The terrain to the west of Nice is very different to the terrain north and east, and the Col de Vence typifies it…the roads tend to be more exposed with fewer trees. The Vence is a great climb, heading north out of the eponymous town and winding its way up onto an enormous plateau.
Just short of the summit there are a couple of fantastic viewpoints looking back down all the way to the coast with Nice to your left and Cannes to your right. For those working too hard on the way up to enjoy the view, it’s worth turning around once you’ve reached the top and heading back down for a few hundred metres and taking a little time.
The Col de Vence often features as the final climb of the penultimate stage of Paris-Nice before they swoop down into Nice and the long flat finish on the Promenade des Anglais, as well as sportives such as the Haute Route or Raids such as Geneva-Nice, but they tackle it from the north side, which is less of a climb and more of a long false-flat…the climbing takes place a lot earlier and well before the Col de Vence itself.