Tour Reports
Route description – Starting and ending in Théoule (west end of Cannes) this route takes the Corniche D’Or (gold road), Frejus, St. Raphael, St. Maxime, Port Grimaud, St-Tropez, the forest’s of Massif des Maures and a couple of great villages.
Distance – 254km

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Firstly I’m going to state for those who haven’t read my last post “Route Des Grande Alps – Stage 8 – St Martin du Vesubie to Menton” that I’m not a fan of the coast of Cote d’Azure as it’s a complete pain in the arse at the best of times and complete hell in summer. However, if you like heavy traffic, speed cameras, baking heat and the joy’s of summer tourism then this is the place for you :)

Roman aqueduct of Fréjus

Touring here in spring and autumn is far more enjoyable and even winter is highly recommended. Also, to be fair, if you’ve convinced your wife or girlfriend to hang on to a tiny pillion seat all the way down here and not show her the jet-set/fashion magazine towns of St-Tropez and the like then you risk the distinct possibility of having your Jolly Roger becoming unemployed (except for DIY jobs) while she developes a permanent headache!

The N7

Luckily after living here for 2 years and as a devout biker I know of a route for just this most serious of situations that will keep your ladies womanly assets available to you as well as give you a good ride “on the bike that is”. This route works as a figure of 8 mixing great open twisty roads through mountainous forest and perched villages as well as the coast road along the chick chique hot spots of rich Russian oligarchs, arms dealers, mafia bosses, Arab oil bosses and of course a recent injection of ousted Irish politicians and bankers avoiding the risk of a good arse kicking back at home from the like’s of myself.

Route des Escalles

Anyway, to the route, I’m not going to blag on too much about the coast part except for Corniche D’Or, this is a beautiful cliff/coast road and worth a look, if it wasn’t spoilt by arse pot poser towns like St Maxime it would be a great ride, your female pillion will love it, but at 9 Euro for an espresso your pocket wont! Oh, and by-the-way, if you’re not riding the latest super-computer loaded BMW sports tourer, a heavily chrome clad Harley or an uber cool Italian Ducati rocket then you wont really feel like you can ever possibly fit in, rather just a blow in to be tolerated and relieved of your hard-earned money! My advice is aim to have lunch in the mountains and steer your lass well clear of the shops as the bastards are well clued in to biker chicks, the buggers will all offer to post her purchase of 400 Euro designer jeans back home, so if you think the excuse, “sorry, no room in the panniers love” will work, think again mate…

Sunset on Saint Tropez Gulf

30km inland and the pressure is off. The Massif des Maures is a succession of forested ridges and hills stretching from Hyères to Frèjus. Though reaching only about 800m (2,600 ft) at its highest point, the Massif des Maures is definitely a very mountainous setting with sudden drops, steep valleys and winding roads. It is densely forested and is ravaged from time to time by devastating forest fires during summer and autumn, if you see smoke – beware, and carelessly flicking a cigarette butt into the side of the road can land you a 400 Euro on the spot fine for good reason, it’s beautiful, but its a tinderbox.

A couple of good spots to stop and visit on the inland part of the trip are:

La Garde Freinet

One of the Var’s best preserved medieval villages (pop. 1.700) about 20km north of Saint Tropez has attracted many refugees such as writers and artists looking to escape the tourist hordes on the coast. Its architecture is as well-preserved as many of the villages in the Haut Var and Vaucluse.

The quiet oasis of La Garde-Freinet

The old part of the village clusters around the 16th century Saint Clément church with its 18th century bell tower. Here most of the houses are built with flat field stones without the use of mortar – some of them have weathered the times for more than 700 years. The ruins of Fort Freinet tower above the village. This was where the original medieval village was situated – it was safer up there. As the security situation improved villagers moved down the hill to what is today the oldest part of La Garde Freinet. By the late 15th century Fort Freinet was completely in ruins. If you walk up there you realize who impregnable it was, only one path leads to the top of the hill and the entry on the cliffs could easily be defended.


This perched village (pop. 3.850) on the western edge of the Massif des Maures overlooks the blue Golf of Saint Tropez and brings you back to medieval times. It is dominated by the 11th century chateau at the top.


Cobble stoned streets and alleys, most of them pedestrian only, vaulted passages, carefully restored 16th – 19th century houses, flower pots on window sills, a few shops, café and restaurants – the place is utterly idyllic, perfect to distract your lass from the coastal hell and gain some extra points! Leave the leathers in the hotel as the walk to the castle is a sweaty arm pit of a climb but worth it. The massive ramparts are used as the backdrop for the outdoor theater’s stage with performances during July and August. The terraces of the castle ruins serve as seats.

Grimaud, Moulin St. Roch

Also worth a look is the 17th century Saint Roch windmill just north of Grimaud:

Chartreuse de la Verne

The Chartreuse de la Verne

Chartreuse de la Verne

A large, ancient monastery hidden in the thick forests of the Maures mountains west of Saint Tropez just off the D14, the road up here is unpaved but easily passable for bikes if its dry. Click here for Chartreuse Information


At the heart of the Massif is this ancient village is reputed to have been the first place in France to learn from the Spanish that a certain tree plugged into bottles allows a wine industry to grow. From the Middle Ages until very recent times, cork production has been the major business of the village and Collobrières is still the best place in the region to buy items roughly fashioned from raw cork.

Collobrières, crash here for the night, it's cheaper & your bike will be safe!

However, the sweet chestnut tree is the mainstay of the local economy nowadays. The church, the mairie and the houses don’t seem to have been modernized for a century, but the Confiserie Azurienne on boulevard Koenig (9am–noon & 2–6pm) exudes efficiency and modern business skill in the manufacture of all things chestnut: ice cream, jam, nougat, purée and marrons glacés.

Route Instructions

Biker friendly campsites along this route of the route;

Camping 06 – Alpes-Maritimes

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Note: You will be asked to log in or register with to gain access to downloadable .KML (Google Earth), .GDB (Garmin), .GPX (Generic) files.

Static Map (Click to view)

Golden Cliff Road & the Maures Forest Route

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