Canyon du Verdon
Driving on the canyon edge in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
There are plenty of country routes to enjoy in Provence, but the route through the Gorges du Verdon is very scenic and makes for a great road trip. One is really on edge here. The Gorge has an amazingly constructed two-lane road that hugs the cliffs, goes though many hairpins, switchbacks, and tunnels, and literally outlines the edge of the Gorge. The view from some of the loftier areas show it curving along the very edge of canyons and one can trace its path from the vistas on each side. The area offers a lot in terms of rock climbing, river rafting, camping, biking and hiking, as well as many Provençal cultural and country pleasantries. It can be popular with vacationing caravaners, but one can just as easily navigate and enjoy the route with them, and find many pull-outs to enjoy the amazing views and rocky trails. "Route des Crêtes" is a worthy side-tour as it winds its way up to panoramic views looking down from a height of over 1,300 meters (4,200 feet) to ponder the thin line of road that edges the canyon and the rippling and rising geologic wonder of Provence stretching hundreds of kilometers in the distance. A good afternoon’s drive may start in the picturesque village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie for a bite of a croque monsieur, admiring the local artisans' faience pottery trade and end up for a fun night’s stay at the Château De Trigance at the far end of the valley for a medieval regal 360 degree view of sunset and sunrise.
By John Lipsey
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