Cycling in France: Day-trip from Nice to Gattières and back

We are WAY behind on our blog posts! So much to do back home, following our trip.

So, okay, we did the 110 km ride a week before Dave’s Ironman race, previewing much of his 180 km bike course up into the “pre-Alps.”

Well, on that ride, about 30 k out of Nice we passed by this very intriguing village built out onto a rock promontory. Our route that day took us past it – the village of Gattières – but not into it. So we thought: let’s come back here. It would be perfect, a shorter ride closer to Dave’s race day (when he’s resting his legs and avoiding longer rides) – but allowing him to see that part of the course again, and also to poke around in a village that he would only be zooming through on his race day.

Gattières is an old village, built in a circular form on this hilltop. That’s what made it so intriguing to us! So, on this trip, instead of by-passing it, we turned in – and they had this lovely map, painted on tile, to guide us around.

The “streets” – typical French village style – are not necessarily driveable for cars. Some have stairs, and some even went underneath the homes there. Almost like tunnels.

The east end of the village – the steepest part of the promontory – had great views of the valley that we had ridden up to get here.

The village itself was so peaceful. Coming from where we do, it’s amazing to think that people actually live here, lead their whole lives here. It doesn’t seem real.

Dave took advantage of the fountain in the village centre to cool down and to have a drink.

Too bad we somehow didn’t take pictures of our lunch (we were much more on it in the food department with the Loire Valley blog post pix, still coming). We ate at a little outdoor restaurant, shaded under a canopy of greenery, and had these yummy stuffed things  – zucchini and tomatoes and peppers all stuffed with a tasty meat filling. Oh yeah, and a bit of wine and beer (when you’re in France…you know…) Then we headed back towards Nice.

The low route that we had come up along had a lot of traffic. I was lead navigator, so I took us home along a different route. My navigation technique was a combination of using a crappy road map (combined with a weather-beaten rental car map of the whole country that Dave found on the roadside as we descended), along with using visual cues of the river and ocean as we went along, along with seat-of-the-bikeshorts dead reckoning. It worked great, and we got to view totally different scenery on our way back to Nice! So our whole day was something like 60 or 70 km, a very pleasant and easy touristy day. We are SO glad that we rented the bikes while in Nice – we were able to get to so many places that most tourists would never see! The bikes weren’t cheap – but, by having them, we didn’t spend any other money beyond food and alcohol.

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