Petite Grand Canyon!!

Trip Start Sep 04, 2011
Trip End Sep 30, 2011

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Where I stayed
Domaine du Verdon

Flag of France  , Provence,
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What can I say?  Spectacular…………..Amazing………..Magnificent………

.Awe inspiring…………..Immense…………….Astonishing…….It's just so beautiful it
 makes you realise how wonderful nature is and how powerful to have created such a
wonderful natural phenomena.

The villages too are like walking back in time, no commercial gaudiness but natural
old fashioned buildings in true Provencal style.

Canyon du Verdon

Another 300 miles into more mountainous countryside brings us to the hair raising mountain passes of the Verdon.  Finding our campsite that we visited briefly last year on our Europe Trip, we were able to find a super pitch, lots of space and nice and quiet, different to our overnight stay last year in July when it was packed with noisy families!

We enjoyed and evening walk by the river, its strong force tumbling over rocks, but there were no bouncing rings bobbing along as there were last year, maybe the river is too shallow at this time of year, bit it still runs just as fierce. Most of the rivers we have seen have looked very low.

The next day we  awoke to a cloudless sky so we threw the cameras and swimming togs into the car and set off to explore the canyon. We found a terrific round route up the east side to Moustiers Sainte Marie (which means monastery of St. Marie), a fascinating medieval village built into the hillside and nestled right at the top is the little chapel where the monastery once stood.  A star is suspended across the rocks and it is considered to be France’s own Bethlehem. Also known as the soul of Provence, there are all sorts of stories of healing and still born babies coming back to life,  a place of pilgrimage to Popes and many more who believe this to be a place of miracles.  Winding cobbled streets and waterfalls in the centre of town it does have a magical quality about it.  Full of traditional earthenware potteries and throbbing restaurants, we discovered one aptly named Cascade and sat by the waterfall enjoying the Poisson du Jour and a glass of wine before setting off again on our tour de canyon.

We continued round the route passing through Lavender fields just harvested to the shore of the sparkling emerald waters of Lake Sainte Croix where we had a most refreshing dip in the clear waters.

The tour took us eight hours in all and evening was casting its shadows in the gorge when we stopped at Hotel du Grand Canyon for a drink on the terrace looking down into the deepest part of the canyon and its jade pools. Corniche Sublime is apparently every rock climbers dream but here we witnessed emergency services sending its helicopter down into the gorge three times to collect fallen climbers. This is the prime spot and highest rock climbing experience in Europe, a rock climbing legend a sacred domain for climbers. Let’s hope these casualties will be able to try it once more.

The little Smart car did us proud, taking every bend in its stride, avoiding coaches and camper vans taking up more than their fair share of the narrow winding roads and hair pin bends, it’s the perfect car for these roads even if the suspension is a little basic.
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