Saturday after a lazy morning (and a bike ride, even though it was meant to be a rest day. I needed fresh air!) we headed on the motorbike finally to Eze a medieval village high on a rocky outcrop over looking the sea, five minutes away from Monaco. It’s famous for the Chateau de la Chevre D’Or (Golden Goat Hotel) a member of Relais Chateaux. Most of the hotel is part of the village and you get to walk up and past rooms and kitchens. The rest of the village is full of art shops.
I love peeking over the village wall as you get to see the La Chevre D’Or gardens below. They remind me of Medusa’s garden centre in Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. Loads of animals and human sculptures frozen by her stare!
We stopped for coffee and a delicious tomato, mozzarella and aubergine salad before heading back. We came via the motorway and took the sea road back. Even at night riding back the views are amazing, especially coming over the top of the mountain back into Nice.
Sunday, we were up fairly early to head to Gorge Du Verdon, to see it’s turquoise waters. I’d mentioned to P in the week that turquoise was one of my favourite colours. He’d been before and wanted to take me, so we set off on a ‘four hour’ motorbike ride.
As we were heading up into the mountains and its valleys, I had to wrap up warm. P was okay thank’s to his long ride/winter riding gear. I ended up with 3 pairs of trousers (thermals which I added coming back, jeans and waterproofs to block the wind) and 6 layers on top (vest, long sleeved T, body warmer, bike jacket with winter lining and water proof jacket) and 2 pairs of gloves! Wrapped up like an onion!
We set off via Grasse and the Route de Napoleon up the mountains. I was a little upset to see two lorries with sheep along the motorway on their way to, well you can guess. They couldn’t even turn around there was that many. As a vegan it was hard to see.
I was glad for my layers as when we hit the Route De Napoleon outside Grasse the temperature dropped. We stopped for views, it was warm. Back on the bike it was cold!
Along the way to Castellone we stopped to help a dog that was wandering in the main road. It was very wary and was having none of us and ran on down a side road. We followed it for a bit and got off to see if it had a collar, but he just wanted to be left alone. I think he’d probably been left behind as he knew where he was going but looked thin. I hope he finds a loving human soon.
Riding through the valley and back up the mountains was like the Smokeys in North Carolina, USA. Nothing for miles and then a village to ride through, then nothing again! We stopped for coffee and lunch at the cafe by the Balcons de la Mescla over looking the turquoise ravine below. It reminded me of the TV drama Sharpe and I half expected to see the resistance army hidden away somewhere! I really wanted to go down and walk along the river, but it was a shear drop down! Maybe next time if we go (in the summer!) we can walk along it.
While we were eating a Vespa pulled up. Yep, a Vespa high up in the mountains. P has a BMW R1200GS like Ewan McGregor in the Long Way Round, built for long distances, all terrain and there’s a couple on a Vespa doing what we and loads of bikers were doing! We kept seeing it as we stopped off along the way. Italy isn’t flat so it’s no surprise to see one eating up the mountains when thinking about it, but still a Vespa up, down and around the bends?! Love it!
A dragon sleeping peacefully.
We stopped off to see some crazy people bungee jumping (not for me!) and then back on back down the mountains along the steepest most amazing part of the Gorge. We really wanted to stop off but what few lay-bys there were, there was no space for us. It’s a pity as it was stunning. Tall, jagged rocks and it just looked so peaceful.
As soon as the gorge ended I spotted the turquoise Lac de Sainte-Croix the largest reservoir in France ahead. It was like looking out the sea!
And that Vespa!
Totally worth the ride! I’d like to walk along gorge, though I’ll skip the kayaking. If you’re in to rock climbing, camping, canoeing, hiking, rafting and are in the South of France, go!
Coming back we had 30 miles left in the tank. We were an hour and half away from home and had all fingers crossed that the next garage on Tom Tom was open and more importantly had petrol! We made it home!
We decided to go back along the motor way as the light was fading. I was getting sleepy so we stopped off at the last old village out the gorge for coffee and snacks over looking the valley, soaking up the last moments of silence.
Within 10 minutes we hit Dreguignom and the magic of the Gorge disappeared. It was time head back along the A8 and work out how to tell to my Dad who’d loved to have biked through the Gorge, we bike through the Verdon Gorge.
To undo about six or more hours on the bike a 5km run was needed!
Sometimes we forget that hidden jems are on our doorstep. What beauty spots are in your area?