Driving the D22, a balcony road in France
Perched high above the glistening coastline of the Côte d'Azur in southeast France, the D22 road is the name of the sharply winding and precipitous ascent in a steep and narrow zig-zag road on the French Riviera.
Located in the Alpes-Maritimes department, the road is paved with some steep parts (a maximum gradient of 12.0%), without market central lines, is very narrow, scarcely wide enough for two cars to pass at the same time and there are no protections or guard rails along some parts of the route. Many of the corners are sharp and blind. If you're afraid of heights, it's probably best to keep your eyes forward. The whole road is very steady and basically there is no place to get any rest. It is also worth mentioning that the road is in the sun all the way up and in the summer months it can get very warm
The road climbs straight up from the seafront in Menton, on the Italian border, for 18.5 km. This narrow winding road climbs up to Col de Bausson (732m), Col de la Madone de Gorbio (927m) and Col de Saint-Pancrace (673m). The higher you get the narrower the road gets. There are also 5 unlit one-lane tunnels cut into the rock. The road usually remains open all year round. July and August are busy months in Menton.
The journey offers an exhilarating driving experience, with superb views. As the road winds round the mountains you get alternating views of the sea dropping away beneath you. This is definitely one road trip that you want to record with lots of photographs. The road is quiet and has spectacular views right down to the coast. The views to Monaco and beyond to the Mediterranean are truly breathtaking.
This road is one of the most famous balcony roads in the country. 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. There is little room for error on these roads. Drive with care as this is a mountain road with hairpin curves and narrow unlit tunnels. When you take this road as picturesque as it is narrow, with its many suprising meanders, drive carefully, and above all don't miss the parking spaces that have been provided. It’s an international icon made famous by the many pros that would regularly frequent its slopes to test their form against the clock, but it’s never been part of the Tour of France, probably because the road is too narrow. It was used by Lance Armstrong, Tony Rominger, Chris Froome and Richie Porte to test their fitness in the run up to the Tour de France.