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Published: October 4th 2019
Thursday 3rd October 53 miles
Breakfast was excellent. The best we had had for ages with real fresh fruit salad , good quality granola, yoghurt and as much milky coffee as you could drink. (And 'yoghurts to go'). Heaven. We were a little earlier for breakfast as we knew it would be a longer day.
Before leaving town we headed to the Boulangerie as we only needed bread for today's picnic, already having tuna, crisps and nuts in stock. The Boulangerie was closed! The guidebook had boasted about it staying open until the evening so perhaps the pay back was that it opened later in the morning. Fortunately, there was a tiny Casino supermarket. The best I could do for bread was a small sliced loaf, more than we wanted really but at one euro it wasn't going to break the bank.
As per usual the first ten miles or so were upwards to climb out of the valley and onto the Plateau de Calern. It was really quite chilly and we had both long sleeves and jackets on. My bare feet were quite cool but luckily as soon as we got higher up and into the sun it warmed up. Again we were climbing up through pine forests and rugged countryside. Yoghurt and nuts was after thirteen miles when we thought the climbing was finished and we had warmed up. In fact it was really quite hot by then. (The only bench we could find was another wooden bus stop).
Once on the plateau the underlations were very slight and we carried straight on for about ten miles and then descended through a gorge, the Clue de Gréoliers, and round some very tight switch backs to the perched village of Gréoliers. Here the road hugged the cliff side with dramatic drops to the side. Peugeot have used these roads in many of their adverts. Lunch was sat on a bench in Gréoliers but we didn't linger long as the bench was in the full sun and it was very hot. Looking up we could see the road we just come down and was glad we had already done it before we saw it from below.
From here it was literally downhill all the way to Nice, except for one short incline which caught us by surprise and seemed like a mountain. For most of the way the descent was quite gentle and we could coast down or just pedal gently. There were a few bits that were steeper with tighter corners, especially when going through the Gorge du Loup. At one stage five men whizzed last us and shouted "Hello Clitheroe ". One of them was wearing a top that had Chester printed on the back. The nearer we got to Nice the roads became busier and there was more traffic than we had seen the whole journey.
At Cagnes-sur-Mer the Mediterranean Sea suddenly came into view with its fantastic turquoise coloured water. We took a photo to celebrate arriving at the Mediterranean and congratulated ourselves on having made it. Then it was along a bike path, right on the seafront for about four miles until the airport and the hotel. Part of this was on the Promenade des Anglais which goes all the way to Nice. Officially the route ended at the end of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice but we weren't going another four miles and then back again.
Nice was a popular holiday destination for the English in the 1880s for those wanting the sun of the French Riviera. An English clergyman saw that there were a lot of beggars around and he conceived the idea of the Promenade to employ the beggars. Initially a two metre wide path it has undergone many developments and is now around the whole of the Baie des Anges. Its striking Art Deco facades, distinctive white lamp posts and ornate pergolas make it one of the finest promenades in Europe.
We were staying in the Ibis right across from the airport to make it easier for flying back and we found it reasonably easy. We were very glad to arrive and that a lot of the days riding had been downhill. We had been following a group on face book about cycling in France which has lots of really useful information on. Paul contacted a couple who had done the same route who lived near Kendal and we met them for lunch in June and they gave us some tips on where to stay etc. They had stayed at the Ibis , borrowed an airport trolley, packed the bikes up in the hotel and wheeled them across to the airport ready to go on the plane. We checked this out by walking across to the airport, which took about ten minutes. There was a lot of building work going on and it didn't look like wheeling a trolley that way would be easy. We had time to think about it. We had a coffee in the airport, probably my first during the day time since leaving home. I like my coffee very weak and milky. Cafe au lait usually doesn't have enough milk for me. In the airport we could buy a real latte. Bliss.
Later we walked next door to the Campomile hotel's restaurant for a meal. The only restaurants very close were either hotel ones or in the airport. The food was good. Afterwards we struggled to get the card key to swipe in the lift but we were not alone. It seemed to be a common problem and one of the hotel staff had to come and work the lift. There was obviously a technique to it.
Tot: 0.068s; Tpl: 0.04s; cc: 7; qc: 22; dbt: 0.0117s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb