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Biking in the French Riviera

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  • Biking in the French Riviera

    Well summer was almost upon us here in the UK in June. Sunshine was unprecedently glorious for 2 straight weeks resulting in clear skies and plunging necklines
    If the weather is this awesome in the island it must be blissful on the continent, we thought. Time for a European holiday?. We deliberated a lot and decided on France.
    Yes, the same country we lost our passports and almost got stranded an year ago! But how many guys do you know who have lost passports twice?
    We decided to have faith in the laws of probability, confirmed the dates and quickly applied for Visa and started planning.

    The French riviera was always on our list and we decided to visit before it gets too crowded now that the peak season had started. I had always wanted to do a bike trip
    to the south of France. Had heard so many stories from othe bikers and read many travel specials on motorcycle sites etc.
    Only problem now was that wife was dead sure this was going to be a 'take a flight,enjoy the food and scenary and come back, on a flight as well' trip, like normal people.
    Only monkeys haul luggage on motorbikes and travel long distances and arrive tired. This was no surprise to me really. I was given a proper dressing down after the
    last continental foray ended in disaster and we are going to have no more.
    Well, made sense as well. South of France was a good 1200 kms from any ferry port in the north plus the ferry crossing from UK!
    I sat down looking for tickets but God knows how, stumbled upon something awesome on the SNCF site-The Autotrain. SNCF(French rail operator which also runs the world famous TGV) runs a train service for ferrying cars/motorcycles from
    Paris to most holiday destinations within France with daily services during the summer.

    So a plan was hatched!

    We'd take the Ferry from the port of Newhaven which is 3 hours from our home, land in Dieppe and then ride to Paris. I'd then drop the bike at the Autotrain terminal
    and then stay overnight in Paris and take the TGV next day to Nice. The bike travels overnight on the autotrain and if all goes well should be on the other platform
    in Nice when I arrive the next day
    It took great effort and all of my persuasive powers had to be summoned for her to finally relent and off we rode to London for the Visa!
    The visa duly arrived in 3 day's time.I replaced the barely 3000 miles old oil and got new Michelin Pilot 4 pair for the bike as well and we were all set.
    This trip was 9 days long including 2 mostly travel days, but I'll try to keep it short and crisp.


    Day 1: Ferry to France and Paris

    We took the overnight ferry from the port of Newhaven and called ashore the next morning at Dieppe in France.
    After clearing immigration, we made our way to Paris, but bad weather slowed us down. We spent as much as 4 hours at a restaurant on the way, hoping for the rain to subside.
    When it did it was almost 1pm, so we could reach Paris only by 2pm and checked into the prebooked hotel.
    I then quickly rode to the autotrain terminal to drop the bike off.I was a bit apprehensive about transporting a faired bike on a train but all my worries
    were set aside when I saw shiney blades and beemers parked there, ready to be loaded .But there was a problem. The staff in Nice had striked and I would only get the
    bike the day after. I was disappointed, but had no other choice anyway. So got back to the hotel, had some food and slept off. We were both very tired.
    We went out on a stroll in the evening but didn't do any major landmarks or anything. We had seen most last year anyway plus didn't want to land up in any other trouble,
    given what had happened the last time.


    Day 2: Nice
    We took th eearly morning TGV for Nice from Gare De Lyon in Paris. TGV as you might know is the fastest conventional passenger train in the world. It almost flies on the
    rails. France has a speed limit of 130kmph on Motorways, but on sections where the TGV line runs parallel to motorways, the train was passing traffic like it was stagnant!
    It was only fitting that we reached almost 1 hour late on the world's fastest train We both had a little chuckle on the irony when we got down.
    In its defence, the TGV was really quick from Paris to Avignon. Like really quick. It took just more than 2.5 hours to cover this distance.
    A car would have taken close to 7 hours. The straight line distances is 600km. It had to slow down after Avignon since from then on
    the lines are not dedicated TGV so have slower rating plus there were delays etc.
    ANyways, we checked into the hotel and then set out in the evening for sightseeing.
    Nice is often called the captial of the French Riviera. It's the biggest city in the south and is not far from the Italian border. It's an ideal base
    for day excursions into the mountains and other pretty French towns and cities like Cannes, Antibes, Monaco(technically a separate principality) etc.

    This is from inside the TGV
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    TGV Pantry car
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    This is the Promenade Des Anglais. This place reminded me of the Marine drive in Mumbai. Shaped as a necklace it looks beuatiful at night.
    This was also the scene of the Bastille day attacks an year ago where so many people were killed! Life moves on though.

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    View from the window in Nice!

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    Bollywood to theek hai par lollywood?

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    We have resolved to collect a fridged magnet from every place we visit. We have quite a few now, but many more to go.
    We'd need to buy a huge fridge in future!

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    I don't like two things in Europe. One is, you can't take a break just about anywhere on the road. Rules of the road are strictly observed and stopping for a photo/sutta break on a whim is not possible.
    The other thing is that there has to be a damn naked statue in almost all town squares and otherwise beautiful locales.
    There's no escaping them. So there you go...

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    TGV at Gare Nice Ville(French for Nice station )

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    Day 3: Cannes
    Thankfully the autotrain had arrived in the morning.Rode the bike back to the hotel and we then set out for Cannes which is barely 40 minutes from Nice.
    Wife wanted to see the Palais Des Festivals which comes alive during the famous annual Cannes Film Festival. The beaches are not bad either!
    Cannes, along with Monaco is what European elites call home and it shows everywhere. Harbors teeming with swanky yachts, casinos in every nook and cranny and most people on the streets looking like they are coming back from a photo shoot!
    Btw the Mediterranean weather was awesome. Bright sunshine with temperatures well in late twenties and early thirties but no humidity.

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    Aishwarya Rai gets good space inside the Palais Des Festivals.

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    Stallone!
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    Throughout this trip, the rvm served as a makeup mirror as well
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    This was a beautiful and not so crowded beach in Antibes another small seaside resort town between Cannes and Nice!

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    Attached Files
    Last edited by Doga; 08-19-2017, 07:53 AM.
    The hero always RIDES into the sunset!

    My Touring Logs-
    French Riviera
    https://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/38345-biking-french-riviera.html
    Scotland-
    http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...-3600-kms.html
    France -Normandy and Paris on the CBR
    http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...adventure.html
    KTM chronicles-
    http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...hronicles.html

  • #2
    Re: Biking in the French Riviera

    Travelogue Approved

    Another good one from you

    Happy riding!
    Biking is not about what you have between your legs, its all about how well you use it!!!!!!!

    Give your details here if you want to help your fellow xBhpian stranded in your city

    Touring Blog: Cycling in Mongolia!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Biking in the French Riviera

      Great Pics
      Apache RTR 180 (The Valentine) 2012 - 2016
      RC 200 (The GRUNTER) 2016 - 2016
      CBR 250R (F.R.I.D.A.Y) 2017 - Present

      CBR Ride to Pichavaram

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Biking in the French Riviera

        Well done. Must say the places are so clean, structured and pleasing on the eyes.

        Sent from my MI PAD using xBhp.com mobile app
        Ride To Live

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Biking in the French Riviera

          Awesome yaar.... Just the pics sends one's mind into a frenzy. Need to visit such places before i die.
          Everybody has their own version of TRUTH!!!!!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Biking in the French Riviera

            Another virtual Europe tour from home for us!
            Brilliant pictures!
            A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.

            Weekend Rides Around Kolkata
            My Ride To Sunderbans -
            Hemnagar & Samsernagar
            Saagar Kinare - Bakkhali Calling

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Biking in the French Riviera

              Originally posted by The Monk View Post
              Travelogue Approved

              Another good one from you

              Happy riding!
              Thanks for the quick approval Monk!

              Originally posted by sstherockz View Post
              Great Pics
              Thanks. The weather was amazing with clear blue skies which helped a lot

              Originally posted by akshay View Post
              Well done. Must say the places are so clean, structured and pleasing on the eyes.

              Sent from my MI PAD using xBhp.com mobile app
              Yes, unlike Paris, I found Cannes and Nice to be much cleaner, but I guess it's impossible to keep huge cities like London and Paris 100% clean even with the kind of resources these guys have here. Monaco is another matter. It probably is one of the richest places on earth per capita, so everything was shiny. Didn't see a spot on the
              crisp white uniforms the police were wearing even.

              Originally posted by ajextreme View Post
              Awesome yaar.... Just the pics sends one's mind into a frenzy. Need to visit such places before i die.
              Yes, should be on any list, especially if you come to Europe.

              Originally posted by krishna77 View Post
              Another virtual Europe tour from home for us!
              Brilliant pictures!
              Thank you mate.
              The hero always RIDES into the sunset!

              My Touring Logs-
              French Riviera
              https://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/38345-biking-french-riviera.html
              Scotland-
              http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...-3600-kms.html
              France -Normandy and Paris on the CBR
              http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...adventure.html
              KTM chronicles-
              http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...hronicles.html

              Comment


              • #9
                Re: Biking in the French Riviera

                Pics and the ride look great, Doga !

                Comment


                • #10
                  Re: Biking in the French Riviera

                  Awesome pictures man. Keep them coming.
                  KTM RC390 - Current
                  Yamaha R15 v2 - Sold
                  Hero Hunk - Sold
                  An IT Engineer by profession and a rider by soul.


                  Delhi to Sach Pass - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...h-ka-darr.html
                  Delhi to Mana - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...xperience.html
                  Delhi to Munsyari - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...ttrakhand.html
                  Spiti circuit - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...cuit-solo.html

                  Facebook

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Re: Biking in the French Riviera

                    These pics are just awesome! In fact I think we’ve been about the same time in French Riviera, I was there for about a week 12-18th June, didn’t ride a bike though, was with my wife and 6 year old boy. Wasn’t my first time in France, but first time in French Riviera. Can’t disagree that it’s a beautiful place, but really touristic, for me too many people. I think it’s much better in low season, like November or March. I liked Cannes though, we stayed there most of the time, lived in really nice apartment on the first line. View from our apartment in Cannes

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                    https://tranio.com/france/provence-a...d_azur/cannes/ - used this site and airbnb for checking accommodation prices, looks like in Fall it’s cheaper to rent a place in South of France, probably next time will go there in Fall and with my motorcycle.
                    Where I would really like to ride is along the Spanish coast. Dreams..

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Re: Biking in the French Riviera

                      Originally posted by sajalsheth View Post
                      [ATTACH]233161[/ATTACH]

                      Eye Candy pictures

                      @Doga ji
                      Originally posted by amods View Post
                      Pics and the ride look great, Doga !
                      Originally posted by itsmevini123 View Post
                      Awesome pictures man. Keep them coming.
                      Originally posted by limpopo View Post
                      These pics are just awesome! In fact I think we’ve been about the same time in French Riviera, I was there for about a week 12-18th June, didn’t ride a bike though, was with my wife and 6 year old boy. Wasn’t my first time in France, but first time in French Riviera. Can’t disagree that it’s a beautiful place, but really touristic, for me too many people. I think it’s much better in low season, like November or March. I liked Cannes though, we stayed there most of the time, lived in really nice apartment on the first line. View from our apartment in Cannes

                      https://tranio.com/france/provence-a...d_azur/cannes/ - used this site and airbnb for checking accommodation prices, looks like in Fall it’s cheaper to rent a place in South of France, probably next time will go there in Fall and with my motorcycle.
                      Where I would really like to ride is along the Spanish coast. Dreams..
                      Thanks guys. Few more photos to come
                      @limpopo Yes agreed, the riviera, especially in summer, is too touristy and can get very crowded. TBH, but for the wife, I'd have skipped these cities/towns altogether(ok, may be not Monaco). As it turns out the mountains are barely 45-50 mins from Nice and that's the beauty of this place. Awesome mountain roads and purple lavender fields are just an hour away! We spent 3 nights in a village north of Nice in pre alps and it was lovely. If you do the south of France I'd recommend you base yourself in Avignon. All the picture postcard French villages are nearby and it's Provence at it's best.
                      Last edited by Doga; 08-18-2017, 06:46 AM.
                      The hero always RIDES into the sunset!

                      My Touring Logs-
                      French Riviera
                      https://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/38345-biking-french-riviera.html
                      Scotland-
                      http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...-3600-kms.html
                      France -Normandy and Paris on the CBR
                      http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...adventure.html
                      KTM chronicles-
                      http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...hronicles.html

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Re: Biking in the French Riviera

                        Day 4: Monaco

                        Monaco can be reached after a very scenic one hour ride. The road takes you through Eze which is very beautiful village and quite popular with tourists.
                        Technically Monaco is a sovereign country but it's the size of a small town really. What's not small however is the number of wealthy living here. It really is opulence everywhere in Monaco. The harbour is a sight to behold with a number of gleaming white superyachts moored . The kind of cars parked in front of the casino in town square made me speculate that one of the admission criteria for patrons into the casino is arrival in a Ferrari or Lamborghini or Rolls Royce
                        Immaculately dressed people-even the Police wore spotless crisp white uniforms-fantastic architecture and fashion boutiques in every nook and cranny like we have 'pan tapris' in Mumbai it really was nothing like I have seen. One disappointment though was the musee oceanographique(aquarium) which was not as grand as I expected. May be because the London sea life aquarium I visited sometime ago was more or less the same, but didn't feel the Euro 16 ticket worth it.
                        But other than that it was a fantastic day trip.

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                        We ran into this Hog in Monaco
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                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by Doga; 08-19-2017, 09:38 AM.
                        The hero always RIDES into the sunset!

                        My Touring Logs-
                        French Riviera
                        https://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/38345-biking-french-riviera.html
                        Scotland-
                        http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...-3600-kms.html
                        France -Normandy and Paris on the CBR
                        http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...adventure.html
                        KTM chronicles-
                        http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...hronicles.html

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Re: Biking in the French Riviera

                          Day 5, 6, 7 and 8 - Alpes-Maritimes and return

                          After Monaco, the next day we headed for the village of Caille in the Alpes-Maritimes department. The last 4 days were really to keep the wife happy. These 4 days were for me and really when most of the biking was done. I always prefer these quite retreats, away from the mundane where you can just relax and of course ride! She prefers bling over peace -which girl doesn't really?
                          The good thing about the south of France is the variety. I visited the north last year and apart from Paris, it was all the same. Arrow straight road and rolling plains. There was no dramatic scenery and to be honest biking was a bit boring there, even though some of the places were great.
                          Not so here in the South with dramatic coastline scenery and just an hour's ride from the sunny coast of Nice will take you to the foothill of Mountains(Alps). Gorgeous French countryside wherever you look and awesome twisty roads with super smooth tramac. The region of Provence is considered the most beautiful in France with numerous towns and villages straight out of picture postcards.
                          The ride to Caille from Nice is via the legendary D6, often considered one of the must do roads for bikers in Europe.It was listed by Visordown in their top 10 overseas road feature. Needless to say it is an awesome ride. Fairly twisty with breathtaking scenery turn after turn. It was truly an exhilarating ride. I had booked this mountain chalet right in the middle of woods. This chalet was not in the village itself but was a 20 minute ride away and even that ride had least 5-6 chicanes and of course great scenery as usual.
                          After reaching the chalet wifey was taken aback a bit. The place indeed was very secluded, to the point she was getting a bit scared. The wooden chalet indeed won't look out of place in horror movie. There was holy water kept in one of the cupboards which as per her reasoning was to keep the spirits around at bay lol.
                          We were tired so after few cans of beer called it a day and hit the sac. One thing which struck us after taking the lights away was how dark it was after that. No street lights and the surrounding trees blocking the moonlight away mean it was pitch dark which is only possible in the country and something which was pretty novel for us. Of course we had the soundest sleep of our lives.

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                          The next day we went out to see the Gorge Du Verdon which is also sometimes called the French Grand Canyon. It's again a very beautiful ride away with proper twisty mountain roads keeping the CBR busy. We spent some time there and then headed towards the town of Valensole. Provence this time of the year looks especially beautiful as Lavender is in full bloom just before it's harvested. Riding alongside the purple rolling landscape is some experience not least because of the fragrant all pervading smell of the Lavender . We made a pit stop in one of the numerous lavender fields dotting the side of the road. It really is an assault on all three of your senses.
                          The purple looks very pretty and of course the smell of lavender is nice as well. But what you can't hear while riding is the constant humming of the million bees swarming over the lavender field. The low frequency thrumming gives the entire scene an unreal feel.I also got stung on my upper lip as a souvenir so that was great haha.
                          After enjoying ourselves there, we headed back. We stopped at a small farm store and bought freshly produced lavender oil.
                          The next day wife was tired and didn't feel like going out, so I headed solo towards the village of Entrevaux just for the heck of it-because the road looked very interesting and indeed it was. I had a gala time carving those corners with no pillion weight hindering the pace and movement. This was easily the best riding day of the entire tour and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Had to head back before evening of course to deter any opportunistic ghost/poltergeist
                          The last day in Caille was a rest day and we only went out to a village called Castellane in the evening for a meal. The ride back home was interesting though as it got pretty dark and riding with a pillion on mountain roads with only the headlamps illuminating the road was a bit of a scary experience.

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                          See the swollen upper lip caused by the bee sting
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                          This was a small church carved in the mountain on the way to Entrevaux
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                          Next day we packed our bags and headed back to Nice where we checked into the hotel. I then rode to Nice ville station to hand over the bike to the Autotrain staff for it to be transported to Paris. We then took the TGV back to Paris the next day and collected the bike at the Autotrain terminal in Paris and then headed straight back to Dieppe to catch the Ferry home. The Autotrain staff were pretty professional and did a great job of securing the bike for the overnight journey. I'd easily recommend this service to anyone. Saves you fuel costs and fatigue so you only concentrate on the the rides you want to do and takes the effort of reaching those places away.

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                          Last edited by Doga; 09-09-2017, 07:35 PM.
                          The hero always RIDES into the sunset!

                          My Touring Logs-
                          French Riviera
                          https://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/38345-biking-french-riviera.html
                          Scotland-
                          http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...-3600-kms.html
                          France -Normandy and Paris on the CBR
                          http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/3...adventure.html
                          KTM chronicles-
                          http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/2...hronicles.html

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