ETR // Stage 47 // Cuneo - Castellane

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  • Cuneo - Castellane
  • Radius 100 km
  • 191 km


  • Alpes-Maritimes Natural Park
  • Monte Argentera
  • Col de la Lombarde
  • Gorges du Cians
  • Gorges de Daluis
  • Guillaumes
  • Gardienne des Gorges
  • Mercantour National Park
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Alpes-Maritimes Natural Park

This morning starts with a different kind of ride - 9km in a straight line - as you ride directly southeast out of Cuneo towards Borgo San Dalmazzo. From there, stay on the SS21 and let it lead you back out into the foothills again, around the outskirts of Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime past Monte Argentera, which at 3,297m is the highest peak in the Maritime Alps, with dramatic views from the summit if you have the time and energy to climb it!

Crossing over at Col de la Lombarde

Leaving Italy behind for now, but not for the last time, you cross over into France at Col de la Lombarde, along a scenic mountain road on the French-Italian border connecting Vinadio to Isola, and you can look forward to some great riding through the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France. When you reach Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée, head west along the D30 until you reach Beuil, where you have to make a couple of decisions: Gorges du Cians? Or Gorges de Daluis? Or both?

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Mercantour National Park and Gorges du Cains

Just after Roubion and before you arrive in Guillaumes, you can take a detour south at Beuil and ride through the spectacular Gorges du Cians carved from burgundy coloured rock. To explore the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in more detail, you could actually to a loop eastwards again at Touët-sur-Var, then head into the hills again at Villars-sur-Var along the D26 to Tournefort, then onto Rute de la Tinée at Pont de Clans.

Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée is 25 km up the valley, Follow the M2205 north to Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée, and at a junction just north of the town, you can continue on up the valley, or change onto the M30 heading west back towards where you started at Roubion along the D30 (Route de Roubion). The D30 winds up through a series of steep switchbacks and heads west towards Beuil, Valberg and Guillaumes. Further west at Guillaumes, the road goes south through the Gorges de Daluis, for some spectacular riding. The Gardienne des Gorges guards the northern entrance to the Dalius gorges. There are many spectacular roads in this region, so you are well-advised to spend some hours or days exploring them, before you get back onto the main ETR backbone.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS


  • Dave O'Byrne

  • European Touring Route AS



  • Alpes-de-haute-Provence
  • La Citadelle d'Entrevaux
  • Entrevaux Motorcycle Museum
  • Pont de la reine Jeanne
  • Saint-Julien-du-Verdon
  • Lac de Castillon
  • Barrage de Castillon
  • Castellane
  • Route Napoléon
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

La Citadelle d'Entrevaux

As you ride the D2202 past Pont sur le Var along Gorges de Dalius you cross over between Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-haute-Provence and the road becomes the D902. Head southeast along the D4202 to Entreveaux, where you're in for an experience! The medieval walled town, La Citadelle sits perched on a rocky outcrop in an angle of the river, with a commanding view over the approaching roads.

Following incursions of Saracens and the razing of the old town of Glandèves, the more defensible site of medieval Entrevaux was founded in the 11th century. In 1658 a bridge guarded by towers and a portcullis was constructed over the Var river, now the modern Porte Royale. In 1690 the military architect Vauban drew up plans to further fortify the town, due to its strategic position guarding the valley of the Var and on the border with Savoy. Although not completed in full, the citadel perched high above the town was strengthened, particularly on the more accessible side closest to the hilltops, and a protected walkway constructed up the side of the mountain from the town. Two small forts were provided to protect the town, and its two main gates were strengthened - now known as the Porte d'Italie and the Porte de France.

Entrevaux was briefly besieged in June 1707 by the royalist Savoyards under Chevalier Blaignac, but resisted and was relieved by the French forces. The citadel was last used during World War I as a prison for German officers. Outside the city walls, a working 19th-century oil mill is still in production and can be visited. Behind The Citadel, you'll find a motorcycle museum with a working collection of early, mostly European models.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Chill out at Lac de Castillon

Follow the D4202/N202 west from Entrevaux again, along Rute de Grenoble passing Pont de la reine Jeanne, over Col de Toutes Aures, through the town of Vergons and you'll eventually arrive at Saint-Julien-du-Verdon - a good place for coffee, lunch, dinner, or something else to make you stop there on the shores of Lac de Castillon for a while. Make sure your camera is charged up, and you have plenty of space for photos and videos, as your camera is about to get a lot heavier, with all the shots you'll be taking.

Barrage de Castillon

After a nice 7km ride south along the lakeside you'll reach the spectacular Barrage de Castillon, the dam and electrical plant at the mouth of the Verdon River. Lac de Castillon was created by flooding the village of the same name, and The Castillon Dam holds around 150,000,000 m3 of water, and looking out over the lake, you realise that it's quite a weight being held back. Between 1929 and 1975, five dams were erected on the course of the Verdon river between Castellane and Gréoux-les-Bains. These dams hold back water in the following reservoirs - Lac de Castillon, Lac de Sainte-Croix, flooded the village of des Salles-sur-Verdon, Lac d'Esparron-Gréoux, the reservoir at Chaudanne, and the reservoir at Quinson.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Crossing Route Napoléon at Castellane

Continue over to Castellane, and you'll cross The Route Napoléon, which was the route taken by Napoléon in 1815 on his return from Elba. Crossing Castellane at the intersections of routes D955, D952, D4085, and D102, the route begins at Golfe-Juan, where Napoleon disembarked 1 March 1815, beginning the Hundred Days that ended at Waterloo. The road was inaugurated in 1932 and meanders north-northwest from the French Riviera along the foothills of the Alps.

Detour along Route Napoléon for a while

Route Napoléon is marked along the way by statues of the French Imperial Eagle, and runs through the towns of Antibes, Grasse, Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey, Castellane, Digne, Sisteron, Gap, crossing Col Bayard at 1,246 m, then on through Corps, La Mure, Laffrey until it reaches Grenoble. If you wanted to follow this spectacular route south or north,, now is your chance, and it's well worth a few days detour, before you rejoin the ETR a little further south - or north. But actually to ride it in the other direction back to Castellane is also a great option.

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