The Pont Vieux
The Pont Vieux was the only toll bridge in the Alpes-Maritimes in the Middle Ages, used for transporting salt. All travellers were required to show right of passage to cross the Bévéra to the left bank. Dating back to the 13th century, all that remains of the original structure is the lower section of the central tower. Unique in the department, today it is home to a variety of exhibitions.
Hugging the banks of the Bévéra, the trompe-l’oeil façades serve as reminders of the Counts of Savoy and wealthy owners who once inhabited 19th century Sospel, and their preoccupation with drawing attention to their abodes using optical illusions of shutters, windows, cornices and balusters in bright, luminous colours.
The church of Sancta Maria in Albis
This church is built on the site of the ancient Roman church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, patron saint of the village. Work began in 1663 and was completed 36 years later, with the building blending seamlessly into the urbanist ensemble of the Place Brancion square, whose archways and colourful painted façades are characteristic of Ligurian influence in the 17th and 18th centuries. Listed as a historic monument, its size, trompe-l’oeil embellishment and the rich decoration on its organ make this church one of the most remarkable along the Route du Baroque of the Roya-Bévéra valleys.
Olivetta San Michele
This cross-border itinerary takes you on a journey to Italy and Olivetta San Michele. This small commune in the province of Imperia is the result of unification between Olivetta, perched high above the Bévéra, and San Michele which lies along the road leading to the Col de Tende. This commune is the only commune in the Ligurian region to be part of the Occitan-speaking minority.
The Col de Castillon
Located approximately 6 km away from Sospel, this pass rises up 706 m above sea level. Prepare for 339 m of ascent/descent with 5.2% average gradient.
The pass connects the Menton coast and the Bévéra valley, overlooking a village of the same name that is home to many craftsmen, designers and artists, with spectacular views over the sea. The pass is part of the iconic Route des Grandes Alpes that crosses the alpine massif to the Mediterranean.
Departure point: Car park located behind the Place des Platanes in Sospel
Bike type: Road bikes
Age: + 16 years
Distance: 63 kilometres
Time: 4 hours