Gorge du Cians

Gorge du Cians, a balcony road in France

Located in the Alpes-Maritimes department, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France, Gorge du Cians is a very scenic canyon with stunning red rocks. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

The road through the gorges is totally paved. It’s called D28. The drive is 21.7 km (13.48 miles) long, running north-south from Beuil to Touët-sur-Var. The deep gorge carved through the mountains by the River Cians is made all the more spectacular by the deep red of the exposed rock. The river descends 1,600 m (5,250 ft) in just 25 km (15 miles) between the villages of Beuil and Touet-sur-Var. The narrowest and most spectacular part of the canyon is at Pra d’Astier, just in the middle between the two villages.

Plan about 30 minutes to complete the drive without any stop. This road is one of the most famous balcony roads in France. A balcony road is a hair-raising lane cut into the sides of sheer cliffs. It’s a kind of road not for those who fear heights. It’s normal for your palms to sweat looking at those photos, imagine what it must have been like before the barriers. Located on the east of Gorge de Daluis, a circuit linking both gorges makes an excellent day out, passing through tunnels, past ravines and waterfalls cut into the stunning red rock. 

This road has been improved in the past to avoid the extremely tight passages and to improve traffic up to Beuil and Valberg as these villages are in winter very famous ski regions. To enable this lots of tunnels have been dug and the famous and tight parts of the old street  (Passage de la Petite Clue and Passage de la Grande Clue) have been blocked. In year 2013 it was still possible to circumvent the roadblocks and visit these famous sections with a motorbike. Partly you had to unmount the sidecases of your motorbike – but it was still possible. These sections are not maintained anymore and now it’s simply dangerous for life to try to drive there. Partly just half a meter of the street has remained and the rest crashed into the gorges. Also, the splinters of the red rocks on the street could very soon kill your tires as they are sharp like knifes. The authorities have now blocked these sections in a way that its really impossible to drive there even with a bicycle.


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