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Verdun......anyone dun it?

prb007prb007 Posts: 703
edited April 2013 in Tour & expedition
I am in the early stages of planning Cherbourg-Nice for next June (2013) and was hoping to take in the Verdun Gorges on the last stage into Nice (from Manosque)... http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=381159
Anyone done any riding in this area? Any towns/villages/sights not to be missed? Is there a 'most scenic' route from West to East thru the area?
Any info appreciated ( recommendations for hotels in either Manosque or Nice?)
If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
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Posts

  • dabberdabber Posts: 1,646
    Just be aware ... Verdun and Gorges du Verdon are two very different places.
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Calibre Bossnut
  • prb007prb007 Posts: 703
    Aha...thank-you. Ok , anyone ridden the Verdon gorges, then...
    Was wondering why so much WW2 stuff was coming up in my searches for Verdun!
    If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
    Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
    Orange Alpine 160 for Afan,Alps & dodging trees
    Singlespeed Planet X Kaffenback for dodging potholes
    An On-One Inbred for hard-tail shenanigans...
  • pdstsppdstsp Posts: 1,264
    Rode it last year and it is truly stunning riding - we stayed in Castellane and rode a loop of the gorge from Castellane to Aiguines on the South side, lunch and then back up the North side and finished off with the loop at the top of the gorge. Word of warning this is not a downhill all the way in the morning and vice versa in the afternoon it is seriously hilly both sides - very undulating!!! But one of the best days out ever and if it was me I would certainly make a full day of it if you have time. Enjoy.
  • prb007prb007 Posts: 703
    Thanks, pdstsp, looking to ride from Manosque, to Nice on the last day of our trip, then fly home (Nice-Bristol), the next day.
    If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
    Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
    Orange Alpine 160 for Afan,Alps & dodging trees
    Singlespeed Planet X Kaffenback for dodging potholes
    An On-One Inbred for hard-tail shenanigans...
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,388
    I've done it several times on a touring bike with four panniers and also on a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket towing a suitcase trailer full of camping kit - and whether you do the north or southern side, it's hilly! But it must be one of the best rides in France. It's known as the Grand Canyon du Verdon and I think it may be the second deepest gorge after the Grand Canyon in USA.

    The views are more spectacular and it's less crowded and touristy than the other big gorge in that area - the Gorges de l'Ardeche.

    Going from Manosque to Nice, I'd ride to Moustiers-Ste-Marie and then take the D957 south and then the D19 up the tough but relatively short Col d'Illoire. You've then got a beautiful ride along the Corniche Sublime, with glorious views of the gorge and river far below you on the left as the winding road cuts through the cliffs. It's good quiet roads on to Comps-sur-Artuby. I camped there in a cheap site when I did it. I rode on to Nice through Grasse on main (but not too busy) roads in pouring rain. Great views when the clouds and mist lifted.

    The northern route along the gorge is just as spectacular. But if you go from Moustiers, it would involve a really big climb along the Route des Cretes - a loop which would add quite a few miles to your journey. Best to do that loop the other way round.
  • prb007prb007 Posts: 703
    Thanks for that, mercia man. I wanted to do the trip with panniers, unsupported, but have been outvoted by my mates! We now plan to have a support van and driver to take our kit between stages and provide a rolling food and drink station, as well as emergency cover in the more remote areas.We did JOGLE last year the same way, and in fairness it worked well.
    If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
    Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
    Orange Alpine 160 for Afan,Alps & dodging trees
    Singlespeed Planet X Kaffenback for dodging potholes
    An On-One Inbred for hard-tail shenanigans...
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,388
    Have a great time. I reckon the hilly countryside north of the over-developed Cote d'Azur is one of the best parts of France for cycling. You only have to ride 20 or 30 miles north of Nice to reach cycling heaven!

    There's fabulous quiet country in the area between Vence and Castellane, the sensational wild Mercantour national park on the French border with Italy and, heading a bit further north, the three huge passes of the southern Alps - the Allos, Cayolle and Bonette.

    Can't help with advice on accommodation as I normally camp although I did stay at a nice and reasonably cheap Logis de France hotel on the left as you enter Comps-sur-Artuby. Even though it's the south of France, you can still get extreme weather - I took refuge in that hotel after riding through a snowstorm in May.
  • prb007prb007 Posts: 703
    Cheers, again, MerciaMan; so our last day will look like this...
    http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=382082
    Bit lumpy in the middle, but mostly downhill at the end,
    and the thick end of 200k!
    If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
    Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
    Orange Alpine 160 for Afan,Alps & dodging trees
    Singlespeed Planet X Kaffenback for dodging potholes
    An On-One Inbred for hard-tail shenanigans...
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,388
    I'm envious. Should be a great ride. 200k is a lot in a day but at least you've got your support van! I can remember some really lengthy fast descents on the way down to the coast. Just don't be tempted (as I was) to race other cyclists on the hills up the gorge!

    Cycling to and from Nice Airport can be tricky because I've always ended up having to use a sort of urban motorway. But that was quite a few years ago and it may be they've installed cycle lanes since then.
  • craigentycraigenty Posts: 960
    We do a tour from Nice to Mont Ventoux. Some pics here of one we did a few years ago.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/veloventou ... ourMay2007

    The scenery is stunning - have a good one!!
  • prb007prb007 Posts: 703
    craigenty wrote:
    We do a tour from Nice to Mont Ventoux. Some pics here of one we did a few years ago.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/veloventou ... ourMay2007

    The scenery is stunning - have a good one!!

    Craig - checked out your pics - fantastic!
    Also checked out your website - very nice; we have not yet booked
    accommodation for the Ventoux stage - do you do 'single nights' or just longer stays?
    If not can you recommend somewhere for us to stay - there will probably be 8 or 10 of us :D
    If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
    Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
    Orange Alpine 160 for Afan,Alps & dodging trees
    Singlespeed Planet X Kaffenback for dodging potholes
    An On-One Inbred for hard-tail shenanigans...
  • de_sistide_sisti Posts: 1,193
    Pity you didn't do the Semaine Federale in 2010. That year it was based in Verdun.
  • craigentycraigenty Posts: 960
    prb007 wrote:
    craigenty wrote:
    We do a tour from Nice to Mont Ventoux. Some pics here of one we did a few years ago.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/veloventou ... ourMay2007

    The scenery is stunning - have a good one!!

    Craig - checked out your pics - fantastic!
    Also checked out your website - very nice; we have not yet booked
    accommodation for the Ventoux stage - do you do 'single nights' or just longer stays?
    If not can you recommend somewhere for us to stay - there will probably be 8 or 10 of us :D

    Should be ok for a night or two next year - sio long as it doesn't clash with La Ventoux sportive which is usually the first Saturday.

    Cheers
  • prb007prb007 Posts: 703
    craigenty wrote:
    prb007 wrote:
    craigenty wrote:
    We do a tour from Nice to Mont Ventoux. Some pics here of one we did a few years ago.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/veloventou ... ourMay2007

    The scenery is stunning - have a good one!!

    Craig - checked out your pics - fantastic!
    Also checked out your website - very nice; we have not yet booked
    accommodation for the Ventoux stage - do you do 'single nights' or just longer stays?
    If not can you recommend somewhere for us to stay - there will probably be 8 or 10 of us :D

    Should be ok for a night or two next year - sio long as it doesn't clash with La Ventoux sportive which is usually the first Saturday.

    OK - will be in touch wrt dates, prices etc.

    Cheers
    If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
    Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
    Orange Alpine 160 for Afan,Alps & dodging trees
    Singlespeed Planet X Kaffenback for dodging potholes
    An On-One Inbred for hard-tail shenanigans...
  • prb007prb007 Posts: 703
    In a belated return to this post....9 of our 10 days' routes are sorted for our E2E France trip at the end of May, into June, but still unsure whether to go via the hillier South rim or the longer, more picturesque North rim (I say this because we would be riding on the right shoulder (obviously!) of the road, so we will be overlooking the Gorges more frequently.
    Randomly, the Bikeroutetoaster plan dips into a footpath for a short section, but this should be easily avoidable on the day...
    South rim route http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/Course. ... rse=505895
    North rim alternate http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/Course. ... rse=520973
    any advice from anyone who has experience in this area, is most welcome.
    If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
    Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
    Orange Alpine 160 for Afan,Alps & dodging trees
    Singlespeed Planet X Kaffenback for dodging potholes
    An On-One Inbred for hard-tail shenanigans...
  • prb007prb007 Posts: 703
    Will probably settle on this, as it follows the river for longer (chance for a dip if its ridiculous degrees C!)
    http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/Course. ... rse=521005
    If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
    Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
    Orange Alpine 160 for Afan,Alps & dodging trees
    Singlespeed Planet X Kaffenback for dodging potholes
    An On-One Inbred for hard-tail shenanigans...
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,388
    I'd personally opt for the south rim route to Comps sur Artuby. Once you've climbed the Col d'Illoire, it's not that tough and there's a fair bit of downhill. You ride alongside the gorge for longer than your suggested northern routes and it's on quieter roads. I would say the views are equally good whether you take te north or south routes along the gorge.

    Looking at http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/Course. ... rse=521005 you turn away north from the gorge at La Palud sur Verdon, missing out the most spectacular bits. To see those you have to turn south at La Palud along the tough but rewarding Route des Cretes, a 23km circular detour which returns to La Palud. That's a big mileage to add to an already long day.

    I don't think having a dip is an option unless you're an eagle! The river is a long, long way below you. There are swimming beaches on the Lac de St Croix, however, before the start of the gorge.
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