Nestled between the mountains and the sea, the capital of the French Riviera still blends the blue hues of the Bay of Angels with the white peaks of the Mercantour massif at this time of the year. Just a few turns of the pedals are enough to get to the foot of the most stunning climbs in the Nice Côte d'Azur metropolitan area, right in the middle of jaw-dropping mountain landscapes. The sporting heart of this region beats all the way from the Promenade des Anglais to the fabled Col de la Bonette, which peaks at 2,715 masl on the highest road in Europe. It is a real paradise for a wide range of sports, which can now be practised in all seasons: skiing, sailing, running, mountain biking, hiking, mountaineering and, of course, cycling and cycling tourism. Snow is likely to greet the peloton near the top of the Col de Turini in March.
The mountains near Nice have long set the scene for great sporting achievements. Just like other parts of the Southern Alps, the Col de Turini first helped forge the legend of the famous Rallye Monte-Carlo and, to this day, it remains hallowed ground for the race. Its summit at 1,607 masl rewards riders with a unique view of the Mediterranean after a gruelling climb replete with hairpin bends. The Col de Turini is making its Paris-Nice debut this year, but the Tour de France has already visited it three times: in 1948, when Louison Bobet, clad in yellow, crowned the summit in first place en route to a stage win in Cannes; in 1950, when Breton Jean Robic went first over the top, only to come up short against Switzerland's Ferdi Kübler on the Promenade des Anglais; and in 1973, when Spaniard Vicente López Carril scored a double whammy, first on the Col de Turini and then in the finish in Nice.