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  1. #1
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    moving to France

    Visas have been approved, so it looks like I will be spending a year around Beausoleil starting the end of August or beginning of September.

    We're debating whether to ship the car over, by a car there or just go carless. I want to know how easy is it to get to riding from Beausoleil via train or riding my bike. I know there was a WC downhill race in Cap D'ail in the 90s, but I can't find any (English) information on trails in the Monaco area at all. I find lots of info on wonderful bike tours, but that's not the riding I'm REALLY looking to do.

    How are the train links to the alps from that area?
    Any specific places I should ride?
    Any places for expats to check out and find info on the move to Europe? I'm finding accurate English info hard to find for France.
    Any places I should ski? I'm more of a nordic skier, but looking forward to trying downhill.

  2. #2
    Lopen is sneller....
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    First tip I am going to give you is start working on your French. Really English is not going to get you very far. For the good stuff you will need to start talking to the locals and you will find few that speak English...not saying there aren't any...

    Second tip find a shop that sports big brands in DH/FR (assuming that's what your looking for) then ask the lads for some pointers and this is where the French comes in. Kona for example is pretty popular in Europe...don't they have their EMEA HQ in Monaco?

    Really there is some amazing stuff out there but you will not easily find it without some local help. Think I did the Cap d'Ai about two years ago and did not find it that spectacular. Lot's of loose stuff yes...

    For skiing the Mercantour or further up North the Ecrins.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uzzi
    Second tip find a shop that sports big brands in DH/FR (assuming that's what your looking for) then ask the lads for some pointers and this is where the French comes in. Kona for example is pretty popular in Europe...don't they have their EMEA HQ in Monaco?

    Really there is some amazing stuff out there but you will not easily find it without some local help. Think I did the Cap d'Ai about two years ago and did not find it that spectacular. Lot's of loose stuff yes...

    For skiing the Mercantour or further up North the Ecrins.
    I'm not looking for DH/FR. I'm interested in XC stuff. The Cap d'Ai downhill was done on three/four inch bikes and as I was watching clips of the race I kept thinking about how that's basically XC riding now. I'm bring my Titus Racer X (4 inch bike) to France with me. I may rent if I need to though.

    Working on my French and German.

  4. #4
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    I can not help you out with information on french train schedules, but as far as I remember the area between Ventimiglia and St. Tropez, you will have to ride several milies into the hills before you find anything like a trail. The suburbs are spread all over those hills.

    But then you will have the alpes mariitmes, the ligurian border way (ehm) (e.g. http://www.gps-tour.info/de/touren/detail.19625.html ) and to the east the trails near San Remo and Finale Ligure; in the West e.g. the Massiv de Maures.

    A car will help, Used cars are cheap in France, especially vintage cars in Southern France (e.g. http://www.leboncoin.fr/voitures/off...s=1961&re=1989 ).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxfahrer
    A car will help, Used cars are cheap in France, especially vintage cars in Southern France (e.g. http://www.leboncoin.fr/voitures/off...s=1961&re=1989 ).
    Thank you! Thank you! Merci! We're considering buying a car there just for the year. Craigslist has not been helpful.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids
    Thank you! Thank you! Merci! We're considering buying a car there just for the year. Craigslist has not been helpful.
    Bitteschön!

    ...just remembering Grace Kelly in a sportscar with (was it?) Rock Hudson driving along the Cote d Azur...

    leboincon has sometimes very good old or vintage cars, southern France is like California in the US, rich people and dry climate.

    If you have never driven a french car like a Renault 4 or Renault Express, this is a great opportunity for lifelong memories ( a rusty and dusty Express, the bikes rattling in the back, the smell of diesel and lavender, and then a piquenique on the beach with wine, cheese and baguette)....(sorry for OT).

  7. #7
    Lopen is sneller....
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    Hmmm not sure where I got the impression you where looking for shuttle or lift stuff...

    Do check out the Roc d'Azur event. France has mtb routes all over the place usually indicated with the triangle and the two little dots logo. A lot of the IGN maps, you van get them in bookstores etc, even have mtb routes drawn in.

  8. #8
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    Look on:

    http://vtopo.fr/

    and

    http://www.cheminprive.com

    they have a bike guide book for Haute Provence and several other tips.

    MTB is called VTT in France !

    Friend of mine did some trails out of this book this spring, what they call "freeride" is what an experienced biker would call "allmountain" (thats what my friend said).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uzzi
    Hmmm not sure where I got the impression you where looking for shuttle or lift stuff...

    Do check out the Roc d'Azur event. France has mtb routes all over the place usually indicated with the triangle and the two little dots logo. A lot of the IGN maps, you van get them in bookstores etc, even have mtb routes drawn in.
    I mentioned the Cap d'Ail downhill race in my original post, so that may have caused some confusion. The travel on downhill bikes back then I think was around 4 inches though, so it would be considered a good XC ride now.

    Here is a link to some coverage of the event. It looks like a fun ride if it's open to bikes still.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edb9HzHntHQ

    PS. How do you embed a video?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxfahrer
    Look on:

    http://vtopo.fr/

    and

    http://www.cheminprive.com

    they have a bike guide book for Haute Provence and several other tips.

    MTB is called VTT in France !

    Friend of mine did some trails out of this book this spring, what they call "freeride" is what an experienced biker would call "allmountain" (thats what my friend said).
    Thanks for the links and the book suggestions.

    Looks like a beautiful fun ride. I agree it looks more all-mountain than free ride, but still looks bigger than my XC bike could handle. I would still like to try it, but maybe with a rented bike and/or at a slower pace.

  11. #11
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    hey chaps, if you want to do some sightseeing around the "Pont du Gard" or in ""Les Beaux de Provence" just ask ... But 3 hr car drive (from Monaco)

  12. #12
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    http://www.1001sentiers.fr/ is also a great web community for mtb riding in the french riviera

  13. #13
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    I've arrived, but I haven't done any riding yet. Haven't even unpacked my bikes yet.

    I found a few threads while searching on info on San Remo. I don't know how they didn't turn up in my original searches for info, so I'll include links to those threads in this one to help other people out.

    Thanks to everybody who helped me out.

    Italy - Finale Ligure
    How was your season
    French Riviera Mountain Biking?
    Mtb Sanremo

    I also bought a book called:Mountain Biking Europe published by Footprint. It's ok, and tends to focus more on freeride, downhill or other lift assisted riding. As a XC rider I wish they would put how much trail is available to ride because I don't want to travel two hours for 12 km of trail, and I get the gist that they seem to think that 12 km is a lot of XC riding.

    I wish I could find more info about Cap D'ail and if the mid-90s World Cup downhill course is still open to riding.

    A few more key words to help with searching the forum: Monaco, Nice, Beausoleil, Menton, Northern Italy, Riviera, Cap D'ail, Cap Dail, Alpes-Maritimes

  14. #14
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    if you feel more like a xc rider you have to train for this race:

    http://www.avalanchecup.com/raid-avalanche.html

    it's the most bad ass mtb race you can possibly imagine.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xe8...0-teaser_sport

  15. #15
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    @ braids:

    If you ever try out Rivierabike in Molini di Triora (or that other shuttle guy), please give a short summary - I would want to know if it is possible to ride without all that shuttle guiding and if there are also trails or doubletracks leading up.

    I have been to Valle Argentina with car, and it looked like macchia all over to me.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxfahrer
    @ braids:

    If you ever try out Rivierabike in Molini di Triora (or that other shuttle guy), please give a short summary - I would want to know if it is possible to ride without all that shuttle guiding and if there are also trails or doubletracks leading up.

    I have been to Valle Argentina with car, and it looked like macchia all over to me.
    I'm going to try and ride without shuttle service, so I hope I don't get a chance to review. Rivierabike is mentioned in the book I bought.

  17. #17
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    I'd like to revise my review of the book. If you don't plan on using guides or staying at resorts or ski resorts it's useless. There is no detailed information about where the trails start or how to get to them. You only get contact information for tour guides and ski resorts.

    I've been struggling to search using a mishmash of English and my French to find sites and info. I've also been asking tourist offices and some road bikers I met in Le Turbine. I've had zero luck with "real" VTT. If you're looking for bike paths the tourist office is great. I'm going to check out the Decathlon store in Monaco on Thursday.

    On the plus side... I found the below.

    http://www.vttfrance.com/

    http://www.vttour.fr/

    Which has this...

    http://www.vttour.fr/sentiers/

    Which is AMAZING! It even has the Cap D'ail World Cup DH race course from the 90s map mapped.

    I'm struggling to understand why people would bother to map 3 km of trail, but maybe that's just the North American in me who doesn't consider a ride less than 20 km a real ride. I could also be reading the maps or site wrong since it is in French.

  18. #18
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    also 1001 sentiers forum is the most active one for this part of France:
    http://www.1001sentiers.fr/forum/index.php

    there are many trails described, in French language of course, but did you try to ask for riding buddies there?

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