We cycle the Col de Vence

After completing the ride between Nice and Monaco the day before we decided to head into the hills and tackle the Col de Vence. Given we were heading to the Pyrenees in a few days time we thought it would be a good idea to get the legs ready for the tougher days ahead. Another hot day beckoned, and we were still felling the heat as we had transitioned from winter in Australia and in hindsight it would have been better to leave earlier than we did.

The first section of the ride was nice and flat and followed the beautiful coastline that the Côte d’Azur is so famous for. This first section served as a good warm for the climbing ahead. Once we hit the town of Cagnes sur Mer we left the coast behind and headed inland. From here the roads starts heading upwards in a steady but not too steep gradient. We were on a main road until the town of Vence at the base of the climb. While there was some traffic on it, it was never an issue.

The climb proper started at the town of Vence, where had a brieft stop to grab some water and have a bite to eat before the climb ahead. From here the gradients started increasing as did the heat and intensity of the sun as there was no shade to speak apart from the odd tree. After reaching the summit and taking in the views we enjoyed the nice long downhill all the way back to the coast.

Rather than simply retracing our route back, we headed left from the town of Vence and took an alternative route back to Cagnes sur Mer. We enjoyed a well earned cold drink and some pastries before cycling back into Nice along the coastal cycling path.

Quick Stats

Distance: 74km / 46mi
Start elevation: 5m / 15ft
Max elevation: 964m / 3,162ft
Metres climbed: 1,152m / 3,780ft
Metres descended: 1,152m / 3,780ft
Categorised climbs: 1

Food and water

You can resupply with food and water along this route. Firstly at the start of the climb at Cagnes-sur-Mer and then also at he village of Vence which is halfway up the climb itself. Whilst this route is not very long distance wise, it can get extremely hot on the climb as the roads are very open and exposed to the sun. Definitely take two bottles of water with you.


*Riding along the stunning coastline all from Nice to Cagnes-sur-Mer.
the sea from the summit allow you to really appreciate just how much you have climbed.

*The Commanding views back towards the sea from the summit allow you to really appreciate just how much you have climbed.

Col du Vence – Climb Stats

Length: 19.3km / 12mi
Average gradient: 5%
Start point: Cagnes-sur-Mer
Elevation at top: 963m /3160ft

Looking down towards the city of Nice and beach

As you set off from Nice you can see Col de Vence looming in the distance.

Discover our comprehensive guide to Cycling in Nice

The climb of the Col de Vence is just one of many great cycling routes near the city of Nice which you can enjoy. This area of the Alpes Maritimes is very popular with cyclists year round owing to the great weather and variety of terrain on offer.

If you are not familiar with this region then, our comprehensive guide will help you plan everything you need for your cycling holiday. The guide includes information such as:

  • a map of the Alpes Maritimes with climbs and towns marked
  • where to base yourself whist on your cycling holiday
  • cycling hotels and lodges
  • bike hire outlets
  • getting to and from Nice
  • non-cycling attractions and activities in the region

Click here to see a list of cycling routes available from Nice. Our cycling route suggestions start in Nice as we know from experience the majority of people visiting the area will stay in, or close to the city.