Barcelona, Col de la Cayolle is the Gorges du Cians: last stage of the Alps Grand Tour

The sixth itinerary of my Alpi Grand Tour plunges into Mercantour: it starts from Barcelonnette to descend to Nice passing through spectacular passes and gorges such as Cayolle and Cians.

If the fifth stage of the Grand Tour of the Alps it was something amazing, the sixth was certainly not stingy with emotions and landscapes that were nothing short of incredible; è stato an itinerary full of surprises what we followed on the sixth and last day of the trip, because both for me and for Filippo who followed me throughout this adventure, it was the first time in many of the places we touched.

I had already been to Barcelonnette other times, but I had never had the opportunity to do the Col de la Cayolle. I'm sure if that was the case… well I would have remembered! A narrow and winding road between the gorges that climbs up to open up crowned by the peaks in a superb panorama. I think it is one of the most aesthetically beautiful passes in the whole Alps and objectively there is a lot of competition. As I told in the video, both Filippo and I found ourselves constantly slowing down as if we wanted to stop time, wanting to block what was slipping away under our wheels. We didn't want to hear of seeing it slip away. But what happened after the Col de la Cayolle was no less memorable, a partire dalle Gorges of the Cians and Daluis with the rocks turning the color of blood and the road winding between them as if it had been snatched from hell.

What see?

  • Col de la Cayolle: I have already mentioned the wonderful ascent to this pass. The descent on the southern slope is no less spectacular, although faster and takes us to the Varo springs. Before arriving at Entraunes the rocks become increasingly black and hellish-looking, abandoning the luxuriant green of the opposite slope and regaining it shortly after. It is an amazing contrast especially if we then intend to continue towards the Gorges du Cians…
  • Valberg: the ski resort on the homonymous hill is a small curtain compared to the villages that exist in these parts. Here you can find some’ of everything, from ebike rentals to hotels to gift shops. The road to get there is worth it and above all it is on the route to the Cians and Daluis gorges.
  • Gorges du Cians: they are something incredible. The rocks all of a sudden turn red and you slip into this increasingly narrow and narrow blood-coloured gorge. The road meanders and winds through tunnels with well-maintained tarmac and there are numerous spots to stop the bike and take a look at this natural spectacle.
  • Nice: more than the city itself, I like everything around the city. Nice has the traffic of the capital and of the seaside resort on summer days even if you don't get to the chaos that we sometimes see on our coast. But apart from these details it offers much more than just the Promenade des Anglais. The historic center is definitely worth a tour, but as I said it is everything that surrounds it to be worthy. The roads climb through the hills and woods and then climb the slopes of the Mercantour. In any direction you go there are roads, characteristic landscapes and villages. On the coast, instead, lies the charm “posh” of the Cote d'Azur with its luxurious big cars, the villas and yachts.
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