Moyenne Corniche(sh)

There are three direct routes that connect Nice with Monaco. In order of increasing elevation these are the Basse Corniche, Moyenne Corniche and Grand Corniche. All three are interesting bike routes. But the lowest Corniche (Basse) usually has traffic that is so heavy, that the ride becomes a stop and go affair, not only for the purpose of taking pictures. The Moyenne Corniche traverses at half height between the limestone cliffs, speckled with white villas and ragged castle ruins on one side, and the boating extravaganza, floating on blue sea on the other.

The profile does not traverse the entire Moyenne Corniche, but it does go over its highest point. The profile stays lower in the beginning, then traverses up to its highest point, and descends into Monaco, while the Moyenne Corniche stays higher.

1.(km0,10m)point on coast in Villfranche sur Mer
2.(km1,70m) route turns up Avenue de General Gaillen
3.(km2,90m) route splits from Basse Corniche and goes up Ave Leopold
4.(km3,190m) route turns right onto Moyenne Corniche
5.(km8,360m) turnoff on right goes to Eze
6.(km8,371m) TOP: just before turnoff to Route de la Turbie
7.(km11,270m) descent from Grand Corniche into Monaco joins from left
8.(km19,10m) point in Monaco harbor


From West.
A bike path goes around the Nice sailboat harbor with three sides of a neatly drawn rectangle. It's possible to pick up the Moyenne Corniche just west of there.  However, just following road sings for Monaco, leads to staying closer to the coast on the Basse Corniche. The first Moyenne Corniche sign along the coast shows up after the road has rounded the base of Mount Boron. The cyclist together with other traffic is directed up Ave Leopold II. But most of the heavy traffic stays behind, and so the first few steep switchbacks, climb into cleaner smelling air, aiming for eye level with the lower villas.

The climb through super residencia quickly reaches a wider road, the Moyenne Corniche. The route traverses upwards. Below the cruise ship, that seems to be an anchored hotel, make an interesting contrast to what nature has made on the coast. The road leads trough a short tunnel to emerge on a picturesque arched bridge into the town of Eze. The streets of this old medieval castle are full of tourists, art galleries and restaurants. As is often the case in places like this, the best view is reserved for the final resting place, the cemetary. Fortunately, the living are allowed to see it too. On the other side from the town of Eze, a climb leads to Col d'Eze , almost the highest part of the Grand Corniche. The highest part of the Moyenne Corniche is a short distance east of these two turnoffs

upper left: the portal under the bridge is actually the railroad station in Monte Carlo
upper right: exit a short tunnel, cross this dazzling bridge and enter into the old village of Eze
lower left and right: climbing to the Moyenne Corniche from Nice

From East. (described downwards). . The road named "Grand Corniche" stays up on the cliffs all the way to Menton, The Moyenne Corniche till east of Monaco. But following the flow of traffic, rolling downhill the road quickly becomes four lanes and merges with all the A8 access traffic. All this combined traffic funnels together, and comes to a screeching halt when the route enters the traffic chaos of Monaco. But maybe it's not always as screeching and halting, as when I experienced it, during a pre race day of the Grand Prix, ie a race with vintage Formula 1 cars.

From this vantage point, the kingdom resembles a vertical cliff completely cloaked with luxury high rise buildings, that have grown together into a single structure like a bees hive. Far below the screeching of racing motors, at this altitude the quiet imperceptible purring of thousands of idling Mercedeses, Ferraris, Maserattis and whatever other names man attaches to expensive automobiles. The steepest housing cliff, neatly flanked by pedestrian circular staircase is actually the portal to the underground railroad station. It looks as adventurous from the inside as from the outside. It's visible in the center of the top left photo.



Moyenne Corniche(sh):
Ave Ste Margue 237, <> somwhere between 5 and 10 miles worth of loops looking for a suitable grocery store near the starting point > Nice > Nice Port > Basse Corniche east > up Ave Leopold II, Moyenne Corniche west  <> out and back to town Eze > Moyenne Corniche west > Monacco > Basse Corniche east > Beaulieau Sur Mere > Nice Port <> loops around Leu Casteu Cemetery, park and ruins on hill east of port > back to staring point: m4: 54.9m with 2791ft of climbing in 5:22hrs (VDO MC1.0 m4:14.5.9).
Notes: first exploratory ride around Nice on this tour. Lots of stop and go traffic, another high point of this day was the Leu Casteu cemetery and late light views onto Nice

The first day with different start and end points on this tour is on page: Col de Palmarella/ Col de la Croix