Col de Vence, Alpes-Maritimes, France
Here’s an easy way to discover a great driving road: find a location that’s been used many times over for new car launches. Chances are it’ll be littered with stunning vistas, located somewhere with a great, and packed full of fantastic corners – criteria that aligns perfectly for those of us in search of a great driving road.
So it’s no surprise that the D2, winding its way North from the town of Vence near the French Riviera, 962 metres up to the Col De Vence and beyond, has played host to many a launch, for it basks in typically Mediterranean sunshine most of the year and offers some of the best driving you’ll ever experience.
It starts with the steep climb out of Vence, the short sections of straight tarmac punctuated by ever more frequent hairpins and tight switchbacks as the grey ribbon of tarmac weaves its way rapidly up to the peak of the Col De Vence.
Usually lightly trafficked and often well sighted, you can really explore the car, our 991’s sport exhaust resonating back off the rock faces to the right and out into the valley below with attention fully focused on the action unfolding in front of us.
Latitude: 43.6972N, 7.1231E Length of drive: 52km Points of interest: The breathtaking views Food and accommodation:
La Barricade, Gréolières
Le Bistrot, Coursegoules
Latitude: 43.6972N, 7.1231E
Length of drive: 52km
Points of interest: The breathtaking views
Food and accommodation:
It’s a thrilling section, and approaching the upper reaches you’re bound to stop for a moment to take in magnificent views of the Riviera and the Med beyond.
Cresting the Col De Vence gives a moments respite as the road briefly straightens, curves right, then left and your jaw slackens at the huge drop that suddenly dominates the view over your right shoulder. Now the gradient changes are minimal, the road fast and flowing as the valley floor races up to meet your rock face road.
A couple of hairpins keep you on your toes as the trees close in, before the greenery peels back and reveals another stunning valley to the left, the D2 once again bunching up into a relentless phalanx of corner-corner-corner. This thrilling barrage delivers you to Greolieres, beyond which the route climbs to further stunning stop offs.
Now the pace picks up and the mesmerising cadence of fast open bends delivers you 25 kilometres to the D2211, and shortly after the famously brilliant Route Napoléon. But I’d turn right around and feast myself of another 52 kilometres of what is for me the best driving road in the region.