Gorge du Cians is in 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, and is a photographers dream come true. It's situated in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France and belongs to the Alpes Maritimes. It’s one of the French balcony roads.
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. To get these gorges, the easiest road starts in Pont de la Mescla following the N202. After 19km, there’s a junction on the right, to the D28 road, which leads to the Gorges du Cians. Don’t forget your camera!
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. There is little room for error on these roads. It’s normal for your palms to sweat looking at those photos, imagine what it must have been like before the barriers. On the parking just before the Tunnel de la Petite Clue there’s a short narrow road known as Passage de la Petite Clue. It’s totally closed to vehicles.
The road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. Any barriers along the edge afford little more than token protection; large stretches should be taken at a snail's pace and a lookout kept for vehicles coming from the opposite direction!
The cleft which the River Cians has cut into the rock is up to 80m/263ft deep, but in places only a few meters wide. The road that runs alongside the river at the bottom of the gorge provides stunning panoramic views, and is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow.
It runs as a single track road along the mountainside for some distance with nowhere to pass another vehicle. Here one says a prayer that nobody is coming towards you until the road widens some kilometres further.