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“When they go low, we go high.” Michelle Obama’s famous phrase wasn’t written about the V65 cycle route along the Mediterranean, but it could have been.*

This is a sister route to EuroVelo 8 across the south of France. While EV8 is crossing the mountains of the Var, V65 is hugging the coast. When EV8 returns to the coast at Cannes, V65 heads inland – and uphill.

This is no lesser route than its better-known EuroVelo counterpart: it might even be more rewarding in places. The coastal section, from Sanary sur Mer and Toulon to Fréjus, is largely a broad asphalt path, protected from the inevitably busy coast roads. Sailing past the heavy traffic on a smooth bike road with great sea views is an experience to be savoured.

There’s currently no route between Fréjus and Grasse. The proposed route will follow a valley where currently only an autoroute and a few forest tracks run. If you have the legs for it, we’d suggest instead that you ride the stunning Estérel Massif, a steep, gravelled climb with utterly breathtaking views via the Col Notre-Dame and Col des Trois Termes. From here you can rejoin the route via EV8.

The V65 route restarts at Grasse for a tough passage on (mostly) quiet roads past appealing hillside villas. The valley of the Var provides a swift descent down to the coast and the glorious promenade into Nice.

Note that a few sections of the route currently follow busy roads.

* And yes, that is possibly the cheesiest introduction to a cycle route description ever. Sorry about that.

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Ridden this route? Write a ride report and share your experience…

Sun 27 Jun 2021, 08:38

We cycled a part of the V65 in June 2021. While the Estérel Massif is very scenic, we could not do the route between Mandelieu la Napule and Saint Raphaël with heavy touring bikes and luggage: The road is closed shortly after leaving the D6007 behind Mandelieu due to a landslide. According to locals, it will not be rebuilt. Alternative is a unpaved dirt road nearby which we did not try.