The Corniche des Cévennes is a classic route made popular in the nineteen twenties when motorsport was being defined. The Corniche is not particularly high but its outline can be recognised on the skyline from across the Rhône valley or the Ardèche or Mont Ventoux.
Riding out from Marseille on a fine May morning across the Camargue with a pause at Nîmes. Pentecost means corrida (bull-fights) in the Roman amphitheatre, with stalls outside grilling selling tauro-burgers, those are burgers of bull steak, though maybe not fresh meat from the arena as the bulls and the toreadors are aren’t meant to be killed... these days. But a bit of reality about what an amphitheatre would have smelt like in Roman times during the Games.
On through the vines of the Costières de Nîmes with the hills of the Cévennes in the distance. Another pause in Anduze, famous for Andouillette d’Andouze, a type of pork saucission with a name that's an all but impossible tongue-twister for non-French speakers. So a favourite on French menus intended for tourists!!!
The high level road along the Corniche des Cévennes is reached by a precipitous climb up from St Jean du Gard and runs for about 20km at medium altitude through pine forests with views over the surrounding valleys. Some other time maybe I’ll come back here on a hiking basis.
I had the advantage of riding the Corniche during the French lunchtime pause so there was almost no traffic, not that that can be taken for granted. The Cévennes are noted for their sheep and as a biker you have to assume that there might be a herd of sheep across the road around every next corner.
But the road was clear so it was not a time to ride on a fuel economy basis. Straight bits, fast curves and quite enough hairpins... Much sport! So good that after an espresso coffee at the little Cévennes village of Le Pompidou, I came back the same route. Down from the hills and back to Marseille in time for dinner with friends.
More about the Cévennes in that classic of travel writing: Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson, (1879). A more gentle journey, before motorsport and speed cameras on the highways.