There is a temptation to think that this is a
one-of-a-kind pass. After all, where else in the world can you
find a moderate climb over a named pass through the glitzy
urban environment of the Cote d'Azur. The answer is: on the
Cote d'Azur. Actually several points on the Grande Corniche
and Moyenne Corniche are named passes. The Col d'Eze is just
the best knows of these, and also the highest point on the
Grande Corniche between Nice and Monaco. The pass can also
serve as shoulder point to countless higher climbs.
START-END EAST ALT: port in Nice
2.(01.4km,19m) START-END EAST: route turns right up
3.(06.9km,327m) Col de Quatre Chemins
4.(11.5km,507m) TOP: Col d'Eze
5.(21.0km,12m) START-END WEST: coast near Cap d'Ail
From East. Given the maze of roads in
this area, there are practically close to infinitely many ways
to approach this point from the Nice area. But the most straight
forward way is to follow signs for Menton and Monaco in Nice,
that lead to the Grande Corniche. A fairly wide road leads to
the Col de Quatre Chemins.
The steepest uphill option from there continues to the Col d'Eze.
From the Col
de Quatre Chemins there also an unpaved path, that forks off
the Chemin strategique (approach to the col de Quatre Chemin).
This path is bordered by a low wall, giving it the feel of a
long balcony. It goes around the other side of the "Plateau
de Justice" than the paved road does. While the paved route
looks out over the sea, the unpaved path has panoramic views of
the mountains, as well as the housing projects of of La
Condamine below. Even on a Saturday morning in May I was the
only person using this path. The Cote d'Azur does not have to be
crowded, just the immediate coast.
The paved road on the other hand soon climbs out
of the the forest and gives a constant view of the sea and the
bay Eze-bord-de-Mer with its yachts and castle like estates. The
pass is between two rounded hills, Papates to the north and Mont
Bastide on the sea side. Immediately before reaching the pass, a
short foot trail branches to the south, to the top of Mount
Bastide. It provides views similar to those, that can be had
from the road, except for one major difference during late
April/ early May: The vistas of the shore are foregrounded by a
riot of colorful wild flowers. A few pictures from the footpath
are included in the picture page. Col d'Eze is located at the
junction D46-D2564. D2546 climbs above the pass. It is still
possible to follow D2546 through La Turbie and descend from
there. That options reaches a point that is just a few feet
higher. Alternatively one can climb to higher passes including
Col de Guerre, Col de la Madone
and many others.
From West. (described downwards). To make
the Col d'Eze the highest point on the profile, you have to stay
right and change to D46. In spite of the 500 meters of
elevation, you are only 1.7km from the sea as the crow flies. So
far I have not cycled this approach. The temptation to keep on
climbing from here has always been to great. But I have heard
glowing descriptions of the views of Monaco from this approach.
The profiled approach descends into Cap d'Ail, still west of
Dayride with this point as highest summit:
PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED
Col d'Eze: 177 bd
observotoire, Nice > col de Quatre Chemins(shp) >
unpaved route to col d'Eze > col de Quatre Chemins(shp)
> down chemin de Vingrainette(?) > Nice > roll around
Nice > sp: 18.8miles with 1870ft of climbing in 2:21 hours
(VDO MC1.0 m188.8.131.52).
Notes: After the small
excursion to the col d'Eze the day was devoted of finding
supplies in Nice and lugging them back to 177 bd observoitoire.
The first pass with different start and end
points on this Extended Tour
back to Cycling
Passes in Europe