Our last full day on the Cote d’Azur, we packed a picnic, left Cannes and headed off to explore and drive along the spectacular coast road known as the Moyenne Corniche. There is absolutely no better way to appreciate the natural beauty and diverse character of this place than by driving one of the coast roads. There are actually three, they are parallel and each delivers a different perspective on the Riviera.
The lowest road passes through the coastal resorts and apparently is always busy and can take a long time. We opted out of that due to time constraints and decided to allow a day to drive the Moyenne and Haute Corniche with plenty of leisurely stops thrown in for good measure.
Husband did his homework. He read the best way to do all this is take the Middle or Moyenne Corniche out of Nice and drive the Haute Corniche back. The middle road is two lanes in each direction and extremely busy. It does have no end of parking places though where you can pull up safely and admire the views. The views are also on the correct side of the road – you don’t need to cross.
The Haute Corniche is one lane in either direction and you do have to cross the road to take in the views. However it is easy to park just off the road and it’s not busy at all. This all worked a treat for us – I would definitely recommend this approach. Obviously driving Monte Carlo to Nice you would do it the opposite way round.
In Nice we found the signs for the Moyenne Corniche (relatively) easily. At first it was just urban views but as we climbed and left the city behind, the views started to change and became spectacular.
The Middle Corniche clings to the rocky backbone of the escarpment as it winds through the Mediterranean landscape. The views of the coast and the Riviera’s towns and villages below are just amazing. The road was built between 1910 and 1928 and they say it is less hair raising than the Grande Corniche – I didn’t find either to be a white knuckle ride but then to be fair, I wasn’t driving. Maybe I was just distracted by those views and Husband loves driving these kinds of roads.
This was the road Princess Grace of Monaco had her tragic accident. Her car plunged mysteriously from the Middle Corniche.
A real highlight was the view of Cap Ferrat and then the sudden appearance of the dramatic village of Eze, perched on a soaring rock and where we made our first long stop.