Nice is a gorgeous city in southern France, on the French Riviera. It’s perfect for cycling holidays/tours.

But rather than telling you why Nice is great for cyclists, this article focuses on how to pick the best cycling tours in Nice.

We speak to Rich from VeloGuide. Rich lives and works in the greater Nice area and has been a VeloGuide for three years. Here he shares an overview of what kind of organised bike tours and cycling holidays are available in and around Nice. He also shares information on the best places for bike rental in Nice.

If you’re looking for some support with planning your cycling holiday in Nice, this article is for you.

Looking for information on cycling Nice (inc routes, cycling-friendly accommodation and other tips)? Read this article.

Part 1: Cycling tours in Nice (and the Côte d’Azur)

It’s useful to understand the different kinds of Nice bike tour that are available, so below I’ve set out an overview of what different operators offer.

It’ll help you see that what we at VeloGuide do is a bit different!

1. What kind of Nice cycling tours are available?

1.1 Nice city-based sightseeing tours

These are mostly e-bike options, or cruiser style bikes, city tours.

There are locally-based operators – for example:

Azur Vibes Tours and Nice Cycle Tours
  • Fold up bikes and/or ebike rentals (no road bike rentals)
  • 3 hour city bike tour of Nice on cruiser bikes, e bike tour to wineries, walking food tour in central Nice, the old town, Mont Boron etc
  • Possibly joined by other guests unless you book a private custom Nice bicycle tour
  • Local guides (though can’t message them directly and limited information about them available online)
  • Online booking option
Ebike the French Riviera
  • Only electric bike tours available (no road bike rentals)
  • Wine and exploratory Nice tours – an introduction to the region
  • Limited information on guides, but English speaking guides are provided
  • Cannot discuss options with your guide pre-tour, but options to discuss with the concierge with the company if you have questions.

There are also businesses that offer these kind of tours in locations all over the world. For example:

Baja Bikes
  • City tours in multiple countries
  • Tours are generally easy and uses ebikes or folding bikes, sticking to bike paths in Nice
  • Can book online through website
  • No information about the guides
  • Likely will be joined with other cyclists, although private tours are available
Get Your Guide and Viator
  • Huge global brands.
  • Nice looking websites and booking options
  • Focus is not only on bikes; there are multiple tour options in a city
  • Search offers multiple ebike and city options, suited for the casual cyclist

1.2 Multi-day Nice cycle tours

A number of companies offer options for a more road cycling focused cycling tour in Nice. Examples include:

Backroads
  • US based company focused on the luxury market
  • Fully catered and inclusive bike tours of Nice and the French Riviera
  • Detailed itineraries with guides who work for the company
  • Bikes included in most tour packages
  • Usually quite rigid timelines and tours that are set for the week
  • Mixed groups unless you book a custom trip
Azur Cycle Tours
  • Based in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, 10km east of Nice
  • 2 to 7 day trips available
  • Packages include accommodation, breakfast, guided rides and airport transfers

1.3 VeloGuide

Our service is quite different to the providers above. We’re a Canadian business, but we operate an extremely local model: you book directly with one of our guides who lives and works in/around Nice.

We offer city tours and also multi-day “proper” cycling trips:

  • On demand cycling trips from a few hours to a few weeks long, so you can fit a tour into your schedule rather than having to plan your schedule around your cycling tour.
  • Our guides are all locals who live and cycle the area every day. They know all the cool viewpoints, coffee shops, and bike routes through the city.
  • You can chat directly with our local bike guides, check out their bike tours prior to booking, discuss pricing, distance, options etc and get exactly what you want.
  • You’ll find guides offering everything from leisure focused trips to gravel rides, mountain bike trips and full-on multi-day road cycling holidays.
  • Let your guide help you source a great road bike and then meet them at the bike rental place (or your hotel) to get all set up
  • We also have a free concierge service, someone from VeloGuide who can help organise your accommodation, transfers and all the other arrangements.
Cycling Nice to Monaco, FranceLooking down towards Monaco
Gourdon in the Alpes-Maritimes in FranceParaglidesr near Gourdon

2. What does a VeloGuide cycling tour of Nice/the French Riviera offer?

Our mission is to develop the leading global marketplace for organised cycling experiences. In under three years, we’ve grown to have local guides in 72 countries across the globe and cycling experiences in over 800 cities!

Our free concierge service helps our clients book a bucket list bike tour that can be tailored to their precise demands.

What do you offer?

VeloGuide puts you in touch with guides who are completely local to the area and have lived/ridden in it for many years in the area. They know the best roads to ride on, insider knowledge on the viewpoints and history of the region, and the best routes and stops along the way.

Our guides will also help you source a great bike from the many Nice bike rental options available in a city (more on that below). Chat with our concierge or your guide about what type of bike you’d like, and let our guide do the work for you. Many bike tour companies don’t offer quality road bikes with their tours and a local guide will know the best bike shop in the area to meet your needs.

You can meet your guide at a prearranged location or ask them to pick you up at your hotel with a bike.

What do you offer that your competitors don’t?

VeloGuide designs perfect bucket list tours, complete with that magical climb you’ve seen on the television, that fits your schedule. You can message directly with a VeloGuide and build your dream bike tour.

Our guides have detailed local knowledge along with a desire to share their go-to rides with others.

Don’t expect to be placed on a tour with other cyclists unless you’d like the company! Most of VeloGuide’s tours are completely private and personal. Have only mornings available on your family vacation? No worries! Let us know what days you have available and how long you can ride for, we’ll find a perfect guide and tour just for you. Visiting a new city for a conference or business meeting? What better way to explore a new city than on a bike with a local!

Views on a cycling tour around the Esterel near Nice, FranceViews from the Esterel back towards Nice
Col de la bonette, FranceRoad up the Col de la Bonette (we can arrange tours here but be aware it’s around 150km from Nice)

What services can you offer on a Nice bike tour?

Depending on the VeloGuide and your requirements, extras like airport transfers, access to bike hire in Nice, vehicle support and massages can be added to your tour. Our principle is that you just pay for the services you want to book. Your tour, your way.

Looking for an all inclusive package with minimal effort on your part? Our free concierge service can help you plan for any contingency, and your guide can let you know what is available in the area.

Looking for a simple on demand bike tour and just require a guide? VeloGuide can do that too!

Looking for insider tips on the best way to see a new city? Just ask. Most of our guides are excited to talk about their city, and want tourists to explore the way they would, experiencing the local small businesses that make things so vibrant.

3. Which are your favourite Nice and Cote d’Azur cycling tours?

There are so many cycling routes around Nice that it’s hard to pick my absolute favourite. But these are definitely up there!

Nice – Col d’Eze  – Menton – Col de la Madone – Nice

This ride represents the classic must-do ride out of Nice.  It links both cols along the beautiful coastline between Nice and Menton into a challenging day of stirring ascents and flowy descents. While challenging, your reward will be beautiful vistas overlooking the Mediterranean sea and local cafes and bakeries in the villages of Eze, La Turbie and Menton.

Col d’Eze is the most famous climb directly out of Nice, mostly because of its use in the last stage of the Paris-Nice stage race during the start of March. The event is nicknamed The Race to the Sun, as it usually starts in wintery conditions in Paris, and finishes in the sun and warmth on the Cote d’Azur.

Bradley Wiggins famously won the time trial up Col d’Eze in 19 minutes 12 seconds on his way to winning Paris-Nice in 2012. He then followed that up with winning the 2012 Tour de France and Olympic Gold in the London time trial. His direct route up “le Grand Corniche” is the most well known, but there are many other scenic ways to arrive at the top.

This tour will take you to some hidden photo ops on less traveled roads. Expect beautiful vistas as a reward for your climbing efforts. We’ll visit the quintessential French villages of Eze and La Turbie, both offering possibilities for a petit pause at local cafes for a cappuccino, espresso, croissant, pain au chocolat, or whatever else you’re in the mood for.

Cycling Eze near Nice with Veloguide cycling toursView from Col d’Eze
On a road bike tour near Nice, France Gréolières near Nice

Nice – Col de Braus – Col de Turini – Nice

This is your chance to ride your bike up a mountain road in the French Alps that is used for the oldest Rally Car Championship Race! Rallye Monte-Carlo has run for 110 years and usually finishes up the treacherous Col de Turini.

This tour combines two of the most popular climbs in the mountains behind Nice, Col de Braus and Col de Turini. We’ll climb both from my favorite sides in terms of beauty and photo ops.

Make no mistake, combining both of these in a trip from Nice means a big day. Expect 3,500m of climbing over 150km. I recommend this only for experienced cyclists, but if you have completed some big routes in the mountains, this may just be the challenge you’re looking for. I have hand-picked all the roads to avoid lights and traffic, sometimes at the “expense/joy” of a bit more climbing.

My favourite climb close to Nice is the Col de Braus. Why? Maybe it’s the constantly changing scenery, the sinuous switchbacks, or the beautiful views as you look back from where you came. But Braus is packed with all of this and more.

This tour starts to climb directly out of Nice to avoid stop lights and traffic and the return loop includes a few more surprises with more great views.

Nice – La Colmiane – Col de Turini – Nice

This tour is modelled after the L’Etape du Tour de France that was planned for both 2020 and 2021 before being abandoned due to Covid-19 restrictions.

If you’re interested to see what the organisers of the Tour de France had in mind, look no further than this beautiful tour of “l’arrière-pays niçois”.

This bike tour starts in a scenic valley on easy roads, followed by two hors categorie climbs of La Colmiane and Col de Turini.

It is followed by a return to Nice with an option to finish with le Col d’Eze as your legs see fit.  Expect nothing less than epic, with photos and memories to boot.

This is the creme-de-la-creme of the routes from Nice and it is no wonder ASO included this route in it’s 2020 Tour de France.

Impressive lacets of the Col de Braus with cyclistWinding up the many switchbacks of the Col de Turini
chapel of Notre Dame de MenourChapel of Notre Dame de la Menour on Col de Turini

4. Can you create bespoke tours?

Yes – that’s exactly what VeloGuide is all about. The great thing about VeloGuide is you can design your own tour or experience with the help of our concierge service and local Nice guides.

It all depends on your imagination and the time you have to ride.

For rides in and out of Nice we can plan multiple days of riding as well as full van support.

Étape-based cycling holiday

A big part of the local Nice cycling scene is the L’étape du Tour de France that occurs every year right before the premier stage race.

What is it you ask? L’Étape du Tour (French for ‘stage of the Tour’) is an organised mass participation cyclosportive event that allows amateur cyclists to race over the same route as a Tour de France stage. First held in 1993, and now organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), it takes place each July, normally on a Tour rest day.

We can assist you in securing an entry to the L’Étape and we’ve designed the perfect multi-day adventure culminating in taking part in L’Étape the day before the professionals!

Nice has long been a destination of international cycling events from Paris-Nice and the Tour de France, among others.  With both 2020 and 2021 attempts at hosting L’Etape du Tour, Nice has shown it’s support for all forms of cycling, from expanded commuter cycling lanes to amateur and professional race support.

As in every city, VeloGuide has a number of local cyclists willing to support you on a ride, whenever you have the time, and at whatever the distance and difficulty you desire.  All you have to do is ask!

2022 Étape-based cycling holiday

The 2022 Tour de France route was just announced, and climbs up the famous Alpe d’Huez and Col du Galibier are on the schedule.

Stay tuned to VeloGuide as we plan an epic experience in the French Alps for the 2022 L’Etape du Tour de France.

Corniche d'Esterel, near Nice, FranceRed rocks of the Esterel coastline near Nice
Col de la Bonette, FranceSpectacular views from Col de la Bonette

5. Where to find out more about VeloGuide’s Nice bike tours?

VeloGuide offers multiple ways to get more information regarding all the tours you see listed.

Sign up for a free account on VeloGuide.com and you can directly message any of the local Nice guides about riding in and around the region.

Our concierge service is complimentary with your account and you can inquire about any concerns you may have. We’re very resourceful and will get answers for you in no time!

If you are looking for more general information, check out our FAQs pages, or our Trustpilot review page which includes reviews of many VeloGuide tours worldwide.

More information about VeloGuide:

How it works

Booking a trip FAQs

Bike rentals FAQs

VeloGuide on TrustPilot

Part 2: Bike rental in Nice

6. Where to rent a bike in Nice?

Nice is perfectly suited for many types of riding, from recreational city touring to more advanced road cycling and mountain biking.

While many businesses cater to the touristy crowds, with step-through bikes and e-cycles, sourcing a road bike can be tougher.

All our Nice VeloGuide’s have contacts at the best road bike rental shops in the Nice region and would be happy to connect you with your perfect bike. Many guides will add a bike rental to a tour to make things easier for the traveling guest. Simply let us know a few details like size, type, brand, and we’ll do our best to find you your dream bike.

If you’d rather source a bike yourself, I recommend Cafe du Cycliste, a VeloGuide Hub, as your first stop. They’re centrally located on the old port in the heart of Nice, and have excellent Cervelo bikes for rent, French-designed cycling apparel and amazing coffee.

Golden Cycles in Golfe-Juan on the Cote d’Azur also offers high quality road bike rentals and would be a bike shop I’d recommend as well. They have Basso and Bianchi bikes for rent along with a Bianchi electric road bike for those that need an extra boost up the big mountain climbs in the region. Specializing in the higher-end segment, they offer a wide range of products and quality services, including bike fitting, should you need that after unpacking your bike after your flight. Their store concept showcases a compromise between a sleek, luxury store and a place where you will find the latest and greatest.

7. Where to rent leisure and e-bikes in Nice?

Many of the bike tour companies mentioned above (for example Nice Cycle Tours and Azur Vibes Nice) offer rentals of step-through foldable e-bikes like.

Other options include cruiser bikes from Holland Bikes with their easy pick and go offerings, which are perfectly suited for riding the coastline in Nice and stopping at the local cafes.

You’ll also notice a bunch of VéloBleu bike racks around central Nice. You can download their app to get a handle on availability and prices. See below for a further description of the service.

8. Where to rent kids bikes in Nice?

Many Nice bike hire shops have available kids-sized bikes, trailers for young children, and e-bikes for teenagers.

For example, Nice Cycle Tours have a list of options for families, including bikes to suit children of all ages (children’s bikes, baby seats, tow bikes).

Most places will add a lock, puncture repair spray, and a map with recommended sites and itineraries for the independent traveller.

9. Things to consider when renting a bike in Nice

Nice is a world class cycling destination, and you’ll find many high quality road bikes available from Colnago’s to Cervelo’s and Basso’s to Bianchi’s. There is a great chance you can rent exactly what you ride at home (or something even better?!).

Reserve

In the busy season, I recommend you reserve a bike a few days in advance to make sure you aren’t disappointed on the day of your tour.

Paperwork

Most of the bicycle shops in Nice will require a driver’s licence or passport along with a credit card as a deposit, so make sure you bring this along with you.

Delivery

Depending on what type of tour you’ve booked, delivery options are available as long as you know what size bike you need. VeloGuide can help you out with this, and one of the guides could meet you at your hotel.

Condition

Most shops renting road bikes in Nice will ensure the bike is in great condition for you before your tour, but it’s always good to check that you know how to change gears (Shimano vs Campagnolo), the brakes aren’t rubbing, and that there is a space tube and/or patch kit included.

Charging

Make sure you know the details of how the Nice bike shop will charge you. For example if you keep the bike overnight, do you get charged for another day? What time do they close in the evening? Don’t get stuck with an extra day charge on your credit card that wasn’t necessary. A VeloGuide can ensure you always get the best price and never miss closing time.

Kit choices

And finally, it doesn’t really need to be said, but of course the weather can change quickly in the southern alps above Nice. Tucking some sleeves or a light jacket in your jersey pocket can go a long way to improving your experience in the event of a rainstorm or on a descent from one of the cols.

10. What does the VéloBleu system offer?

Last but not least, it’s important to mention the VéloBleu bike rental system in Nice. VéloBleu (blue bike) is a system of on-the-spot bike rentals that allow locals and tourists to pick up a bike at one docking station and return it to another around Nice.

Docking stations

There are currently around 175 locations throughout Nice and Cagnes-sur-Mer. The docking stations are dotted along the length of the Promenade des Anglais from Nice Airport to the Port and beyond.

Pricing

Prices are very reasonable (1.50 Euros to rent, and up to 4 Euros if you keep one all day), but ensure you pick one that isn’t broken as many are in need of maintenance from time to time.

App

With your smartphone, you can download the VéloBleu app, which will give you real-time availability of bikes. This is essential during busy times as sometimes the stations are full, or no bikes will be available when you need one.

Suitability

The bikes are a good option for a quick trip up and down the promenade, but they are very heavy and will have you gasping for air if you try to get out on any of the longer routes we’ve listed above! They aren’t recommended for any VeloGuide tours; instead let us help you find a bike that’s more fun to ride!

11. Final words

I hope this has provided a good overview of the cycle tour and bike rental options available in Nice and the Cote d’Azur. I love living in Nice and would love to show you the best places to ride. Just email me or drop me a message here or email me at rich@veloguide.com.

 

A big thank you to Rich for providing such useful information on Nice bike tours. We love the flexibility and personal touch that VeloGuide offers and will certainly be looking them up ourselves next time we’re in Nice!

Rich Scales

Rich Scales is an American living and cycling in the south of France (greater Nice area) for the last 20 years.

He speaks French and knows the local roads, villages, and scenic locations. He loves sharing his favourite places to visit on a bike.

He’s an active “age grouper” racer at 52 years old, and loves climbing, descending, and easy rides along the coast.

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