Just done this route and it’s incredible; this time of the year is highly recommended very little tourist driving around so great for bikes- safe ride
N85 is the famous Napoleon Road. Fantastic mountain road. Very twisty road with a few highway connection. Very popular motorcycle road.
Add to this a coastal road on the french riviera or Côte d´azur with cities like Cannes, Antibes and Nice to make it perfect. You can even push your way up to Monaco, about half an hour from Nice, using a great coastal road or the highway tunnel...
First I was bit disappointed but it changed a lot by going more to the south. When I saw Clue de la Roche Percée was much more I expected. Just for this small piece is worth of 5 stars.
I did this route last weekend, it´s as good as everyone says! Amazing!
Castellane is one of my biking spiritual homes.
....But from my experience over the past couple of years, beware on the roads in and out of Barreme. There is often a police presence and they are very keen on handing out very hefty fines ans 6 month bans.
my self and 2 friends rode this road back in july 2012 on the way home from monaco and loved every meter of it the roads were some of the best quality iv ever seen even the remote mountin roads were clean and smooth with breath taking views and stunning little towns dotted along the rought i would give up my left nut to be back there again
A stunning road with lots of different sections but all of them good. A "must do" road for all bikers at least once in their lives (although having done it once you'll want to go again).
Just done this route - its the best road i've ever ridden!! No traffic no police it was like one long trackday!!
I drove down to the med just go on this road, it was very good and enjoyable for me and my pillion, I wish there were more police as there were some very dangerous speedsters hairing around the hairpins coming the other way. I never speed although my bike is a big sports bike, going around smooth at 30 - 70 around corners is good. Some of the road surfaces near the top of the pass when the road was very narrow nervous as there was alot of debri of small stones/gravel on the road. it was quite amusing to see a UK guy on a fireblade giving us hassel beeping all the time as we went down the hairpins at this point at about 10mph come off the next corner as he overtook us giving my young son a v sign as he passed.. no I didnt stop.
All the foreign bikers we met were very friendly and F1 hotels bike friendly, I can't find any "biker" cheap hoelts all the ones we saw were 3 or 4 times the cost of Formula one hotels on this ro.ute.
It was such a pleasure to ride, we turned around at one point and did that 4 mile stage again, lovely weather helped.
Not a poy hole in sight.
Having read about Route Napoleon in a bike mag, I teed up the version of the route from BestBikingRoads.com in my GPS. Heading south towards Cannes, the first section of the route on this site is an unreal roller coaster, best suited to a Supermoto I reckon, but fun on any competent bike (I was on a K1200GT, and I had a blast. And one hell of a workout.) Anyway, Route Napoleon as a whole is basically a whole day of awesome riding, with different sections of the route better suited to different kinds of machinery, fast and flowing sections interspersed with challenging and nadgery. Most of the road surface is truly excellent, and indeed great chunks of it seem to be resurfaced every year so theres a lot of new tarmac, but there were sections in the high passes that clearly needed to be next on the list for replacing as a matter of urgency. And the scenery... stunning. Although looking at it while riding is not recommended!
Have done quite a bit of touring in France, Germany, Spain, but this is THE BEST road I have ever ridden on. Did it with Spyder Club swapping between S1000RR, MV F4, Aprilia RSV4! Approx 200 miles of bends of all types over several mountain ranges, some stretches just like a race track. This a perfect road for a sports bike, with slow, medium, fast and very fast corners on a really good surface. Late June, did not see a single copper and for most of the route hardly any traffic. Which bike best? MV was really nice, but the Beemer just handles everything with so much feedback and drops into corners more easily. RSV4 has nicest engine, followed by MV. Yes I am selling my Gixser!
Biking nirvana. Hairpins, switchbacks, climbs, drops, fantastic views (particularly southwards to the Riviera coast from south of Escragnolles. The section between Gap and Digne (through Sisteron) gives you a bit of welcome respite, but the run down from Castellane to Cannes is probably the part that most riders will cherish.
Combined with a detour around the spectacular Gorges du Verdon (south of Digne, west of Castellane), the Route Napoleon between Grenoble and Cannes is worth taking a couple of days over.
Be wary of snow on the higher altitudes between Grenoble and Gap.
rode this rout in 2008 going again in 2010 this is a must in my opinion the best road i have been on and nice and long as well the best 3 hours of riding.
Due to circumstances beyond my control I did this route on a Blackbird in very early October 2009. The first section from Grasse to Gap was just fabulous, beautiful weather and I arrived at Gap at about 3.30pm ready for a beer a meal and an early night - bad mistake. I set off the following day about 8am, and ran into below freezing fog, visibilty about 30 feet. Journey from hell.
Conclusion: The weather in the Alps can change in an instant, you really do not want to be where I was. Please be aware and check forecasts.
I will be doing the ride again June 2010!!
I love this route more and more as the years go by.
I like to bring each new bike I buy down here to experience the thrill of it.
IMHO I think that sports or sports/touring machines do best here although Ive had massive fun on a supermoto too.
Its wonderful to arrive at the coast after a day up in the hills.
I used to stay in Castellane evry summer but have moved to Forcalquier (04). There some real good biking roads around the whole region. One of the options is to head for Barcelonette and you can loop the trip in a day (long day...)and end back in Castellane without every going over the same piece of tarmac.
I fell upon this route, quite by accident in the summer of 08. Riding from the UK to Cannes, I wanted to avoid the tedious motorway so opened the map and followed the road over the mountains. It is simply amazing, an epic journey up and down 3 mountains. I only wish I had the time to stop more often but I recommend you take a day to do this as there are many beautiful villages and places to rest up. Gap is a wonderful town, full of bike loving locals and makes a perfect place to stop half-way and grab a bite to eat. Overall, I cant recommend this road enough- if youre in the area, you must do it!!
Did the stretch between Digne Les Bains and Grasse this year. Despite torrential rain this was brilliant, possibly the best road Ive ridden. Lots of bends, open one ones, closed ones, hairpins, you name it. Some bits are fas, others are slower.In early June on a rainy day it wasnt busy, though there were some cars bimbling along.
We did spot a pair pair of Police bikers with a speed gun south of Barreme, there are two static cameras on the VERY fast bit between Barreme and Digne, so be aware.
Rode this in 2005,2006 and 2007.An absolute must,bikers heaven.From 100mph sweepers to 20mph hairpins.Love the tight section just north of Castellane and the fast twisty section just before St Vallier-de Thiey.Can be congested but also plenty of easy overtaking places. Riden in Sept and May both fine but can get damp surface up on the higher ground.Nearly 200 miles of fabulas road.Only dull section about 20miles just south of Sisteron.
Did this route in 05 on the way down to Monaco on a blade and thought it was fantastic
Some film of the hairpins attached
Recently did this route in full from Cannes to Grenoble and it's a fantastic route. The Grasse - Digne stretch is a classic mountain road - loads of bends, great surface - where you can really open a bike up. The bit in the middle from Sisteron to Gap is dull with a lot of traffic. Once through Gap the road gets going again and offers some fantastic riding. I followed a French biker along this stretch who seemed to know the twists and turns very well. This is a seriously fast piece of road with some fantastic open bends.
Generally regarded as one the best biking routes in Europe and very popular with bikers heading to/from the coast.
travelled from grenoble to gap in sept 2005 excellent piece of road good surface and plenty of corners the hairpins into gap are worth going up and down a couple of times (we did) this road will put a grin on any biker
I did this road on my way home from Cannes - Grasse - Castellane section: Cannes a couple of years ago and it proved to be one of the highlights of the trip. Every sort of corner you could wish for, from mountain hairpins to 100mph sweepers, all on superb clean, smooth tarmac. An absolute must if you find yourself in this part of France.
Awesome, one of the best roads in Europe. Mix of fast and twisty, easy to get carried away, the drops over the edge make you focus hard on the road. Grasse to Digne les Bains (southern half) the best bit, can then be combined with D993 or D994 for fantastic days riding.
Cannes - Grasse - Castellane section: Did this on a Jota in 83 on the way back from the Bol. Dont stop at Grasse keep on going all the way to Albertville and then the Rhone valley and over the Furka pass into Switzerland. Got to have been one of the best - and longest - ridding days of my life.
Cannes - Grasse - Castellane section: I have to give this road an exceptional rating. Especially when you're near Grasse. Billiard table smooth, constant radius curves, fast sweepers.
Custom built for a motorcycle.
Rechts und Links eine sehr schöne Gegend wenn man möchte
findet man sogar noch einsame Ecken bzw.super nette Hotelies
Route taken by Napoleon on his return to France from Elba.
He had to go this way as most towns were very hostile
to him. A great way to get to the Côte d'Azure.
Cannes - Grasse - Castellane section:Totally agree, just done this route southbound with permanent grin!
Cannes - Grasse - Castellane: The road is wonderful up to Digne-les-Bains! If you have a sportsbike, it is just a dream, as if the road was built for it :-D It really looks like a track. Its only drawback: it is a road. There are more and more often police controls, and many tourists during the season. I recomend to ride it on june or september; it is exceptionnal then ;-)
Cannes - Grasse - Castellane section: start the fun at Gap and travel down to Cannes - it's a gentle run downhill and makes for easier overtakes going opposite to this route. strange how some roads "work" better one way than the other, eh? nice fast sweeping roads all the way from the mountains to the coast...
Cannes - Grasse - Castellane section: Done this route a few times now on the way to the Grand Canyon. Excellent ride, with good visibilty on fast corners, made for Blades and R1's. Also known as Route Napoleon.
View of Castellane from the north just after the twisties.
This is a 4 week old R1 whose rider failed to pay attention on the N85. Rider battered and bruised and as sick as a parrot.
Le Bistro du Col on the top of le Col des Leques...
The view from the top of le Col des Leques...
The view from Le Bistro du Col...