Tour Reports
Route description and places to stay along Stage 8 of this great Alpine tour:
Stage 8 – St Martin du Vesubie to Menton
Distance – (Stage 7a – 148km) (Stage 7b – 157km)
Cols – Col St.Roch, Col de Braus, Col de Turini featured in the first episode of Top Gear series 10 when the lads went in search of the greatest driving road in the world (el. 1607 m)

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Detailed information about Menton »

There are 2 routes from St Martin du Vesubie to Menton, the official and shorter direct route which is a great road marked green on map, both take in Col de Turini but just south of Col Turini at Sospel there is another popular but longer route marked purple on map taking in Col de Braus which then drops down to the coast road above Monaco and along Menton Promenade. If you have the time I’d take in the purple route, download as “RoutedeGrandeAlp-Stage8.gpx”, download .GPX, Garmin .GDB and .KML files from BOX on right of page. However there is far more traffic closer to the coast, especially during tourist season and rush hour from 5pm to 7pm.

The D265 south of St Martin, La Tinee

Heading south from St Martin the D265 clings to the red rock of the La Tinee valley and views of the Tinee river which starts at Col de Bonette are magic, the colours along here early morning and evening are really something, and the road is a near perfect surface seemingly built for motorbikes in mind.

Village of Bollène-Vésubie

Just past the ridiculously picturesque village of Belvedere hang a left onto the D70, direction La Bollene-Vesubie, which will lead you into Col de Turini which is the last great Col of Route Des Grandes Alpes. Expect to see plenty of local bikers on this twisty 35km stretch to Sospel.

Rev-Tastic, break melting fun of Col de Turini

This road through Col Turini really is a work of art, plenty of sports cars belting around here also, the Top Gear crew came here for a good reason and you’re going to love this road. Jeremy Clarkson reckons this is one of the best roads in Europe and it probably is, however considering the other roads along the Great Alpine Route I’d say Top Gear needs to do a bit more research and add a few more roads to the list.


Sospel is a popular town and coffee stop for French and Italian rev-heads, it has a couple of bike friendly hotels but lacks a decent restaurant and all important bar. If you prefer staying overnight in this neck of the woods rather than the touristy, over crowded madness of Menton then I’d recommend the Hotel des Trois Vallees on Col Turini.

Hotel des Trois Vallees on Col Turini

From Sospel you can head straight to Menton via the D2566a or the longer route via the D2204 and down the ballistic, hairpin turning fun of Col de Braus to the coast road overlooking Monte-Carlo and into Menton, definitely the best route but like I said there can be lots of tourist traffic. If you’re getting road weary at this point and your brain, arse and wrists are screaming for a break then take the easier, direct route to Menton and chill out for a day or two on the beachfront bars. The most important thing to remember here is that your on a bike touring holiday, not trying to prove something by doing some kind of masochistic endurance test. Also remember that you have spent the last few days on quiet mountain roads and your about to hit the massively built up, insanely fast, busy and crowded coast! Within 20km the contrast in riding style you need to employ is total!!!! You need to be mentally prepared to face this on a bike, the best part of any motorbike tour is getting home safely, don’t ever stop thinking that.

Col de Braus

Traffic along the coast is stressful and you really need to have your shit together to navigate through it, best avoided if you’re very tired, it’s just not worth it. The locals drive aggressively to say the least, and then you have the lost tourists driving erratically. Also watch out for Russian millionaires and North African, testosterone fuelled boy racer’s who will quite happily leave you for dead at the side of the road. There are also plenty of speed traps and cameras all along the coast and especially the motorway from Menton to Cannes as well as ticket happy cops. The A8 coastal motorway between Cannes and the Italian border is fast, frightening, unintuitive, confusing, expensive and bloody dangerous at the best of times, if you find yourself on it during rush hour then say your prayers.


Pick-pockets are rampant during the summer, they use the coast train from Italy or Spain to work their way along the coast and they will take even an empty tank bag left unguarded, they’ll take anything and everything so leave nothing unguarded. I say this to stress the fact that you need to watch your bike very carefully, gang’s will lift it and ship it out via Marseilles or Italy, within 24hrs it will be half way to north Africa or Albania, so it’s best to be paranoid with your bikes security. Also, whatever you do don’t get into any arguments with the North Africans here, a mate of mine got into a row with a NA here. Before he knew it he was getting his head kicked in by a gang of them while 2 local French coppers looked on without lifting a finger to help. They still didn’t help when they stabbed a guy who came to help him 4 times! Sounds strange? Well the local cops are terrified by these guys, a few years back the cops arrested a NA kid for trying to rob a car, kid has a heart attack and died! What does the local NA community do, well they attacked the cop station and burnt it to the ground, putting 3 cops in hospital. The night after they shot at cop cars shooting one cop dead, it got so bad that the local cops did what they do best, yes, you guessed it, they went on strike! Although to be fair to the cops they really don’t get paid well enough for that kind of crap.

Menton Promenade

If your staying in Menton, or anywhere on the coast book a hotel in advance and make sure they have a secure garage that keeps your bike out of sight, it’s usually about 10/12 Euro extra here, but trust me, its worth it! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great place to visit, I lived here for 2 years and loved it, just keep a close eye on your bike because it’s a long walk home.

Next – What to do when your here, plenty of great roads near here, especially just across the border in Italy which I’ll be uploading in the coming days/weeks. There are also some magic routes back up north which I’ll hopefully get to before the good weather returns and see’s me back on my bike instead of on this damb computer!

Route Instructions

Biker friendly hotels along Stage 8 of the route;

Hotel Les Trois Valles – Col de Turini
Camping 06 – Alpes-Maritimes
Hotels – Menton

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

Road conditions; check the status of the Cols/Passes:
InfoTrafic: Alpes Du Sud – Apline Pass Status
Bison Fute – Traffic/Road Info
French Autoroute Traffic Info

Static Map (Click to view)

Stage 8

Next route – Provence – Golden Cliff Road, Frejus, St. Raphael, St. Maxime, Port Grimaud, St-Tropez and the Maures Forest »

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