Les Gorges du Verdon is France’s version of the Grand Canyon. There are a number of similarities. In both cases, a relatively small river has etched its way through several thousand feet of limestone, leaving a wide gorge with walls of colored sedimentary stripes.
Gorges du Verdon means gorge of the Verdon River. The word Verdon plays on the greenness of the water. Its similar to the blue-green of the glacial waters we’ve seen in the US, Canada, and New Zealand. Here the river is fairly narrow and shallow, up to 2,000 feet below the top of the gorge, and slipping underground at times. The drive around the gorge allows access close to the river level, quite a bit closer than our views from the top of the Grand Canyon in Arizona into the gorge a mile below.
Just as the Rockies were formed by geological uplift, this area of Provence was lifted out of the sea to form mountains. Note the pitch of the layers in the rock behind Michael below.
Surprisingly, these rocky expanses are full of trees, shrubs, and even flowers.
And the views are spectacular.
In the mid-1970s, the river was dammed to provide electric power and a water supply. Water covered the small village of Salles sur Verdon and the residents were removed to a new village on the hillside. The result was the beautiful blue-green Lac de Sainte-Croix.
Just as important as its utility uses are the lake’s tourist opportunities.
In the Haute (high) region is the tiny town of Rougon, with a population of 114 people, an unknown number of goats.
With only 114 people in the town, we didn’t know if we would find a restaurant or at least one that was open. Then we stumbled on a creperie known as Le Mur d’Abeilles, the Wall of Beeboxes.
We couldn’t beat the views. Birds of prey soared over the valley.