A few years ago, my sister and I had the best day in Argentina, biking between wineries, sampling olive oil and wine. Those blissful moments are still some of the best – the combination of biking with someone you like on a hot, sunny day, stopping to sip some of the best wines of the region. So obviously when my friend Caley suggested that we rent bikes to explore the wine region of Nice, I was immediately on board.
We set off in the morning and after picking up our bikes, we cruised easily down the beautiful separated bike path that runs the entire length of the beach from downtown Nice to the airport. After a bit of confusion, we were able to get onto a north-south bike path that runs along a river, heading toward the wineries. It was one of those baffling paths that starts as a pristine bike highway, then when you get comfortable, turns into a rocky gravel path, from which there is no obvious escape.
Sometimes using logic is a real detriment to bike touring. I had looked at the map and thought we could take the path then hop onto a perpendicular road with little issue, and zip up to the wineries.
I was very wrong. Along the entire length of the bike path is a huge incline, usually completely covered in thick, prickly shrubbery. Also, on the other side of the embankment just happens to be a highway.
Seeing no other option, Caley gamely joined me as we hoisted our bikes up the steep hill, heaved them over the guard rail, and RAN to the safety. (This is why most people don’t join me on my bike adventures, I think…). After stopping at a posh grocery store and having a picnic in the parking lot, like classy ladies, we headed on our way. We didn’t quite realize until that moment that the rest of the route would be switchbacks straight up a mountain. The views were quite spectacular:When we arrived at the first winery Domaine de Toasc we faced a closed gate. Our understanding of french was clearly completely rubbish because we interpreted the sign as “Drat, it is closed today.” As a car pulled in the driveway behind us, we confidently informed the woman that “it is closed.” She happened to work at the winery and was like “ummm nope.”
She let us in to take a look around. It was very pretty!Despite the small amount of death-defying and the large amount of sweating through our clothes, we were pretty pleased to be there.The staff at Domaine were incredibly lovely. We did a tasting and learned tons about wine and this small, relatively new winery. Our second stop was just a bit further up the side of the mountain to Chateau de Cremat. Chateau de Cremat is the oldest winery in the region and is striking and elegant. You enter through large gates and are confronted with this beautiful “castle” tower. Everything was immaculately maintained and stunningly beautiful. Even though the staff was busy preparing for a wedding event that was taking place on the grounds that afternoon, we were still able to have a lovely tasting. We pretty much sailed home – down the switch-backs, darted back across the highway, down the steep embankment, along the gravel, and home again. We brought a few bottles back with us to share with the rest of the crew, and had another delightful Nice evening, sitting, sipping, chatting, and laughing.