From Mountains – Alpes de Haute-Provence

Trans Provence – a biketrip of a lifetime! Spend some unforgetable days on epic trails crossing the french departements “Alpes de Haute-Provence” and “Alpes Maritimes”. Experience the beauty of the Mercantour national park and ride iconic trails in surreal landscapes. Cross the provencal mountains from historic cities through small, dreamy mountain villages to the glamorous Cote d’Azur. We did this amazing trip in 2017 as guided tour…

Cutback to August 2017

Bike guide Markus and shuttle driver & organisation talent Fabian pick up our group of friends along the way to Briancon. The late afternoon arrival leaves just enough time for a short stroll to the UNESCO heritage fortress and the historic center before we meet again for dinner where the plans for the next days are discussed with the group. The depiction of the days- and trails ahead increases our excitement. A few glasses of wine later we´re all ready to hit the pillows.

Overture. Early the next day we drive to Embrun and up the mountains. Shortly after leaving the asphalt road the shuttle drops us off on a forest road and we start to pedal. The gradient is mellow, it’s sunny weather and the high valley is beautiful – a super start into our trip. Soon the pedalling part is over and we have to push and carry our bikes to the first pass. We can see large parts of the trail from here and it looks beautiful! Quickly we get ready and follow Markus on this fantastic trail. With a lot of flow and few technical spots it takes us to a small mountain refuge where we stop for coffee and snacks. What a brilliant start! A short bit on a gravel road takes us to the next trail which takes us down into a rocky ravine. After another hike-a-bike through a fly-infested forest we arrive at a ridge with a trail made in heaven. Along the drop-off and through the forest we fly down to Barcelonette.

Flow heaven. Day 2 starts with a shuttle to Col d’Allos, a famous Tour de France stage. The shuttle is more to our liking, the week will be long enough… The trail starts narrow with a little up and down to a hillock. From here a beauty of a trail takes us to Allos, so many nice corners! After a short uphill and another trail Fabian welcomes us with a picnic with local specialities. We spend some time eating and snoozing in the sun before we have to pedal to the next trail head. Only about an hour uphill through the forest. In a hairpin turn of the forest road an inconspicuous trail branches off. Shortly after it becomes spectacular, partially narrow and technical. Over a last big rock slab we roll into the little village Colmars. Markus offers a bonus lap on the other side of town and recommends a swimming spot for those who prefer to chill in the afternoon.

Grey Earth. After two long epic trails from Col de Champs we arrive in Villeneuve d’Entraunes on the third day, where the iconic grey earth trail is located. The compact mix of sand and grit baked together has a lot of grip and the landscape forms a natural rollercoaster or bobsled run. Biking delirium!

To the sea – Alpes MAritimes

National Park. The fourth day takes us to- and along the border of the Mercantour national park. Riding the trail from the Cime de Chamousillon back to Saint-Martin d’Entraunes non-stop with my friends is one of the best bike memories of my life! Our shuttle picks us up at the bottom and takes us to the Valberg ski resort. We are happy to leave the seemingly artificial resort quickly and head into the forest. Rough trails take us to the beautiful and picturesque mountain village Roubion – what a contrast! We descend into a valley where a rockfall has buried the path. We have to carry our bike for a few hundret meters over car-sized boulders until we find it again. Spectacular above a steep gorge it takes us Saint-Saveur-sur-Tinée. After this long day we make it just in time to our hostel for the night.

Endless downhills. On day 5 we climb the mountain from Valdeblore in the shuttle first, and by bike a little later. After a traversing trail along the mountain and a short snack we dive into the forest  and enjoy endless corners and a fast mix of roots and rocks in forest soil. Almost 15 km of trail. The next downhill is even longer! First in the forest with steep sections, then noticably more mediterranean over rocky and loose sections we fly down to L’Escarène.

Arrival at the sea. On our last day we get served a switchback massacre for breakfast, a nice wake-up call which reminds us to stay focused for the last kilometers. We all feel the tiredness of the last days! The next trail to Sospel is flowy again, the shuttle picks us up and takes us to Castellar. We shortly visit the little village before we start our last downhill. On a mix of stairs and solid mediteranean soil we make our way to Menton. A short stop at the supermarket, to buy beers, and off to the beach. Happy faces everywhere as we think back to the amazing days we had and discuss which was the best trail and the most epic day…


Tour Facts
  • 6 days
  • 6000-9000m uphill
  • 150000-20000m downhill

This tour is best done with guide and shuttle! The logistics of connecting the trail stages, accomodation and luggage transport is otherwise challenging. There are several tour operators with a Trans Provence in their portfolio… We have booked this tour with FlatSucks, they tailored us a fantastic private custom tour for our group of friends. We strongly recommend contacting them for details of their annual trips or your custom offer!