Les meilleurs spots VTT Côte d’Azur de Nicolas Vouilloz ©Kike Abelleira

The best mountain biking spots on the Côte d'Azur by Nicholas Vouilloz

In the saddle for a two-wheel ride on the Côte d’Azur: from west to east with Nicolas Vouilloz, star of the discipline! As a Côte d’Azur France ambassador, Nicolas Vouilloz shares his top mountain bike outings on the Côte d’Azur.

Who is Nicolas Vouilloz?

Nicolas Vouilloz, the Mountain Bike World Champion, was born locally.

Born in Nice, he has always cycled. “When I was 15 in the early years of the discipline, a friend who was competing in the French mountain biking championships said there was a race at Mont Macaron in Châteauneuf de Contes. It was my first race! It all started from there. ”
Still living in the area, Nicolas shares his favourite places – there is something for all levels. “Here there is plenty to see!”

Côte d’Azur mountain biking spot no. 1: Estérel for full-on endurance!

« For a trip in the Estérel it’s best to leave Théoule-sur-Mer and go to La Rague harbour. Mont-Vinaigre offers huge possibilities for mountain biking: the best trails are there! It would be difficult to find any better in terms of the setting: the colours are impressive with the red earth and in particular the contrast when there is a beautiful blue sky – as there usually is here… The paths are good but elusive, slippery, sandy, a little technical. The package of a good route and beautiful surroundings is unbeatable in my opinion. »

Côte d’Azur mountain biking spot no. 1: Estérel for full-on endurance!

If you are a beginner, Nicolas recommends an event: the Roc d’Azur, on the Fréjus Nature Base. With supervised circuits and paths suitable for all levels, it is the major mountain biking event on the Côte d’Azur, with races and trips. Every year in October.

Côte d’Azur mountain biking spot no. 2: La Valmasque

« All Mountain Riding »

« Not very complicated to find or to ride, the Parc de la Valmasque is just inland from Antibes. The fact it is so close is great, you can go and have fun on the trails just outside the city. It’s directly in nature, on relatively easy routes. There’s a lot of land, but you don’t really need to train hard to have fun. You can even go with your family! There are extensive no-risk trails. »

Côte d’Azur mountain biking spot no. 2: La Valmasque

« All Mountain Riding »

« In addition, there are many topographical maps and routes that can be easily traced. An original and fun way to discover the forest side of the Sophia-Antipolis park. »
But remember that even so there are some technical descents and tricky passages: Nicolas Vouilloz advises you to find out beforehand, even if Valmasque is a great place with Mediterranean undergrowth – therefore hilly and pleasant.

Côte d’Azur mountain biking spot no. 3: In the mountains to start!

Head to Auron, La Colmiane, Valberg…

« In the ski resorts, the slopes are open in the summer! Green, blue and red trails are accessible depending on your level. Some chairlifts will take you to the top of the slopes. You have a good choice: Auron, La Colmiane… Valberg offers the most fun routes, Isola has more difficult ones with a lot of stones, which is normal because it higher. Buy a lift pass in the middle of summer, you won’t regret it!  »

Côte d’Azur mountain biking spot no. 4: Between Mont-Chauve and Levens!

« This is a more technical ride than the rest and is full-on. Anyway, if you have little or no experience, this is not the kind of trail you should venture onto. Leave from the Fort du Mont Chauve d’Aspremont for St-Roman de Bellet. This is the area of Tourrettes-Levens, great terrain and therefore well known and well used. A lot of champions and big clubs train in this area: a route with large stones, very technical – just how we like it! Plenty of signs and routes available to navigate nevertheless, everything is well marked and therefore passable safely, provided you have the legs for it! »

Côte d’Azur mountain biking spot no. 5: Peille & Blausasc!

« This is where I cut my teeth. I still ride here very regularly. I ride between l’Escarène and Berre-les-Alpes almost every day. All around Blausasc it’s stony with a very technical side with a lot of earth on the hillsides. This is my journey: I leave Contes, go up to Berre-les-Alpes and track to Escarène. It’s really nice, with beautiful paths and not extreme in terms of the terrain: fixed rounded stones in the ground. »

Côte d’Azur mountain biking spot no. 5: Peille & Blausasc!

« The Berre slabs are huge and very abrasive descending quite sharply in an unusual landscape. They go towards Contes and are above Bendejun: it’s so beautiful. When I go there and the weather is good, I feel as if I’m in another corner of France because it’s so different from the rest. I like this idea of leaving home without taking anything other than my bike, riding for 20 minutes to get to the entrance to the trails and riding to Col Saint-Roch even if I’m in shape for a long outing. And if I’m with a friend it’s even better, we can challenge each other and go harder than usual! »

Côte d’Azur mountain biking spot no. 5: Peille & Blausasc!

« I really like this route, so much so that we sometimes clean up the tracks when the vegetation takes over. »
Nicolas Vouilloz’s advice: at the Grave-de-Peille station, an electric mountain bike support service is offered: for a small fee, you can hire a bike and the equipment and go for a guided trip. The professional chooses the paths according to people’s level. A great way to try it.

Nicolas Vouilloz, Lapierre brand ambassador

« Thanks to my career, I am now a Lapierre brand ambassador, supported by a research and development team. We are constantly working on improvements to technical mountain bike parts: suspension, geometry, components… Then I test them in the field!
Mountain biking is a physical sport, certainly, but also fun, which makes it a good way of getting away from it all: you get off the beaten track, in the middle of nature, far from any stress. The arrival of electric bikes opens the discipline to everyone. It is even more fun in our region where you can climb through some amazing landscapes. 
»

LAPIERRE BRAND AMBASSADOR (CONTINUED)

« It’s something you can do as a family, even just once in a while; lots of speciality shops hire bikes to try. My advice however: never attempt to do too much, so you don’t get put off. Look carefully where you’ll put your tyres before leaving. Go slowly, without being too ambitious when choosing your route. And to make the best choices there’s nothing better than taking advice from the professionals. Don’t hesitate, I know almost all of them around here and theyre real buffs! »

Nicolas Vouilloz,

Côte d’Azur France Ambassador