This little diversion is well worth doing, for three reasons. Firstly, it takes you away from the horrid N7. Secondly it’s quite pretty, especially with the famous perched village of Mirmande. Thirdly, you meet some of the steepest little bits of roads in the area.
So, Mirmande. Definitely worth a look. Surrounded by fruit farms, it’s a dense network of picturesque narrow streets, and, apart from a restaurant or two, seems to have quite a few little artisanale shops offering pottery and suchlike. If you’re on your bike and brave, there are several steep cobbled streets. I’ll admit I got off and walked one or two of the steeper bits, though you’ll come to grief walking if it’s wet and you haven’t got recessed cleats.
The abnormally sharp hills to get out of the end of the valley took me by surprise. The only sign I saw said 14%, though one or two short stretches felt more like 20%. Maybe that’s just because I’ve got soft with all those gentle Alpine climbs… they might be long, but rarely do they exceed 10%.
Anyway, definitely a route worth trying, as long as you have gears.