Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle routes france’

My latest post “Carcassonne to Andorra via 11 Passes/Cols” is now available on RoadTrooper.com

RoadTrooper.com is my new site with greater functionality and integration with Google Maps and Google Earth. Use the Google Map Street View to see road conditions along the route, just drag the “orange man icon” on the integrated map at the top of each post to the roads along the route to help plan your journeys. You may need to install Google Earth to avail of the function. It’s well worth the effort, I’ve found it an invaluable tool for deciding if the road condition suits my bike, riding style etc., and planning my tours. When in “Street View” use the mouse scroll wheel to travel along your chosen road in continuous high-res photos. If your have not yet used this tool it will blow your mind!

Google Earth Tutorials Here!

I have had a few problems with very unfriendly IP’s origionating from Eastern Europe and China using automatic bulk download programs to download routes, photos and contant for who know’s what reason which also effected bandwith and accessability. To stop this I’ve had no choice but to implement a small restriction to the new site www.RoadTrooper.com in that you will need to create a free account to log in if you want to download the routes. No information is required other then your email address which will NOT be used for any other reason, a password will be sent to the email address you supply which you will need to keep until I find a better way.

You will not recieve any unwanted email by doing this, the subscription service to recieve updates is seperate to this. Unfortunatly if you have already subscribed to this blog you will need to subscribe again to recieve updates for the new site, sorry for any inconvience but I could find no way around this.

Coming up in my next posts to the new site RoadTrooper will be a full description of La Grande Route des Cols Pyrenees which is an amazing 950km route through the highest passes along the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Med. Also Irelands west coast, more Alps and the Dolomites.

Hope ye all have a great summer touring and if you dont get around to it this year then do the next best thing and read about Europes best motorbike routes here and plan to get your ass out there next year!



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Route description – The Camargue Circuit runs from Arles to Saint-Maries-de-la-Mer through the Camargue National Park and back to Arles.

Distance – An easy 140km

The Camargue Circuit

This is an easy ride and if your staying in or around Arles it’s definetly worth booking this in as a day trip. Roads are good but in summer there is a lot of tourist traffic, cyclists, bird watchers and hippy naturalists out to save nature by growing dreadlocks and not washing.

Camargue - on the road

Still, the Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue covers 820 km² that are some of the wildest and most protected lands in all of Europe and seems to have a sort of mini-culture seperate to Provence. Worth doing once.

D453 outside Arles

Saint-Maries-de-la-Mer is worth a stop, dating back to at least the 4th century AD it has some beautiful buildings, however the population jumps from 2,500 in winter to 50,000 in summer, so if you want to stay overnight then book well in advance.


Biker friendly hotels along The Camargue Circuit;

Hostellerie la Source – Arles
Hotel de la Muette – Arles
La Mas de la Roseraie – Arles

Downloadable GPS Routes for The Camargue Circuit are as follows;

Coming soonTouring the French and Spanish Pyrenees

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Route Description – Monestry, Castle, Open Country Road and Provencial Village Circuit. Starting outside Signes near Toulon this a great motorcycle route through the back country of Provence known mostly to the local bikers. Cant really recommend this route enough, it’s a really magic mix of smooth open country roads, typical old villages with a couple of really interesting stop off points if your into ancient castles and monestries. A welcome break from the coast with plenty of biker friendly places to eat and stay overnight.

Distance – 173km of easy riding

Monestries, Country Roads, Castles and Villages Route

I wish I had the time to do this route justice and describe it properly, but there is so much going on along this route it could easily take me a week to write about it all and I just dont have the time right now. All I can say now that it is well worth doing, great motorbike roads, little traffic or speed checks except near the villages. There are great views of vineyards, open countryside, basically the whole south of France package.

Every village along the route is worth a stop if you have the time, especially the Abbaye Le Thoronet, a former Cistercian abbey built in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century, now restored as a museum. It is one of the three Cistercian abbeys in Provence, along with the Sénanque Abbey and Silvacane, that together are known as “the Three Sisters of Provence” and is one of the first buildings in France to be classified an historical monument.

More info on Carcès
More info on Entrecasteaux
More info on Cotignac
More info on La Basilique de Saint Maximin la Sainte Baume (tomb of Mary Magdalene)

Abbaye Le Thoronet

Basilique de Saint Maximin la Sainte Baume

Plenty of open road between villages....

Biker friendly campsites along this route of the route;

Camping 06 – Alpes-Maritimes

Downloadable GPS Routes for this route are as follows;


Coming soonTouring the French and Spanish Pyrenees

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Provence – Valbonne to the Hops Store Irish Pub in Antibes via some belting roads you might recognise from James Bond films..

Route description – Starting in Valbonne just north of Antibes through Gourdon, Plateau de Caussol, Gréolières Les Neiges, Greolières, Gorges du Loup and Biot, finishing up with a couple of frosty pints in the Hops Store Irish pub in Antibes.

– 116km

Valbonne to Antibes via semi-famous roads

Starting in Valbonne, a non-typical provencial village dating from the 12th century, non typical as it was one of the 1st villages/towns ever built on a grid system head inland towards Opio to Gordon.

Valbonne Friday Market

As well as Valbonne who’s Cafe des Arcades was used in the fight scene of “French Kiss” , Gourdon is worth a look and more typical of the perched villages sitting on a cliff top and gives access to a couple of cop and traffic free sweeping roads.

Gourdon view from the D3

Gourdon is one of the most picturesque of all the perched villages, and one of the most touristic. It’s rated as one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France, and well deserves the title. The village is full of little boutiques with perfume products, a glass blower who creates intricate masterpieces and an early-17th-century fortress.

Gourdon Village

The château originated as a Saracen fortress in the 9th-12th centuries that evolved into a 13th-century château, and was completely rebuilt in 1610. The beautiful lavoir, just down from the château, is from the 19th century.

Gordon Castle from the D12

If you still have the better half clinging to the pillion seat this is a good spot to gain some “good will” points, the perfumerie here is one of the best in the world and very fairly priced, and of course easy to pack under the saddle!

Plateau de Caussols

Hang a left entering Gourdon up through Plateau de Caussol, about half way along the plateau it’s possible to take a right up to Observatoire du CERGA with its weird laser telescopes.

Plateau de Caussols and Observatory

Continuing on the D5 take a right on the junction of the D5 and the D2, D2 being is a long smooth usually empty road, great for opening up a throttle. This road was used in car chase scene’s in a couple of Bond films as well as the chase scene in “Ronan”.

D802 to Gréolières Les Neiges ski station

About 4 km down this road you can hang a left up towards the ski station of Gréolières Les Neiges, another belter of a road used in “Ronan car chase” and 007 films, keep an eye out to the left near the top as there is a view point with bloody stunning views of the Alps to the north. There is a cafe/restaurante at the ski station open all year.

View of Alps near Gréolières Les Neiges ski station

Heading back down and on towards Greoliere there is another stunning stretch of Hollywood road, featured in many films going back to the 1970’s it cuts through rock and cliff winding down towards the medieval village of Greoliere.

D2 heading towards Gréolières village

Just before the village you will see even older ruins of the origional village and castle destroyed by an earthquake some time in the distant past and is well worth a stop for a sniff around and take in the view, if your in luck the old church will be open.

Old part of Gréolières village

From here down to the valley floor the road is a fast sweeper but has a couple of hairy turns that can hurt if you dont stay awake.

The magic D2 just west of Gréolières

Keep right, take the 2nd exit at the roundabout/direction Gourdon D3, then keeping left at the next junction onto the D6 will bring you into Gorges du Loup with it’s stunning casscading waterfall. The old bridge spanning the gorge there is a good spot to take in the view.

Gorge du Loup waterfall

If you take the time to stop for a look you will see near the top behind the waterfall a path cut into the rock, ancient remains of an old Roman path through these mountains used to get their troops in to kick out the Celtic tribes. Down the road again in Bar-Sur-Loup, you’ll see the remains of the old railway bridge that got blown to shit by a bunch of rowdy German tourists in 1944 before they jumped back on the cheese trail to Normandy to help their mates who were having an argument with some American and British lads!


From here on down to Antibes it’s back to the traffic again, but there is the little village of Biot on the way which is also worth a stop to shift around a bit. In Antibes there are a couple of good bars and hotels, The Hops Store being my favorite watering hole even though they barred me last time I was in for refusing to take off my baseball hat of all things!!! Many French bars and restaurants will ask you to remove your hat after 10pm, God knows why, obviously some cultural thing or they’re afraid you’ll make off with their cheese hidden under your hat!


Biker friendly campsites along this route of the route;

Camping 06 – Alpes-Maritimes

Hôtel des Armoiries – Valbonne

Downloadable GPS Routes for this route are as follows;

Valbonne 007 roads Antibes.gdb
Valbonne 007 roads Antibes.gpx
Valbonne 007 roads Antibes.kml

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Route description – Starting and ending in Théoule (west end of Cannes) this route takes the Corniche D’Or (gold road), Frejus, St. Raphael, St. Maxime, Port Grimaud, St-Tropez, the forest’s of Massif des Maures and a couple of great villages.

Distance – 254km

Golden Cliff Road & the Maures Forest Route

Firstly I’m going to state for those who haven’t read my last post “Route Des Grande Alpes – Stage 8 – St Martin du Vesubie to Menton” that I’m not a fan of the coast of Cote d’Azure as it’s a complete pain in the arse at the best of times and complete hell in summer. However, if you like heavy traffic, speed cameras, baking heat and the joy’s of summer tourism then this is the place for you 🙂

Roman aqueduct of Fréjus

Touring here in spring and autumn is far more enjoyable and even winter is highly recommended. Also, to be fair, if you’ve convinced your wife or girlfriend to hang on to a tiny pillion seat all the way down here and not show her the jet-set/fashion magazine towns of St-Tropez and the like then you risk the distinct possibility of having your Jolly Roger becoming unemployed (except for DIY jobs) while she developes a permenant headache!

The N7

Luckily after living here for 2 years and as a devout biker I know of a route for just this most serious of situations that will keep your ladies womanly assets available to you as well as give you a good ride “on the bike that is”. This route works as a figure of 8 mixing great open twisty roads through mountainous forest and perched villages as well as the coast road along the chick chique hot spots of rich Russian oligarchs, arms dealers, mafia bosses, Arab oil bosses and of course a recent injection of ousted Irish politicians and bankers avoiding the risk of a good arse kicking back at home from the like’s of myself.

Corniche D’Or - Route-des-Escalles

Anyway, to the route, I’m not going to blag on too much about the coast part except for Corniche D’Or, this is a beautiful cliff/coast road and worth a look, if it wasn’t spoilt by arse pot poser towns like St Maxime it would be a great ride, your female pillion will love it, but at 9 Euro for an espresso your pocket wont! Oh, and by-the-way, if your not riding the latest super-computer loaded BMW sports tourer, a heavily chrome clad Harley or an uber cool Italian Ducati rocket then you wont really feel like you can ever possibly fit in, rather just a blow in to be tolerated and relieved of your hard earned money! My advice is aim to have lunch in the mountains and steer your lass well clear of the shops as the bastards are well clued in to biker chicks, the buggers will all offer to post her purchase of 400 Euro designer jeans back home, so if you think the excuse, “sorry, no room in the panniers love” will work, think again mate…

Sunset on Saint Tropez Gulf

30km inland and the pressure is off. The Massif des Maures is a succession of forested ridges and hills stretching from Hyères to Frèjus. Though reaching only about 800m (2,600 ft) at its highest point, the Massif des Maures is definitely a very mountainous setting with sudden drops, steep valleys and winding roads. It is densely forested and is ravaged from time to time by devastating forest fires during summer and autumn, if you see smoke – beware, and carelessely flicking a cigarette butt into the side of the road can land you a 400 Euro on the spot fine for good reason, it’s beautiful, but its a tinderbox.


A couple of good spots to stop and visit on the inland part of the trip are;

The quiet oasis of La Garde-Freinet

La Garde Freinet – One of the Var’s best preserved medieval villages (pop. 1.700) about 20km north of Saint Tropez has attracted many refugees such as writers and artists looking to escape the tourist hordes on the coast. Its architecture is as well preserved as many of the villages in the Haut Var and Vaucluse. The old part of the village clusters around the 16th century Saint Clément church with its 18th century bell tower. Here most of the houses are built with flat field stones without the use of mortar – some of them have weathered the times for more than 700 years. The ruins of Fort Freinet tower above the village. This was where the original medieval village was situated – it was safer up there. As the security situation improved villagers moved down the hill to what is today the oldest part of La Garde Freinet. By the late 15th century Fort Freinet was completely in ruins. If you walk up there you realize who impregnable it was, only one path leads to the top of the hill and the entry on the cliffs could easily be defended.


Grimaud – This perched village (pop. 3.850) on the western edge of the Massif des Maures overlooks the blue Golf of Saint Tropez and brings you back to medieval times. It is dominated by the 11th century chateau at the top. Cobble stoned streets and alleys, most of them pedestrian only, vaulted passages, carefully restored 16th – 19th century houses, flower pots on window sills, a few shops, cafés and restaurants – the place is utterly ideallic, perfect to distract your lass from the coastal hell and gain some extra points! Leave the leathers in the hotel as the walk to the castle is a sweaty arm pit of a climb but worth it. The massive ramparts are used as the backdrop for the outdoor theater’s stage with performances during July and August. The terraces of the castle ruins serve as seats.

Grimaud, Moulin St. Roch

Also worth a look is the 17th century Saint Roch windmill just north of Grimaud.

Chartreuse de la Verne

The Chartreuse de la Verne -A large, ancient monastery hidden in the thick forests of the Maures mountains west of Saint Tropez just off the D14, the road up here is unpaved but easily passable for bikes if its dry.

D14 Chartreuse de la Verne

Click here for Chartreuse Information

Collobrières, crash here for the night, it's cheaper & your bike will be safe!

Collobrières – At the heart of the Massif is this ancient village is reputed to have been the first place in France to learn from the Spanish that a certain tree plugged into bottles allows a wine industry to grow. From the Middle Ages until very recent times, cork production has been the major business of the village and Collobrières is still the best place in the region to buy items roughly fashioned from raw cork. However, the sweet chestnut tree is the mainstay of the local economy nowadays. The church, the mairie and the houses don’t seem to have been modernized for a century, but the Confiserie Azurienne on boulevard Koenig (9am–noon & 2–6pm) exudes efficiency and modern business skill in the manufacture of all things chestnut: ice cream, jam, nougat, purée and marrons glacés.


Biker friendly campsites along this route of the route;

Camping 06 – Alpes-Maritimes

Downloadable GPS Routes for this route are as follows;

Golden_Cliff_Road_ Maures_Forest.gdb

Golden_Cliff_Road_ Maures_Forest.gpx

Golden_Cliff_Road_ Maures_Forest.kml

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