July 11th 2017 – Castellane to Nice – Taking the scenic Route Napoleon to the even more scenic Cote d’Azur

Today’s photo shows the Relais Imperial hotel in the small town of Saint Vallier de Thiey.  In 1815, Napoleon passed through the town on his way to Paris after fleeing from his exile in Elba. It took Napoleon and his army roughly a week to march across the French Alps from Cannes to Grenoble and the route he took has ever since been known as the Route Napoleon. My route today followed the Route Napoleon between Castellane and Grasse though I then turned off towards Nice rather than going to Cannes. It must have been incredibly difficult for Napoleon and his army to travel this route in March 1815 as there would have been a lot of snow on the ground and most of the route back then resembled a goat track. But somehow Napoleon and his army of a thousand men made it across the Alps before then seizing power in Paris. The present day Route Napoleon road wasn’t fully completed until 1932 so difficult is the terrain in this part of France. One day, I hope to complete all 325 km of the Route Napoleon from Cannes to Grenoble and if the rest of the route is as good as the 60 km section between Castellane and Grasse, then I am in for a treat.

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Travoy leaving Camping Les Lavandes in Castellane.

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Total distance cycled Tuesday July 11th from Castellane to Nice – 85 km (includes 1,400 m of climbing). Total distance cycled so far on 2017 Tour de Travoy – 4,025 km. A milestone day as I cross over 4,000 km so far on this year’s tour. Actually, the total amount of cycling is closer to 4,200 km as I haven’t included my climbs of La Pierre Saint Martin, the Tourmalet or Mont Ventoux as I did not have Travoy for those climbs.

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Notre Dame du Roc chapel overlooking Castellane.

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Old bridge that Napoleon would have crossed over the Verdon river.

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View from the road between Castellane and La Garde.

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This mountain looks just like El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in the USA.

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First climb of the day, the Col de Luens.

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Milestone showing 40 km to Grasse and an altitude of 1038m.

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Old church near Seranon.

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2nd climb of the day, the Col de Valferriere.

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French election posters on a hut at the Col de Valferriere.

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The village of Escragnolles is famous for it’s donkey festival.

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The village of Escragnolles is also famous as the birthplace of Francois Mireur, who popularised the French National anthem, the Marsellaise..

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3rd climb of the day, the Col de la Faye.

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Small rock and mineral museum near the Col de la Faye.

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Roundabout display in Saint Vallier de Thiey.

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Custom trike with a Luxembourg numberplate in Saint Vallier de Thiey.

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Hedgerow horse and cart on the outskirts of Saint Vallier de Thiey.

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Floral display alongside the road near St. Vallier de Thiey.

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Last climb of the day, the Col du Pilon.

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The city of Grasse with the Cote d’Azur in the distance.

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High security prison in the hills above Grasse.

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Tourist information for Route Napoleon near Grasse.

20170711_155903-2The city of Grasse reminds me of Rio de Janeiro the way it is built up into the hillside.

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Modernist apartment block near Opio.

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My reflection in a blacked out window in an office block near Le Rouret.

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French flags ready for Bastille Day in Villeneuve Loubet.

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Camping Hippodrome in Villeneuve-Loubet in the suburbs of Nice.

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