Both sides of the Col de Braus are rewarding, although the “classic” route is the one from L’Escarene which includes some beautifully engineered stacked hairpins, whilst the climb from Sospel offers some amazing views to the North and East. It’s a cracking descent too, back down to L’Escarene.

Col de Braus with 3km to go


At the top of the climb is a memorial to René Vietto, one of the region’s best-loved cyclists and who in 1934 sacrificed his own chances in the Tour de France when, as virtual leader on the road and at the bottom of the descent, he learnt his team captain had crashed. He turned around, climbed back up the mountain against the flow of riders coming down (it was legal to do so in those days), and handed his bike over to his team captain who managed to retain the race lead. Vietto still managed to finish 5th overall.