When it comes to visiting France, there is just so many different things that you can see and do, which will keep you busy for days. While many people choose to visit Paris as well as the other major cities within the country, countless others make their way into the countryside to see the natural splendour that makes France so unique.
Verdon Gorge, France by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho
One of the most popular destinations in the country is that of the Verdon Gorge (Gorges du Verdon). This amazing canyon is 700 meters deep and 21 kilometres in length. The canyon itself varies in width along its length from a narrow passageway of only six meters wide to a massive stretch of more than 1500 meters.
Verdon Gorge was formed as a result of tectonic movements and erosion from the Verdon which flows through the canyon from the village of Castellane to Rougons. The river itself is a fast flowing stream which continues to cut deeper and deeper into the bedrock. The source of the Verdon River can be found 2500 meters above sea level; just outside of Col de la Sestrière. At Rougons, the river slides into a very narrow crevice and is hidden from view until it reemerges at the Lac de Ste-Croix.
Verdon Gorge from the top, France by maarjaara
Of course there is nothing new about the beauty of the Verdon Gorge. As far back as 400,000 years ago, primitive man has called the area around the gorge, home. There have been thousands of artefacts found in this area. As a result of these discoveries, the local Museum of prehistory was established back in 2001. Today it is considered to be one of the largest in all of Europe.
For the most part, to access the Verdon Gorge you will need to take your choice of the North or South Rim roads which leads out of Moustiers-Ste-Marie and makes its way to Pont de Soleils. The North Rim Road is more than 31 kilometres long and offers some of the most impressive views into the canyon. The South Rim Road is 48 kilometres long and also offers some awe-inspiring views of the deep canyon. For those wishing to drive both the North and South Rim roads, expect to spend an entire day of driving.
Walls of the Verdon Gorge, France by François Philipp
It is also possible to visit the Verdon Gorge by raft or hiking. Rafting on the Verdon River is for extremely experienced persons only due to the very violent and dangerous trip. The trip itself will take 6 to 8 hours to complete. There are also 10 hiking trails along the rim that range from 2 to 8 hours to complete; and take you from the roof down to the basement of the gorge.