Downhill to Nice | CycleVentures

Downhill to Nice

A classic Cycleventures trip

We first ran this trip in 1984 and it was nearly a month long. Today’s version is considerably shorter but equally impressive as you ride from Lake Geneva into the French Alps within sight of incredible Mont Blanc and the breathtaking panoramas of the Savoie region, over the Alpes de Haute Provence and Alpes Maritimes with a final descent to Nice and the palm strewn Cote d’Azur. From historic high alpine passes made famous by the Tour de France to deserted backroads of Provence, this epic alpine route to the Mediterranean is incredible and challenging as you conquer 16 cols.


Day 1: Welcome to Geneva

CycleVentures’ guides will meet you at the Geneva airport and transfer you to our hotel. 

Day 2: Cycle to Megeve — 80 km

Today's spectacular route takes us from the shore of Lake Geneva into France’s Haute Savoie region into the verdant foothills of the French Alps. Three cols are on our agenda today including the formidable Colombiere. Our destination is the ski resort of Megeve. Key climbs: Col de la Colombiere (1613m), Col de Cou (1117m), Col des Aravis (1486m).

Day 3: Cycle to Val D’Isere — 107 km

Keep an eye out over your left shoulder as today’s route skirts Europe’s highest peak, the impressive Mont Blanc. Another great day in the saddle, our destination is the world-renowned ski village of Val d'Isère. Key climbs: Col des Saisie (1650m), Cormet de Roselend (1967m).

Day 4: Cycle to La Grave — 142 km

A day that could be featured in a Grand Tour, today will be a great challenge as your route crests three major passes including the monster 2646 m Col du Galibier, often the highest point of the Tour de France. Key climbs: Col de Iseran (2764m), Col de Telegraph (1586m), Col du Galibier (2646m).

Day 5: Cycle Alpe d’Huez or Explore La Grave — 76 km

Wake up nestled in one of France’s most amazing mountain towns, La Grave. Today is a shorter day that features one of the most iconic climbs in France, Alpe d’Huez. You’ll also crest the petit Col de Sarenne on this beautiful ride. Key climbs: Alpe d’Huez (1250m), Col de Sarenne (1999m).

Day 6: Cycle to Jausiers — 118 km

Soon after you depart the hotel you’ll summit the Col du Lauraret and start a long downhill to historic Briancon. The air will become more fragrant and the landscape drier as you enter the Alpes de Haute Provence. Key climbs: Col du Lautaret (2058m), Col d’Izoard (2360m), Col de Vars (2109m).

Day 7: Cycle to Castellane — 98 km

Today’s ride is defined by deserted roads in a rugged and semi-arid landscape with the Col d’Allos to keep you on your toes. Bed down in little Castellane in the heart of Provence. Key climbs: Col d’Allos (2247m)

Day 8: Cycle to Nice — 90 km

Our final ride is downhill to Nice - after some gentle climbs its nearly 60 km of descending. Soon you’ll smell the salty air of the Mediterranean and start seeing palm trees. Key climbs: Col de Bleine (1439m), Col de Vence (963m).

Day 9: Au revoir!

Your guides will drop you off at the Nice airport for your flight home.


Dates: Private trips only
Duration: 9 days, 8 nights
Joining In: Geneva, Switzerland (departing Nice, France)
Skill Level: Spécialiste
Total Distance: 711 km
Land Cost: $3995 CAD

Ride Map

See the approximate route of the trip on Google maps. Register today!

Skill Levels

Here are descriptions of the skill & fitness levels required for our cycling trips.  Remember, the support van is never far away if you need a lift and on all of our trips you can always ride more if you wish. We’re here for you.


Flat and rolling terrain and shorter riding days of approximately 50–70 km. Elevation gains of up to approximately 700 meters daily. Suitable for beginner and intermediate cyclists. Stronger riders looking for more kilometers can extend most days.


Rolling terrain with some bigger climbs and averaging approximately 70-100 km daily. Elevation gains of approximately 700 meters and above daily. Suitable for fit beginners, strong intermediate riders and above. A triple crank or compact crank is recommended. Stronger riders looking for more kilometers can extend most days.


Long riding days over 100 km daily and long climbs with steep sections can be expected. Caters to strong cyclists or riders in good physical condition seeking a mental and physical challenge. Elevation gains of approximately 1000 meters and above daily.