This 17 km stretch will be the next to be officially opened, hopefully in 2022. It is largely ready for use, with just two short stretches of on-road cycling required. Mostly gentle elevations, with just one series of three steeper climbs.
BARJOLS – SILLANS-LA-CASCADE
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Much of the EV8 from Barjols to Sillans-la-Cascade has now been cleared and re-surfaced. But as of yet it is not officially open.
A few bridges are missing, and there is a stretch east of Rognette that has not yet been developed due to the D560 taking over the old railway line route. But otherwise there are some great rides to be had. Plus there is a pleasant diversion, or “boucle” through the village of Pontevès as an alternative.
Long stretches of good cycleway
Let’s start from the old Barjols railway station. From here you can get in and out of the village using our tips. With the old railway station on your left, head east past Gervasoni the bakers at the roundabout. Cycle straight on here, past the Collège on your right, until you come to a roundabout set on a slope. Turn left, up a short steep ramp, then right on to the gravel path that takes you to an old railway cutting. One lucky day they will mend the broken bridge on the other side of the road, but until then you have to use the départmentale D560 road turning left for 300m and then turn right to Pontevès on the D60. Just after the turning cross a bridge. To continue towards Sillans, turn left on the EV8 (there is a remnant of an EV8 sign here). If you want to visit Pontevès and use the boucle to rejoin the EV8, continue straight on.
Pontevès and the Boucle
To get to the village of Pontevès, climb up the hill on the D60. But before you do, and if you want to get a great view of Barjols and the distant hills and mountains, turn slight right before the hill begins, at the sign “le Castelas”. Another kilometre on, there is a steep track up to the right. Follow this up and over the hill and descend to the viewpoint at Castelas. Return the same way to continue to Pontevès. Pontevès lies at the top of the D60. There are splendid views from the ruins of the chateau, and the village has a lively épicerie in the village square, which also has outside seating where you can enjoy various drinks and snacks. Market day in the village is Friday morning.
The boucle continues out the eastern side of the village, where you descend to a U-bend in the road. Instead of turning here, continue straight on for 2 to 3 kilometres, when you encounter a T junction. Take the road to the left marked Mercadine, and continue until you reach the D560 at chateau la Calisse. Here you can rejoin the EV8, which at this point runs right beside the main road.
Direct to Sillans-la-Cascade
If you want to miss Pontevès and ride straight to Sillans, you will have turned left off the D60 at the Pontevès bridge down in the valley. Continue along this roughly tarmaced road. At the end you will see the old Pontevès station building on your right. Turn left here and right on to the D560 for no more than 50 metres. You will see on your right the newly cleared and re-surfaced EV8 – without signage. It runs parallel to the main road for a kilometre, then crosses it and continue on past IVE, the local printing works, and the remains of an old bauxite mine. This stretch is actually a very pleasant ridde, despite the fact it is not yet officially open. It takes you past the vineyards of Saint Ferriol, La Calisse and Prégentière. As you cycle past the last of these, on your right on the main road you will see a French flag flying at the Monument de la Résistance, where an annual commemoration takes place every year on the last Sunday in July.
Another kilometre farther and you reach the D13 road at Rognette station, which has been converted into a Gite. Turn right and continue 80 metres to the D560. Here you can choose to follow a section of quiet, signed route, which turns to the left, and leads you up, over and down from a series of hills. Or take the flatter but busier D560. The distance is about the same. If you take the former, you rejoin the D560 some 2 kilometres farther east. You’ll see a house on the corner with multiple solar panels. Here there is no alternative but to use the D560 until the next junction, another kilometre farther on, the D32. At this junction, you can return to the old railway track that runs along the left of the main road to Sillans. After 2 kilometres, it diverts briefly away from the main road, behind the Auberge and Restaurant Grand Chêne. Keep straight on, the track widens out as you return to run parallel to the D560, past the recycling bins. Shortly after the track leaves the road again, you come to a narrow bridge over the river Bresque. 200 metres farther on you arrive at Sillans-la-Cascade.
Not just for cycling
In Provence Verte, new cycleways are being welcomed by a wide range of users. In our area, there are plenty of walkers and joggers already using the EV8. Not surprising. Most roads between local villages do not even have a pavement.
But also motor vehicles
This section was laid just a few weeks before we took this photo. A local farmer is happier using the cycleway rather than the adjacent road.
Short on-road stretch
Until a nearby bridge is rebuilt, cyclists need to use this 200 metre stretch of main road between Barjols and the Pontevès turning.
If you are heading east on our stretch of EV8, this will be the first official sign you encounter. Just west of Sillans la Cascade, the cycleway is open to horse-riders and motor vehicles servicing the few houses along the route.
Protected at the junction
Heading east from Rognette station, you briefly use the D560 to access a largely disused road. Here, the Var authorities have constructed a protective barrier. This makes it possible to access the EV8 in both directions without the need to use the D560.
To visit the village of Pènteves, use the “boucle”, or loop, to travel between the village and the EV8. The loop takes you from the Barjols end of the commune to the EV8 at the la Calisse vineyard. You cycle along quiet coutry roads with lovely views of the two Bessillon mountains to the south.
Much of this stretch has recently been cleared and surfaced. Where previously there was overgrown forest, today there is a wonderfully smooth cycleway, largely free of motor traffic.
INTERACTIVE GPS MAP