Guide to Touring Motorcycles in South of France

The South of France offers some of the world’s best touring motorcycle roads. Cannes is an ideal starting point to discover the French Riviera, Provence and Alps by motorcycle. With 300 days of sunshine per year, you can ride a motorcycle in one of the most exhilarating European motorcycle tour spots all year round. International access is easy thanks to Cannes’ proximity to Nice Airport.

Many customers ask us for motorbike trip recommendations to explore the South of France. Having spent several years here and covered many miles on two wheels, we want to share the following 7-day round-trip with you. Obviously, this 7-day trip can be cut down to less days depending on your holiday schedule.

Below you find our preferred routes for motorcycling in France including GoogleMaps links. If you rent a bike from us with navigation system, we can program this trip onto our Garmin GPS. More than a few smiles per miles are waiting for you in the South of France.

 

Day 1 – Cannes to Aix-en-Provence via the Grand Canyon of France

We suggest picking up your rental motorcycle in the morning. This gives you time to pack the bike, familiarize yourself with everything and make sure you are happy with the set-up, ensuring the ultimate in hassle free motorbike holidays from start to finish.

Rather than taking the Autoroute A8 from Cannes to Aix-en-Provence, we suggest riding the Route Napoleon to the Grand Canyon of France. The Route Napoleon is one of our favorite roads. Sweeping bends and altitude changes make this a spectacular ride. Next is the Gorge de Verdon. Take the detour via the Route des Cretes. The road surface is not perfect, but the views across the Grand Canyon make up for it.

After lunch, you continue your motorcycle tour through the Grand Canyon and ride to Lake Saint Croix. This is a Kodak moment. Then continue through the Provence along scenic vineyards to Aix-en-Provence. We recommend staying overnight in the center of town to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the capital of the Provence.

232 km / 145 m / 4 h riding time - http://goo.gl/maps/2DkLj

 

Day 2 – Aix-en-Provence to Avignon via the Luberon National Park

After breakfast, continue your motorcycle tour by leaving Aix-en-Provence and following the signs to Rians. The roads get twisty and once you ride into the Luberon National Park, the scenery changes too. You continue your ride up to Forcalquier, the truffle capital of the Provence. If you like truffles, then this is the place to have lunch.

You then drive through the rolling hills of the Luberon and ride along lavender fields and vineyards. You will also pass through Lourmarin, which is a typical Provencal village. The book “A year in the Provence” by Peter Mayle was written there. Then ride up to Gordes, one of the prettiest Provencal villages and enjoy a coffee with a view over the Provence. The last leg takes you to Avignon, known for the Papal Palace and the Pont d’Avignon.

221 km / 138 m / 4.5 h riding time - http://goo.gl/1Qr9aY

 

Day 3 – Avignon to Grenoble via the Vercors National Park

This is one of the longest riding days of our South of France tours and we suggest you start nice and early. Leave Avignon behind and ride through the Cote du Rhone wine region. Next you storm up Mont Ventoux, which gained fame as a special stage of the Tour de France. Make sure to wear an additional layer, as it can get windy up there. Then follow the signs to Vercors National Park.
The Vercors National Park is known for its limestone caves. The nature is pretty and worth a few picture stops. Overnight stay in Grenoble.

312 km / 195 m / 5.5 h riding time - http://goo.gl/maps/Af2xL

 

Day 4 – Grenoble to Annecy via the Bauge National Park

As the previous day was intense, we planned a nice and easy ride for this day. Take your time to leave Grenoble and ride straight into the Chartreuse Mountains. The roads are beautiful and the scenery breathtaking. As per the above picture, Chartreuse is also a French liqueur produced by monks since 1740.
We recommend having lunch in Chambery. After this break, ride over into the Bauge National Park and get a first taste of the beauty of the Alps. The last leg takes you along beautiful Lake Annecy. Overnight in Annecy for a good night’s sleep.

121 km / 76 m / 3 h riding time - http://goo.gl/maps/jHW33

 

Day 5 – Rest day in Annecy

Take a day to explore Annecy, the capital of the Haute-Savoie region and its culinary delights. Motorcycling over several days can get tiring – mentally and physically. Always stay hydrated while riding to maintain your concentration.

 

Day 6 – Annecy to Briancon via the Col d'Iseran

Starting in Annecy, you ride to Albertville known for the 1992 Winter Olympics. And then the climb into the French Alps begins. You ride all the way to Val d’Isere, where we recommend fueling up and having a bite for lunch.
Then you are ready to cross our favorite alpine pass: the Col d’Iseran, which is a deciding stage of the Tour de France. Make sure to take a picture when you’re up there. It is an amazing motorcycle road. You then continue on the twisting D902 and swing left at Lake Mont Cenis to get to your overnight stay in Briancon (1326m), the highest city in Europe.

268 km / 168 m / 5 h riding time - http://goo.gl/maps/BXZhM

 

Day 7 – Briancon to Cannes via Europe’s highest paved road (2802m)

It is time to climb the Col de Bonette. At 2802m, this is Europe’s highest paved road. The route leading up the Col de Bonette is twisty and offers spectacular views. Due to the altitude it can get chilly. From the highest paved road in Europe, you then descend to the French Riviera on part of the Route des Grandes Alpes - an exceptional road, which snakes along different mountain rivers. Then, it is time for the last leg to Cannes. We suggest taking the A8 motorway from Nice to Cannes as the coastal road can get busy. All you then have to do is fill up the bike and return it at Motorbike Trip.

231 km / 145 m / 4.5 h riding time - http://goo.gl/maps/DgYWB

If you want to find out more about our motorcycle tours France or adapt the above routes to your holiday schedule, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are looking forward to hearing from you and keep the shiny side up!

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Discussion

Mark Moriarty said on May 07, 2017:

Your 7 day trip sounds wonderful! However, I am thinking about attending the Monaco Grand Prix in 2018. Would you be able to adjust the route to begin or end near Monte Carlo? Or would you just recommend renting a car for the race?
Also, is learning how to speak French important? (As I don’t) Or will I not have much difficulty speaking English along the entire route?

Thank you.

Dushyant Bhavsar said on July 04, 2016:

Hi team,
I literally very impressed by the guide provided above – I am here in Nice till July 11th morning and excited to plan 4-5days of tour here in South france.

Please help me design itinerary for this (any above 600CC motors should be fine with me)

Many thanks,
Dushyant

Matt McMahon said on June 17, 2016:

Do you by chance have any openings for a 5-7 day ride on a 500-800 cc starting June 20th for one person.

Thank you,
Matt

Lars R. Carlsen said on May 03, 2016:

Planning a trip this fall with several friends, all older, very experienced riders, looking to rent 650’ 700 cc bikes for 2 + weeks. Can you give us some idea of your price structure and what sort of motorcycles you might have available in late September early October. Thanks, Lars

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