. The important think is look for WS the most possible and you will find many nice people.

in my blog you will find more information too

www.viajandonaviaje.com https://viajandonaviaje.com/category/cycle-touring/

cheers!

 

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Happy cycling

Hi Christina. It sounds like you're going to have an amazingly interesting time in France. I wish you safe travels, good fortune, and a happy holiday.

Unfortunately I can't offer you any advice on cycling in France since I've never been there myself, at leats not yet anyway. However, having said that, I'll be starting my own tour of Europe in August which should take me through almost every country in the European union.

Good luck and best wishes.

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Salut Christina:

Salut Christina:

I have cycled the region last year and parts of it again this spring, from Béziers nach Montpellier you have plenty of beautiful sights, you cannot skip the coast - from Montpellier to Arles/Avignon, there are some fascinating towns such as Aigues-Mortes and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, but it depends how you want your route: hilly or not so hilly. I would avoid the coast surrounding Marseille, because I find it pretty industrial - in my humble opinion, after Montpellier or Camargue Region I would try to head north towards Parc Régional des Alpilles and then through Lubéron (Gordes, Rousillon, Apt, etc.) and then, getting closer to Aix and Provence, head south towards Mount Sainte-Victoire and then to your destination. In small towns accomodation is not so expensive (chambre d'hotes) and well, yes, in August the roads will be busy and probably at the coast will be awful..

Vergiss bitte nicht Sonnenschutz!

Greetings from Cologne