Steve’s Tour de Monaco

This is a full description of my 30km Tour de Monaco cycling route which covers all the country with just a few road repeats.

I have been doing a ton of cycling during the Covid era of 2020. Most of it has been virtual on the Zwift indoor trainer system. Sometimes though I go outside into the real world. Recently I have limited this to keeping within the boundaries of the Principality of Monaco. It’s only a small Principality but I have still managed to create a quite respectable 30km ride with 560m of climbing.

I must admit as rides go it’s not brilliant. Due to the traffic, all the junctions and the general state of the roads it’s not an easy ride. You also have to be really careful of people stepping out into the road for no apparent reason. It seems if they don’t “sense” a car around they don’t bother to even look before stepping out. It seems to be worse if they have a phone clamped to their head. Don’t even get me started about the dogs….. Be warned.

Jump to the quick Route Resume.

For me the route starts and finishes at the Jardin Exotique but as it is circular you can start anywhere. There is, of course, also the option of riding multiple laps, Andrew.

Stage 1: Jardin Exotique to Saint Roman (3.5km, Total 3.5km): This is pretty much Monaco End to End. Starting at the Jardin Exotique entrance take the main road down towards town. Bear right at the roundabout and continue downhill on the moon like surface of probably the worst road surface in Monaco. Eventually you will pass the Monaco Train Station on your left. Continue along the main road then, at the 3rd set of traffic lights, (at the top end of the Casino Gardens) turn left and pass the Monaco Tourist office on the right. Go straight on at the roundabout and keep cycling till you reach the edge of Monaco at St Roman. Technically a U turn should be performed to avoid going into France. In practice we just follow the 200m of road out of Monaco around the loop and back into Monaco.

Stage 2: Saint Roman to Tennis Car Park (3.6km, Total 7.3km): If you were to pass into France and head downhill the distance between these two points is in fact only about 300m. For this exercise we take the long way round and ride back along the Boulevard d’Italie towards the centre of Monaco. Turn left at the roundabout and drop down to the Tee junction then turn left down the Avenue des Spelugues. Go around the famous Formula 1 hair pin at the Fairmont Hotel. At the following roundabout take the ramp on to the “Voie Rapide” (Boulevard du Larvotto) and continue to the end. Technically, to stay in Monaco, you should U turn just before the bridge but we generally go the extra 200m to U turn at the entrance to the Tennis Club parking.

Stage 3: Tennis Car Park to Jimmy’z Roundabout (3.3km, Total 10.6km): Again the direct route between these points is only 300m but that requires going through France. For this route we cycle back along the Boulevard du Larvotto. We take the first exit at the Trocadero roundabout and head up the steep Avenue de Grande Bretagne. At the top of the hill we pass the St Pauls Church on the left followed by the Metropole Hotel and Shopping Gallery. Turn left at the Tee junction and head back down to Tee left onto the Avenue des Spelugues. Back round the Formula 1 hairpin. This time, at the roundabout, take the Avenue Princesse Grace coast road. On the right you will pass the enormous glass Grimaldi Forum then the Larvotto Beach (currently under re-construction) and the Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel before turning round at the Jimmy’z Roundabout.

Stage 4: Jimmy’z Roundabout to end of the Digue (3.5km, Total 14.1km): Head back along the Avenue Princesse Grace coast road then follow the sea at the roundabout, taking the Formula 1 tunnel under the Fairmont Hotel to the Port Hercule, Monaco’s iconic main port. As you exit the tunnel (at 280kph in a Formula 1 car!) you will pass the prestigious “ship like” Monaco Yacht Club on the left. Like a Formula 1 car follow the road round the port to the Rascasse Restaurant. However, unlike a Formula 1 car (unless it is crashing) we turn left at the Rascasse and follow the port towards the sea. Pass the Stars n Bars Restaurant on the right then at the end of the straight road, opposite the Police Station, leave the road to follow the quai side past the International School. Be very careful here as there are usually people out walking small white dogs. (Why are they always white Ben? I guess it’s so they are easy to see !!) Continue straight through the car park and onto the Digue.

If possible continue to the end of the Digue [Photo Opportunity]. Beware as often the full Digue is closed off to the public for boating reasons.

Stage 5: End of Digue to Prince’s Palace (3.5km, Total 17.6km): Return back along the Digue, no option actually as it ends in the sea! At the end, where the floating section joins real land, take a left into the tunnel (be careful if you are wearing sunglasses as it’s really dark!) and out onto the, Covid themed, Avenue de la Quarantaine. At the end of the Avenue rejoin the Formula 1 circuit and blast through the Starting Grid. Turn left at the corner before the hill, at Ste Devote, and head up Rue Grimaldi. At the roundabout take the exit guarded by the nice Policemen and head up the steep Avenue de la Porte Neuve towards the Palace. This is an excellent Strava segment so go Full Gas to impress your friends later. Pass the Government building at the top and continue round the fabulous Rue des Remparts and onto the Place du Palais. [Photo Opportunity]

Stage 6: Prince’s Palace to Casino Square Entrance (2.6km, Total 20.2km): Continue through the Place du Palais then left under the little bridge building and past the impressive Monaco Cathedral on the left. Soon, on the right, you will see the amazing Oceanographic Museum, checkout the little Yellow Submarine parked just in front of the main building [Photo Opportunity]. Continue back down the Avenue de la Porte Neuve then turn right onto the Avenue du Port and pass the Formula 1 Start again. This time keep straight on at Ste Devote and follow the Formula 1 circuit up the magnificent Avenue d’Ostende hill. At the entrance to Casino Square, you have to continue left up the hill as bicycles are definitely not allowed in Casino Square. There is actually a no bikes sign although the nice Policeman will help you make the right choice.

Stage 7: Casino Square Entrance to Fontvieille Capitainerie (3.8km, Total 24.0km): Follow the main road up and past the Casino Gardens passing the Monaco Tourist office on the right. Turn right at the roundabout and head back down to Tee left onto the Avenue des Spelugues, the third and last time this lap. Take the first right after the Formula 1 hairpin and enter the sparkly Tunnel Larvotto. The road surface in the tunnel is impregnated with glitter from a large Christmas display and is truly a sight to behold. Keep well to the right in this tunnel as I always worry about idiots in Ferrari’s zooming through really quickly without paying attention. Once through the sparkly tunnel of possible near death you will pass over the little bridge in front of the Ste Devote church before heading underground into the amazingly narrow Dorsale Tunnels of Monaco. No fun if there are cars behind you. Keep straight on at the first “Rue Grimaldi” roundabout then bear right at the second sign posted for Fontvieille. Pass the building site on the right followed by the Monaco Waste Recycling center at the corner. If you are stopped at the traffic lights take a close look at the office building on your right. Only the outer walls make it look like an office building. Inside is a massive multi storey incinerator with waste gas treatment facility. As far as I know it provides hot water to the residents in the nearby buildings. (I could be making all that up as I can’t easily find any references on the web!) . Take the left hand lane and at the roundabout turn left. Pass Brico Center on the right then, at the Decathlon roundabout sort of go right(ish) cross the road and down onto the Port of Fontvieille and Quai Jean-Charles Rey. Follow the road till the ruin like Capitainerie appears [Photo Opportunity].

Stage 8: Fontvieille Capitainerie to Hospital (4.2km, Total 28.0km): Keep following the Quai Jean-Charles Rey turning right before the sea wall and through the tunnel to pop out next to the Heliport. Pass the Columbus Hotel on the right then turn left at the roundabout and into yet another tunnel. Keep going straight on passing the massive Stade Louis II on the right. Follow the road round the Stade turning right at the next 2 roundabouts. Pass the Jaguar Land Rover showroom and petrol station on your right. Turn left at the next roundabout then 300m further on turn left at the Decathlon roundabout. Take the next right then Tee left and pass Monaco Telecom on the right. At the traffic lights turn right. After a sharp right hand bend you will pass the building site again this time on the left. A short hill leads to the Monaco Zoo roundabout. Go almost all the way round and take the tunnel sign posted for the Hospital. The tight roller coaster tunnel leads you behind the Porsche Garage, notice all the little car models in the window. As you approach the roundabout be careful of traffic joining from the tunnel on the right. Interestingly this one way tunnel actually begins just 100m from the start of our ride at the Jardin Exotique. Ride almost all the way round the roundabout and head back into the tunnel behind the Porsche Garage. High up on your left you can see the new hospital construction that we are heading to next. Immediately after the Porsche Garage fork left up a short hill to a set of traffic lights. Turn tight left at the lights. Notice how the raw rock wall has been scooped out with a giant spoon for this corner. Ride up the steep windy hill and through the bottom of the hospital construction. Turn right at the roundabout then head into the new tunnel which will be under the new hospital building once it’s been built. (Take a look at this VIDEO HERE to see how they are building the hospital without disturbing the traffic too much.) Having been there many times I can recommend the Princesse Grace Hospital and its excellent Accident and Emergency centre. (Just next to the hospital entrance is a public lift which could magically take you back to the start at the Jardin Exotique if you don’t want to cycle.)

Stage 9: Hospital to Jardin Exotique (2.1km, Total 30.1km): Continue straight on through the Tunnel Pasteur. Straight on at the next roundabout to join the Boulevard de Belgique. Again, straight on at the next roundabout and pass the Carabiniers du Prince building on the right. Through the temporary tunnel of the building site then left at the roundabout to join the Boulevard du Jardin Exotique. Keep straight on passing the exotic car garage of DPM Motors on your right. (We bought our Land Rover Defender there!). Eventually after struggling once again on the moon like surface of the hill you will reach the final roundabout of the lap. Go left and sprint up the last 500m to finish at the Jardin Exotique. Job Done.

Tour de Monaco – Resume

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