P.A.C.A. Road Trip - Day 4

6AM on Wednesday, Barcelonnette, I open the curtains and…blue sky and sunshine! Well, the PACA region benefits from 300 days of sunshine per year, so, of course, that helps riders like us.

Our first destination is the Col de la Bonnette, the highest peak in Europe at 2,802 m. (9,192 ft.).

My friend Joe is our guide this morning. He knows the area inside out as he used to work as ski-man at Isola 2000, one of the largest ski resorts around here. It’s nice not to lead for a while and I happily follow him as we go up and up and up. He warned us that we’d be losing half a degree Celsius per 100m, and sure enough by the time we arrived up there, the temperature was at 0° C and snow had been surrounding us for quite some time.

Once up there, the 360° view is mind blowing! Snowy peaks, crystal blue sky, we are speechless. Then, of course, the kid side of us surfaces again and snowballs start flying around.

Then we ride back down towards Bousiéyas, from there down to Saint-Etienne de Tinée, then Isola Village on one of the best road of this trip.

It actually feels more like a speed track with long curves and smooth, yet grippy, tarmac.

Lunch in Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée, then down towards the French Riviera through Saint-Paul-de-Vence to finally get to Marina Baie des Anges between Nice & Antibes.

Today was the day of extremes.

From 2,800 meters to sea level, from the highest peak in Europe down to a jacuzzi on the sea-front, from 0° C / 32° F to 23° C / 73° F (even higher in the jacuzzi!). Not too many places in the world offer that kind of variety!

Photos by Laurent Viard