I have been riding down here with groups since 2011 – these are some of the (unedited!) comments I have received:
As a relative newcomer to cycling I was unsure if Azur Cycle Tours was going to be too tough for me. But Justin was great in responding to my concerns before I booked and providing reassurance.
It turned out to be 3 of the best rides I’ve done in the last 2 years – challenging but manageable, in a small group or just the 2 of us, with just the right level of attention.
I received some great advice on technique, which I’m putting to use in the Surrey hills. And obviously the stunning scenery, both of the coast and up in the hills, makes for an even more satisfying day in the saddle.
All in all, Justin goes out of his way to tailor your day – or days – of cycling to exactly what you need.
Justin was truly fantastic in helping to sort out bike hire and a ride for me in spectacular scenery.
I only had a limited time for the ride (on a cruise around the Med, in Villefranche for 1 day, never cycled in South of France before), but this was no problem for Justin.
Whatever your requirements, suggest that you just ask him.
I was very impressed and will be back when I have more time to enjoy some more of that scenery (if not the climbs!!)
Lewis, thanks again for a great day! I will definitely recommend your tour to my friends back home.
Just wanted to say thanks to you, Lewis and Paul for some great riding – I hope to see you again someday and will follow you on Strava and spread the word about you guys back home in the States!
Patrick (Michigan, USA)
It was a pleasure to ride with you and Lewis again this year. I really look forward to the next opportunity to do the same again.
Heikki and Heidi (Finland)
As promised I have attached a couple of pics from our adventure last week! I am still buzzing from it and not happy about being back here cycling on flat land! I actually rode Monday morning in the dark so I could pretend I was back in France. Haha.
Anyway I had a really great time last week due to you. Your generous hospitality is definitely noted and it really made the whole trip even more special! Cycling, swimming and wine. Doesn’t get any better than that!
I can guarantee you that I will be back! Definitely some time in 2016 so watch this space.
I have been singing your praises to everyone who will listen.
Thanks again Justin for giving me the opportunity to cross something off my bucket list. Cycling into Italy for lunch 🙂 #epic
Helena (Florida, USA)
What a great holiday – thank you so much. It far exceeded my expectations. The bikes were fantastic and the scenery around Nice marvellous — just those damn hills to get up first! Thanks for everything.
A group of 4 “late middle aged” men spent 5 fabulous days with Justin…we would all really recommend him… We stayed in very good accommodation and rode out every day on good quality Trek bikes. We had full choice as to the rides we did, but chose the more challenging ones. Being a “mixed ability” group, this posed some problems for Justin, but he coped with it superbly, shepherding us all though the more difficult bits and constantly cycling to front and rear to check that all were OK.
We cycled 4 climbs over the week, had nice tours through Nice, Monaco and over the border into Italy, visited some lovely old hill villages and had plenty of enjoyable cafe and lunch stops. Two of us chose to have a day of rest, which worked very well… Beaulieu is a lovely place to spend time in.
Justin is a very experienced, calm, conscientious and likable leader. We look forward to using him again.
Andy, Drew, Rob and Martin (UK)
It was an absolute great arrangement we made together with you during this year MIPIM conference in the Spring. We have afterwards received many very positive feedback statements from all the customers we had with us on the two rides we made with you and Paul. Basically they all ask us to do it again…Therefore Justin be prepared – we will most certainly be coming back to you to arrange an even larger scale setup for MIPIM-2016…:)
It was so great to ride with you and Paul – we feel you are part of the team now. Next year we will bring you jerseys, so it shows 🙂
We are already planning MIPIM 2016 (mostly dreaming about it) – so be sure to save the dates. We must connect in November/December to start the planning.
Oli and I are just about to head back to Australia. We wanted to thank you again for the great ride and also your fantastic hospitality. It was one of the highlights of our tour. Good luck for the rest of the summer and if you are ever in Melbourne please let us know and we would love to take you out for a spin!
Olivia and Oliver (Australia)
Hi Justin, thanks so much for making our trip unforgettable.
Anna (Sweden) and Nina (USA)
Thanks very much for a fantastic day of cycling. I’ll definitely be in touch when we’re next here for a longer spin. I started off thinking I’ll hire a bike and find my own way around but the huge value of your knowledge and company to keep me going made a the difference.
If you’re looking for a bespoke cycling experience in a beautiful part of the world with some excellent, scenic and challenging parcours, and (mostly) great weather, look no further. Justin knows this area like the back of his hand and made the trip stress-free as he took care of pretty much everything, including booking a hotel and restaurant for a cyclosportive in the Verdon Gorge, a stunning area of Provence about 2 hours inland.
There’s no three line whip forcing you to undertake rides you don’t fancy, but if you’re training for a big event, you’ve got the opportunity to do as much or as little as you like…pretty much straight from the apartment (Col d’Eze is about 15 minutes ride, Col de la Madone about an hour). Unlike the High Alps, you can get a lot of climbing in early season without freezing as you’ll be ascending from not much more than sea level most of the time too.
I’ll be going again, for sure.
Steve F (UK)
Training for La Marmotte
Just spent a great week with www.azurcycletours.com
Classic climbs and a few little known gems to ride, all made very special with stunning super cool accommodation. Right on the coast between Nice and Monaco with the famous Paris-Nice TT Col D’Eze on the door step.
Thank you Azur Cycle Tours.
Mike S (UK)
Mike is a cycling (and running) legend – repeat winner of the Cent Cols Challenge amongst an endless list of achievements (to which he has just added top-10 Strava on Col d’Eze!)
Typically seamless logistics from the moment you’re met at the airport. The base in Beaulieu is perfectly situated, everything falls into place effortlessly so you really can just focus on enjoying the adventure and relaxing in great company – whether back at base with the stunning Med views at sunrise / sunset over a coffee / beer, or dining out at the great local restaurants.
It’s the vision of a passionate cyclist sharing the best of the region. Iconic climbs, flowing coastal roads into Italy and a local cycling community in which you’re as likely so see famous pro’s as enthusiasts. This is a bespoke experience, even down to the option to get out on Justin’s speedboat for a different view! I have been back 4 times and each trip uncovers new highlights personally. That I’ll get in quality training miles for the race season is just the icing on the cake.
Paul E (UK)
Favourite Climb: Col de Braus – “Stunning climb with character and history. Rewarded with great views and descent to top it off.”
Trip highlight: “The sense of peace, achievement and camaraderie descending as a group back into Beaulieu, setting sun as a back drop, knowing that we had another day still to savour.”
I visited Beaulieu-sur-mer in mid February 2014. The weather was fantastic (similar to a warm spring day in the UK) and a welcome break from the harsh weather being experienced in the UK. Justin had arranged a minibus to transfer us and our equipment from Nice airport to the apartment (and back again at the end of the week) which was hassle free and efficient. The accommodation was great; finished to a high specification, great panoramic views of the sea, comfortable and clean, and was the perfect environment for relaxing after a long ride. The Wi-Fi connection was handy for checking emails, keeping in touch with home, and most importantly uploading rides to Strava / Training Peaks etc.
A typical day would start with a satisfying breakfast at the apartment, before heading out on the bikes along the coast, through the glitz and glamour of Monaco and Monte Carlo and then into the mountains. The area offered a wide variety of Cols for us to tackle and even in February we were able to climb to over 1000m (Col de la Madone). Justin’s local knowledge of the mountains, routes, coffee shops and restaurant stops meant that every ride was navigated perfectly– even on a few occasions when roads were closed and the route needed small ad-hoc diversions.
Pete H (UK)
Favourite Climb: Route de La Grave to Peille – “Although slightly less iconic and challenging than many of the cols that featured during our trip, for me this was one of the most memorable; peaceful, perfectly blue skies, sun breaking through the olive trees that lined the smooth tarmac road, switch backs, great views and ending in the pretty village of Peille.”
Trip highlight: “Col d’Eze time trial on the last day. Setting off at minute intervals brought everyone’s competitive spirit out – despite fatigued legs from the previous days. A great way to end the trip!”
Whilst attending a business conference in Cannes recently, I had the privilege of joining up with Justin and others for some cycling around the area of Nice, Monte-Carlo and Beaulieu. The area offers routes and terrains to cater for various levels of cycling fitness. The easier coastal routes are scenic with lots of opportunities to stop at amazing restaurants and cafés, and Justin also took us on the iconic Col de la Madone climb where we got to experience first-hand what a 12km, 7% gradient climb is all about.
Justin’s apartment is a great base to stay at in the area and provides easy access to all the great cycling routes. His hospitality, route-knowledge and personal cycling ability, make him a great person to cycle with – who needs a GPS when he is alongside you!!
Scott G (South Africa)
Road, mountain & tandem biker!
I first visited Beaulieu-sur-mer in July 2013, again in October 2013 and what a visit! 5 days of brilliant riding, with a great host. Justin knows the area like the back of his hand, he can give you a 50 mile route with some Cat 3 or 4 climbs, or for the more brave amongst us 100 miles with Cat 1’s or HC climbs! The area has so many beautiful climbs, and well-known climbs such as Col d’Eze and the “Armstrong” training climb, Col de la Madone.
Whatever riding you want it’s all there with brilliantly smooth roads. The area is nice and quiet with many very good restaurants less than 5 minutes walk away. Lovely apartment with wonderful sea views, very stylishly fitted out to a high standard.
It’s a real 5-star training camp!
Paul H (UK)
Paul finished top 50 in the 2013 Haute Route Alps, and also bagged a number of local Strava KOMs / top 10s in the course of his two trips to Beaulieu!
July & October 2013
Being relatively new to serious cycling and being my first cycling trip outside of the UK this was a real eye opener to me and I loved it! I really liked the fact that you can cycle around in a social bunch and then get to the foot of a climb and suddenly go all out like your life depends on it! Then half an hour later you’re sitting in a café enjoying a coffee and a pain au chocolat 🙂
Justin’s apartment in Beaulieu is fantastic, newly refurbished and with all mod-cons, not to mention the great views out over the Mediterranean. See if you can stay up to watch a DVD after a day in the saddle, we managed it once!
Beaulieu itself is a lovely place and a great base to ride from, roughly half way between Nice and Monaco; you can climb almost out of the front door and there are lots of different route options to choose from – not that we knew half the time where we were going as we just followed Justin.
Overall I had a fantastic trip and would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to get out of the UK and experience some ‘proper’ cycling! Justin is a fantastic host and luckily for us he also knows the local area like the back of his hand. Finally if you do go out with him don’t be fooled, he’s pretty quick up those hills!!
James W (UK)
Favourite climb: Col d’Eze – “The slightly more relaxed gradient and shorter distance mean that you can really give it some gas, without worrying too much about the consequences of blowing! And when you get back to the apartment you can compare your time to the pros (not advisable in my experience).”
Trip highlight: “Hard to pick, but probably cycling through Monaco on the F1 circuit and then 10 minutes later attacking the famous Col de la Madone!”
I have been lucky enough to go on two cycling trips with Azur. On both occasions I had an amazing time. The cycling in the region is stunning and every bit as challenging as the Alps. Riding from the door of the apartment you are met with sensational views of the Mediterranean. Depending on your route the climb can begin within minutes of departing or you can ease yourself in along the beautiful coastal road.
Justin is a very considerate host and with his unrivalled knowledge of the area will plan routes to suit the group’s abilities. Some days we would be on the bikes all day, climbing 1000s of metres through sensational scenery. On more ‘tired’ days we would do a short ride to a cafe with a view and roll back to the beach for some R&R.
The apartment is more than comfortable and waking up to the view of the med from the balcony instantly “shuts up” any aching legs. After the day’s riding, Beaulieu has many excellent restaurants to choose from and Justin knows and is known at the best of them. I recommend the paella at Les Vents d’Anges!
So if you are looking for challenging riding, a host who can plan the perfect routes and first class accommodation then look no further.
Simon J (UK)
October 2012 & July 2013
Favourite climb: La Madone d’Utelle
Trip highlight: “Descending off the Col des Champs returning to Guillaumes – a stunning 30-minute descent at the end of a 90-mile, 3500m+ day!”
I am fortunate to have had the privilege of staying with Justin at his amazing apartment in Beaulieu twice this year for a couple of training long-weekends. The long weekend trips work really well to get two full days training and two half days training with only one or two days “holiday” needed to be taken for a fantastic training effect! Justin has a great setup for small cycling groups with efficient and helpful advice on travel and transfers to his apartment. His apartment is first class with great finish throughout (including importantly the beds!) and safe storage for bikes.
But most importantly you could not find a more friendly and helpful guide, brilliant company for the whole trip and also great cycling knowledge both in terms of route advice and guidance (either straight out up into the hills or along the coast knowing the best routes through Nice and Monaco and other routes along the way to minimise “faff time” around towns and also, obviously vital, the best café stops!)
My first trip this year was in February which is a very early trip in terms of having good weather conditions for France; it was planned as 4 days for some good winter base miles and I was prepared for cold and wet weather dodging possible rain showers and was likely to have been mainly rides along the coast with a few hills thrown in. However conditions were great and I managed to ride the entire Ironman Nice route (vital for my preparations to race there later in the summer) and managed the whole route (plus to Nice and back so nearly 200km) including even the higher cols which had some snow at the sides of the road but roads still clear and amazing tarmac as ever!
My second trip was a group trip with friends and Justin did an amazing job as always selecting rides which would be suitable for the whole group but making sure the route included climbs to suit all abilities to make sure good training was had by all and again everyone had a fantastic time. So within the two trips managed to cover rides both around 100km west as well as east into Italy; stunning scenery and amazing climbs every time!
I have been lucky enough to go on training camps all over the world mainly cycling as well as triathlon training) but for cycling the South of France and particularly the area around Nice really is hard to beat particularly in terms of scenery and the selection of climbs available. Each year it’s the one place I keep returning to compared to, for example, Lanzarote and Mallorca although generally they will have favourable weather (although that is debatable!) and also some good roads they just don’t match Nice and particularly Beaulieu.
Staying with Justin is an all-round experience. It almost goes without saying, but Justin also knows the local restaurants very well and we could easily eat at a different restaurant each day (although one of them was so good it tends to be the default choice!). Although it would be easy to visit Nice for an evening meal or nightlife, Beaulieu is a lot less “touristy” and the food was always top-notch so we stayed in Beaulieu on my trips so far. And personally as a baked-goods fan (croissants and bread in particular), happy to do the bakery run each morning (two great bakeries within a few minutes walk). That combined with his well-used-and-loved Nespresso machine plus amazing cycling and hospitality I take no persuasion for return visits in the future!
Rob G (UK)
Rob is one of the UK’s top amateur triathletes and competed at the Ironman Kona world championships in 2009, 2011 and 2013 – in 2011, Rob came 5th in age group and 42nd overall
February and March 2013
I spent 5 days with Justin in March 2013, riding with a group of cycling / triathlon friends all of similar ability. Justin was a fantastic host both on and off the bike, with excellent knowledge of the area and also, crucially, a great ability to tailor rides depending on how everyone in the group is feeling and on the weather. Justin made his apartment, with all mod cons and recently renovated, feel like a home from home (though rather smarter than my home!).
The location in Beaulieu is along the coast from Nice, but easy to get to from the airport…Beaulieu seems better than Nice as a location to ride from as there are options to ride out without having to go through the busy city, and there are plenty of options for eating out if needed. Riding out along the coast to warm up, losing count of the number of supercars spotted, then up into the beautiful mountains with views over the French Riviera was the usual fare and hard to beat. I guess that’s why so many pros base themselves in the area.
We stayed with Justin while the Paris-Nice race was taking place, which was great as we could ride the Col D’Eze time trial stage, then watch the pros put us to shame, and Justin’s contacts at Team Sky added extra interest.
Matthew G (UK)
Club cyclist, time triallist
Trip highlight: “I particularly enjoyed a ride through Monaco and over the border into Italy, quick stop at a great cafe, then up into the mountains to return, and the weather was fine in the mountains even in March.”
Beaulieu makes a great base for the trip, with superb riding options in both directions along the coast and up into the Alpes Maritimes – from Nice through Monaco and into Italy. In the morning you can be having a coffee on the balcony and looking out over the Med, and by lunchtime you can be up at 1600m in wild mountains – then back again for dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants in the town.
The views from almost every climb are stunning, with some real icons in the Col d’Eze and the Col de la Madone and an almost limitless number of other great climbs.
The apartment is very modern, stylish and comfortable, and Justin is a tremendous host – full of local knowledge and seemingly with an in-built map of mountain passes and picturesque lunchtime restaurants in his head. It all adds up to make for a great combination of Cote d’Azur chic plus seriously good riding, with a sprinkling of World Tour pro riders out on the roads too. No wonder Team Sky base themselves there…
James A (UK)
Road racer & time triallist
March 2012 and March 2013
Favourite climb: La Madone d’Utelle
I just wanted to thank you for another fantastic trip to Beaulieu, and for being such a great host as always! I was worried that coming in March, the weather might not be as good as previous trips, but my fears were unfounded as it was great and the trip served as a great way to kick start the season.
Whereas the High Alps and Pyrenees are still snow bound in March, it’s great to have so many great climbs that are so accessible at this time of year.
Andy B (UK)
LVRC road racer, mountain biker
May 2011 & March 2012
Trip highlight: “The highlight of the trip though was undoubtedly catching the end of Paris-Nice. Cheering Wiggins on as he claimed victory in the TT was special and something I won’t forget for a while!”
We visited Beaulieu in 2011 – it was some of the best cycling I have experienced – the combination of fair weather, beautiful scenery and challenging terrain made it a cyclists’ paradise. The food on the beachfront in Menton was pretty amazing too!
Andrew B (UK)