Along with La Croisette and the Promenade des Anglais, the Grande Corniche is one of the legendary roads on the Côte d’Azur. It doesn’t shine because of its shops and luxury hotels, but because of the landscapes and the many films that have been shot there…
WHO HASN’T HEARD OF THE GRAND CORNICHE?
Have you heard of the Grande Corniche, this high road perched at 500 meters altitude which connects Nice to the Italian border?
Doubtless you have if you’re a discerning movie buff, car enthusiast or fan of bikes. Here every year on this ribbon of bitumen suspended between the sky and sea the most coveted of the stages of the Paris-Nice race is held. It’s also where journalists from around the world, enjoying an unusually pure landscape, intense light and a breathtaking panorama, come to try out, photograph, and film car manufacturers’ newest models.
A PRINCESS AT THE WHEEL
It was here, again and again, that in June 1954, Alfred Hitchcock shot one of the cult scenes in the movie “To Catch a Thief”!
Grace Kelly, her white gloves on the steering wheel, Cary Grant as a passenger, his sweaty hands on his lap, and the Mercedes 190 SL roadster travelling fast between Eze and La Turbie. A few crunches of tyres later, Monaco and its famous rock, future homeland of the film’s star, burst onto the screen. Images that have marked several generations to the point that still today, many holidaymakers, impregnated with their glamour, approach the specialist Rent-a-Car Classic to hire a classic car – Mustang, Porsche Speedster, Alfa Romeo Giulia and the famous Mercedes 190 SL – and drive through Hitchcock’s landscapes.
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Don’t worry! You don’t have to drive a 1950s car to enjoy a trip along the Grande Corniche.
Whatever the horsepower under your bonnet, this drive will have the aura of happy days. The Mercantour mountains on one side, the Mediterranean on the other: it’s a life-size getaway. Stop for a moment and enjoy the landscape: the coast as far as the eye can see from San Remo to Saint-Tropez. Stop in one of the three old villages on the way: Eze, magnificent belvedere, La Turbie and its Trophée d’Auguste, the spectacular remains of ancient Rome, and, finally Roquebrune Cap Martin, with its thousand year old castle and 2000 year old olive tree – probably the oldest tree in France.