June 25, 2017

Prehistoric Questions from England & France

As a child I was not interested in history at all.  What was once my least favorite class in school has now turned into a fascination.  History can answer many questions we have about our past but it also leaves many questions unanswered.

One of the periods that has many unanswered questions is the Neolithic or New Stone Age. There are many questions surrounding the Neolithic period but none as interesting as the questions about the Megalithic monuments in Europe such as the stone circles found in Stonehenge and Avebury England or the menhirs and dolmens found in Carnac and Locmariaquer on the Brittany coast of France.

Stonehenge at Sunset England

Stonehenge at Sunset England by Jeffrey Pfau wikimedia

England is home to many prehistoric monuments but two of the more famous are found at Stonehenge and Avebury.

Avebury Stone Circles England

Avebury Stone Circles by Rxfelix

Avebury, the largest stone circle in England, was built around 2600 BC and contains three stone circles.  While we are not sure what the original purpose of the structure was, archaeologists believe it was most likely used for some type of ceremony.  Over the years, many archaeologists have suggested the ceremonies took place to make the “gods” happy.  Today the site is sacred to Pagans and New Age religions who believe the stone circles offer some type of psychic power.

Stonehenge England

Stonehenge by garethwiscombe wikimedia

Also in the Wiltshire County, Stonehenge is probably the most famous prehistoric monument in the world. The standing stones of Stonehenge are arranged in circles with stones that weigh up to 400 tons.  Again we are really not sure what Stonehenge’s purpose was but it is widely believed it was a type of calendar keeping track of the movements of the sun, moon and stars.  As with Avebury, Stonehenge is popular with New Age religions.  In fact, one New Age belief is that the stones, which came from Wales, were levitated to reach today’s location.  Leave it to engineers to throw water on this belief by saying they were probably rafted on rivers and then rolled on logs.

Dolmen de Kercadoret à Locmariaquer France

Dolmen de Kercadoret à Locmariaquer byJean-Charles GUILLO

France is also home to its fair share of prehistoric monuments dating from the Neolithic period which includes the menhirs and dolmens located along the Brittany coast in Carnac and Locmariaquer.

Carnac - Ménec Allignements Brittany France

Carnac - Ménec Allignements under Dark Clouds by Drriss, on Flickr

Carnac is home to about 2700 menhirs, dolmens and stone rows that are among the oldest found in Europe. Unlike the circles at Stonehenge, the menhirs in Carnac stand upright in a row stretching over a mile in length.  Near Locmariaquer are three sites dating back 7000 years and include the Grand Menhir brise and the dolmen La Table des Marchand.  A dolmen is a tomb that is made of standing stones with a stone slab for a roof.  As with Stonehenge and Avebury, the purpose of these are not known but are thought to have been built for astronomic or religious purposes.

Table des Marchand Locmariaquer France

Table des Marchand Locmariaquer by Myrabella Wikimedia

While history can tell us these monuments all date back to the Neolithic age, it hasn’t told us why or even how they were built.  I don’t know if we will ever know the real answers, so for now we’ll be happy to see them and wonder about all the possible answers!


Why do you think these prehistoric structures were built?

European Villages Discovered-Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

A few years ago I was able to spend a few days in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France, specifically Cahors and Rocamadour.  I remember being amazed at the beauty of my surroundings as we drove through the countryside. As my eyes fell on beautiful village after beautiful village I found myself wondering why the area is not more popular with American tourists.  I also vowed I would return one day to spend more time exploring this beautiful region of France!

Today we’re discovering a European village from the Midi-Pyrénées region, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie! 

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie France by Adam Baker

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie France by Adam Baker

In an area known for chateaux, prehistoric caves, scenic villages, truffles, lazy rivers and the almost black Cahors wine you will find Saint-Cirq-Lapopie.

Restaurant Saint Cirq Lapopie France

Outside restaurant Saint Cirq Lapopie by tristanf, on Flickr

Known as one of France’s most beautiful villages, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie rests precariously on a rocky outcrop high above the river Lot in Southwest France.  Its situation along the river offers stunning views but also provided a great defense protecting the village from many battles that have taken place in the area including an unsuccessful attack in 1199 by Richard the Lionheart.

Lovely Alley Saint-Cirq Lapopie France

Saint-Cirq Lapopie: Alley View by Nick Dimmock, on Flickr

During medieval times, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie was home to four important families each of which has left their mark on this beautiful village. This is also the reason there have been many chateaux and churches in the village.  Remaining today are 3 chateaux and a Gothic church, dating back to the 15th century, with an amazing view over the Lot river valley.

Saint-Cirq Lapopie France Church and Rooftops

Saint-Cirq Lapopie: Church and Rooftops by Nick Dimmock, on Flickr

Like Rocamadour, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is on a pilgrimage path leading to the Santiago de Compostela which is also the reason for its popularity during medieval times.  Today, the entrance to the village is still via the medieval stone wall and gate.

Saint Cirq Lapopie France

Saint Cirq Lapopie Panorama by TwoWings

Wandering the village visitors will see houses dating back to medieval times many of which still bear the steep tile roofs.  Some are made from stone found in the region and others are constructed in the half-timbered style.

River Lot View Saint-Cirq Lapopie France

Saint-Cirq Lapopie: River Lot View by Nick Dimmock, on Flickr

Arriving at Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is almost as wonderful as the village. The road meanders along the Lot River before rising up to display the pastoral countryside of the region.  The surroundings of the village are as dramatic and beautiful as the village which makes Saint-Cirq-Lapopie dazzling no matter which direction you look!

 

Do you enjoy wandering small European villages?

Thanksgiving & Beaujolais Go Together!

Something wonderful took place last Thursday and to most of us it went by unnoticed.  This year’s Beaujolais Nouveau was released and is now available for purchase! Traditionally released on the 3rd Thursday of November, Beaujolais Nouveau is a wine whose release is celebrated across France.  I think it is so nice of the French to release the most wonderful smelling wine ever (in my opinion) just in time for Thanksgiving, and it goes wonderfully with the popular meal of the day – Turkey!

Beaujolais Nouveau France Wine

Est arrivé by theogeo, on Flickr

But where do these grapes come from and why should you visit the Beaujolais region of France?


Lying north of Lyon in the Rhone-Alpes and Burgundy regions is the home of Beaujolais.  Often forgotten by tourists, this region is known for its green hills, flowery villages, interesting geology, architecture, wine and over 1500 km of walking trails.  Wandering Beaujolais you will find delicious and affordable wines and vineyards dotting the gorgeous countryside.

Here are some of the reasons you might want to add the Beaujolais to your next visit to France!

The Stone

The scenery of the region is quite varied.  In the north you will find dense dark forests of fir trees while the south starts to shine as soon as the sun rises!  They say this part of the Beaujolais has the feel of a Tuscan village and if it’s true, its largely because of the StoneEverything from houses, chateaux and churches are built in the golden colored stone of the region. The contrast of the gleaming stone against the green countryside is amazing.

Oingt Beaujolais Region France

Oingt by peg, on Flickr

The Wine

The Beaujolais region is covered by vines along its 34 mile length. Between the red wines from the Gamay grapes to the white Chardonnay, there is something for every taste.   Beaujolais Nouveau can be found in the southern part while the other 10 crus are more in the northern portion.  A great way to experience the region, including tasting the wine, is to follow the Beaujolais Wine Route.   In fact, there are 7 GPS audio-guided tours to help you discover the Beaujolais region, its villages and wines!

Chateau de Bagnols Beaujolais France

Chateau de Bagnols by Corona Mejora Tu Vida, on Flickr

The Hameau Duboeuf

Speaking of wine, there is an actual theme park dedicated to wine and vine especially of this region!  The Hameau Duboeuf takes visitors on an exploration of winemaking’s 2,000 year history.  You can explore the ways trains helped transport the wine, understand how geology and grape varieties affect the tastes, learn about corking, discover how to make wine and, of course, taste some wine!

Beaujolais France

Beaujolais by welix, on Flickr

The Villages

From Beaujeu, in the north, the historic capital of the region with an oil mill to the medieval beauty of Oingt in the south, this region’s villages will not disappoint!  Visiting the Beaujolais region you will find charming hilltop villages offering panoramas which will delight everyone.  Traveling the region, you will also come upon many Chateaux including the Chateau de Bagnols which is now a world class hotel.  Near Romaneche-Thorins there is a 17th century windmill with amazing views of the Saône.  Yes from drawbridges, local craftsmen, ancient chapels and river valleys, the villages of Beaujolais make for a very peaceful, beautiful and delightful experience!

Romaneche-Thorins Beaujolais France

Romaneche-Thorins from wikimedia

Those are a few of the reasons to visit the Beaujolais.  Now go out and grab some Beaujolais Nouveau to personally sample a little of the region!


Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Dreaming of a European River Cruise

The other day I received an email from Viking River Cruises that got me thinking.  The subject of the email was “Where would you go?” and now I’m dreaming about which European River Cruise I would most like to enjoy!

I’ve never been on a river cruise for more than a day but have to admit I am intrigued by them. The friends and relatives I know who have taken river cruises have all returned with rave reviews.  Without fail they have enjoyed the educational and cultural aspects along with the views and social camaraderie!  One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the day cruises I’ve taken on some of Europe’s greatest rivers- Seine, Rhine, Thames and Danube – are the spectacular view you get from the river.  What could be better than arriving in Europe’s cities in the same manner as the discovers of yesterday?

So where is my dreaming taking me. . .


Portraits of Southern France 

Saone river at Lyon France

Saone river at Lyon by Jack

Gliding along the Saône and Rhône rivers from Chalon-sur-Saône to Avignon includes beautiful vistas, wonderful medieval villages of the Burgundy region and the splendor that is Provence. I’ve never been to this part of France but when you combine medieval villages, Roman ruins, history, cathedrals, cobbled street and scenery that has inspired artists like Van Gogh, well how could you go wrong?!  Add in the wine and cuisine this region is known for and you’ve got a winner.

Portugal’s River of Gold

Porto Portugal

Porto by Benjamin Dumas, on Flickr

Slowly floating along the dramatic Douro River in Portugal would offer a unique glimpse into this wonderful region. After having a chance to visit Lisbon, the cruise starts in Porto which, in my opinion, is one of the most picturesque cities in the world.  The cruise offers an opportunity to view a region that some say is still unspoiled!    Along the way glimpse vineyards set on steep hills, castles, Baroque architecture, UNESCO Heritage cities and sites as well as Gothic cathedrals.  Oh and don’t forget the food and drink the region is known for including Port and regional wine!  Yes, I think the magical Douro would be a perfect setting for my first river cruise.

Vineyards & Vistas 

Aschaffenburger Schloss along the Main River Germany

Aschaffenburger Schloss along the Main River by Carschten

The Vineyards & Vistas cruise sails along the Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers in wonderful Germany! Yes I’ve been along the Moselle and have enjoyed day cruises on the Rhine.  I’ve even been to Bamberg, Rudesheim and Trier, so why would this cruise interest me??  I LOVE the Moselle and crave to return so I can further explore this river and the surrounding small villages that are bursting with the wonderful wine of the area. Dotting the banks of the Main River are small quaint villages such as Miltenberg, which is a city that calls me! All of these rivers are full of castles, cathedrals, medieval towns, Roman ruins, history and Baroque palaces.  Plus there is also the German cuisine I love so much and cities famous for their Beer!

If I were going on a River Cruise, it would be one of these three options.  Now it’s your turn …

Where would you go on a European River Cruise?

Epicurean’s Guide to Europe: Delicious Dishes You Have To Try!

As I mentioned in German Food Traditional & Tasty, food may not be a reason I visit a city but it is definitely something I look forward to!  Here is a guest post exploring more of Europe’s cuisine.  Enjoy!

 

Epicureans will travel the world to experience masterfully created flavors. When visiting Europe, epicureans simply must put these countries at the top of their lists.

 

Spain 

Tapas in Spain

Tapas by Ben Sutherland, on Flickr

Spain has many wonderful regions that foodies will want to explore. If you have to focus on one area, though, make it Basque Country where you will find a lot of variety to satisfy all of your cravings!

The Basque Country has earned a reputation for serving some of the best tapas in Spain. In this region, though, they usually serve tapas on bread with a “spike” through the ingredients so it all holds together. They call it pinxto, which takes its name from the word for “spike.” Expect to find pinxtos containing olives, cured meats, cod, stuffed peppers and regional cheeses.

Turkey

Turkish cuisine can vary significantly depending on where you travel. The region near the Black Sea, for instance, uses a local anchovy that offers a distinctive flavor. No matter where you go, though, you will find homemade recipes that have been in families for generations.

When in Turkey, look for dishes carefully built around grilled meats, dates, pistachios, lentils and eggplant.

If you have recently been in other parts of Europe when you visit Turkey, you will immediately notice that Turkish cooks use spices more sparingly than those in other countries. As an epicurean, you need to experience how wonderful this simplicity can taste. It will show you that amazing food doesn’t necessarily need a complex recipe.

France 

Pot de Creme Dessert France

Pot de Creme by arnold | inuyaki, on Flickr

One could argue that excellent European cuisine began in France. The country’s chefs maintain a long tradition of technical skill and innovative flavors that should put it right at the top of your list.

When visiting France, pay careful attention to two things – dessert and wine. Some desserts to include are:

  • Tart tatin (an upside-down tart with apples)
  • Flaugnarde (a large pancake filled with various fruits)
  • Pot de crème (a potted custard)
  • Koign-amann (a kind of puffed pastry)

If you find a really good restaurant (which is easy considering that Paris alone has about 100 Michelin-rated restaurants), then a sommelier can pair your dessert with the perfect wine.

Italy 

Branzino all'acqua pazza Cuisine Italy

Branzino all'acqua pazza by 10Rosso, on Flickr

You probably think of pasta when you think of Italy. You can certainly find plenty of pasta dishes throughout Italy, but the country really excels when it comes to seafood. Only an Alaskan cruise excursion could give you access to fresher seafood!

Some dishes to look for include:

  • Cappon magro (a large seafood salad with a thick sauce)
  • Acqua pazza (poached white fish)
  • Cacciucco (a fish stew)
  • Scampi in the shell

To really get a thrill, visit an open-air market in the morning. You will see gigantic fish that still have their heads attached but don’t let this have a ruin your afternoon meal! In Italy, every part of the fish gets used to make some of the most delicious soups and sauces you will ever taste.

Germany

Germany’s epicurean fame typically comes from its commitment to excellent beers and processed meats. It has that reputation for some very good reasons. In fact, breweries around the world still use the Bavarian Purity Law from 1487 to make high-quality beer with only the most essential ingredients.

When you venture into Germany expect to find plenty of meat dishes including those made of: lamb, goat, duck, turkey, pork and beef.

You’ll swear that you can live off sausage alone once you’ve toured through Germany.


Europe has diverse cuisine that not only varies from country to country, but city to city. For the true epicurean, every European destination lies somewhere on the list of must-visit places.

 

What is your favorite European cuisine or food?

 

This guest post was brought to you by Miles Young,  a freelance travel writer who specializes in all things outdoors. Whether it’s biking, vacations, cruising or just exploring the city, Miles has done it all. When he’s not out conquering the world he’s geeking out on tech or attempting to play the piano. You can reach Miles at mrmilesyoung@gmail.com.

Capturing the Colors of Europe

I enjoy both color and looking at wonderful photographs so when I first heard about TravelSupermarket’s Capture the Colour competition I was excited to see all the beautiful photographs that would be submitted.  Then Vi at Short Travel Tips suggested I enter and I thought “Yeah sure”!  A little later I got the official invite from the good folks at EasyHiker and EurotravelogueNow I couldn’t ignore my friends so I decide to give it a try!


So here are some of my favorites shots and entry into the Capture the Colour competition. . . Enjoy!

 

Blue

Mittenwald Germany is known for it’s beautiful painted facades.  The paintings have all kinds of colors in them -red, green, yellow and white – but not much blue.  I finally found one that had blue in it and it’s on one of my favorite streets!Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Yellow

While visiting the Hofburg in Innsbruck I found a real resemblance to my own personal home so I had to share my favorite golden chandelier!Chandelier in Hofburg Innsbruck Austria

White

Do you have pictures you just love but don’t really know why?  Well, this is one of those for me.  While wandering Vienna Austria I ran into this lovely statue who’s motto is “By Virtue & Example”.  That is one of the definitions of white, isn’t it?

Virtue and Example Statue Vienna AustriaRed

In Paris, one of my favorite spots is Montmartre. Red seems to be the color of Montmartre from the Moulin Rouge to the easels of the artists!

Painters in Montmartre Paris France

Green

From the dramatic Alps to these beautiful rolling hills, Switzerland is one beautiful country! Plain and simply, I love this picture.  Taken as I was walking up the hill to Gruyeres Switzerland, this photo can make me feel calm on the craziest of days! Green Hills of Gruyeres Switzerland

 

There you have it, my entry into the Capture the Colour contest!  Here are five more nominees whose photo’s I’d love to see!

Quirky Travel Guy

On the Go Europe

Used York City

Tips for FamilyTrips

More Kids than Suitcases

 

InterRail: A Book Review

As I said in Four Reasons to Use a European Rail Pass, I think we all want to travel around Europe by train.  In the book “InterRail” by Alessandro Gallenzi the main character, Francesco, lives all our dreams.

As a young adult, Francesco decides to leave his home in Italy to travel around Europe using an InterRail pass. During his rail trip he meets quite a few people, some even become lifelong friends, and has an adventure full of intrigue.

Munchen Skyline Bavaria Germany

Munchen by Andrew Bossi

His first stop is Munich, Germany where he meets an interesting con man named Pierre who is the catalyst for most of Francesco’s intrigue and adventures.  It was during a party hosted by Pierre that Francesco’s intrigue begins when he is asked to deliver a package to someone in Amsterdam by Pierre’s wife.  Even though he did not know what is in the package, he agrees.

Francesco visits cities that are on many of our own itineraries:  Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, London and Rome. As he travels through Europe, the intrigue follows him and continues to build.  It heightens when an event in Amsterdam lands Francesco in the hospital and during a secret meeting with Pierre’s wife in the Père Lachaise Cemetery while winding his way back to Italy via London and Paris.

OudezijdsKolk Amsterdam Holland

OudezijdsKolk Amsterdam by Massimo Catarinells

While the intrigue of the book kept me reading, the parts that stood out for me was his ability to travel with only the clothes on his back, his trust of strangers, and the guts to show up at a station without a destination in mind taking the next departing train!

Now I don’t see myself traveling with only the clothes on my back and I don’t think I’d ever be quite as trusting of strangers as Francesco but I really like the idea of showing up at a train station without a plan and taking the next departing train.  In fact, that is on my personal bucket list.

Parliament at Sunset London England

Parliament at Sunset London England

“InterRail” is a work of fiction based on the InterRail trip taken by the author, Alessandro Gallenzi.  It’s a story about a young man who had enough courage to step out of his comfort zone to find himself and live the life he chose.  By stepping out of the safety of his home to travel he was able to gain the confidence and clarity he needed to make the choices that shaped his life.

How has travel helped shape your life?


Although I was given the book InterRail by Alma Books and asked to review it, all opinions are my own. Alma Books is also giving away a free InterRail pass to EU residents and there is still a couple days left to enter.  So mosey your way over to Alma Books to enter!

Oh La La, La Seine!

It is no mistake that most of the world’s largest cities are located along major rivers. As our ancestors explored new areas they settled along rivers which offered them food, water, transportation, trade and more.

Among these grand European rivers are the Thames, the Danube, the Volga, the Rhine and madam La Seine!

Seine View Paris France

Seine View by polarjez, on Flickr

The 2nd largest river in France is 482 miles long and traverses through some of the most wonderful French landscapes before reaching the English Channel.  The Seine’s humble beginnings are about 19 miles northwest of Dijon deep in the Burgundian wine area. From here it meanders through or near Troyes, Fontainebleau, Paris, Giverny and Rouen before reaching the 6 mile wide estuary separating Le Havre and Honfleur.

Giverny France

giverny 2009 by ho visto nina volare, on Flickr

Outside of the large cities, a journey along the Seine passes Gothic cathedrals, battlefield remnants of past wars, tiny hamlets, forests that were the playground of Kings and rolling countryside with superb scenery.

The Seine is navigable by ocean vessels 75 miles inland to Rouen, by commercial river boats to Burgundy and can be enjoyed for recreational purposes along most of the length.

A series of locks keep the Seine at an even depth of 9 ½ meters and helps avoid catastrophic floods like the one in 1910.  However, even with these precautions, severe storms can cause the river to rise threatening villages, farmers and the billions of dollars of artwork located in Paris.

River Seine Paris France

vue Paris depuis Notre-Dame by Myrabella

At times the Seine has been described by historians as an “open sewer”.  Today the water quality has improved but the sewage system of Paris can experience failures during heavy rainfall allowing untreated sewage to seep into the river.  Despite this, in 2009 the Atlantic salmon returned to the Seine!

Even though the Seine passes many villages and cities, it seems to be synonymous with the capital of France, Paris! Just about everywhere you turn in Paris is a reminder of the importance the river has played in the city today and yesterday.  From the cathedral of Notre Dame to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Musee d’Orsay and many other priceless wonders, history abounds near the river! So important is the Seine to Paris, that in 1991 both the Rive Gauche and Rive Droite were added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in Europe.

Pont-Alexandre-III-et-Invalides Paris France

Pont-Alexandre-III-et-Invalides by Benh

In Paris alone, there are 37 bridges that cross the river. The Pont Neuf, the oldest, dates back to 1607.  I’m sure every visitor to Paris walks across at least one of these beautifully romantic bridges!  Or even passes under them during a wonderful tour along the Seine.

The Seine has been the subject for many artists including Claude Monet.  From his home in Giverny, Monet drew upon the Seine for his inspiration. Many of these important artworks can be seen in the cathedral at Rouen.

Rouen is another important city along the Seine.  Not only famous for its display of artwork inspired by the Seine but for being the site of the execution of Joan of Arc whose ashes were said to be thrown into the Seine after her fiery death in 1431.

Pont de Normandie Le Havre Normandy France

Pont de Normandie by François Roche

Finally at rivers end is the Seine estuary which is flanked on either side by Le Havre and Honfleur.  Here is another of the many bridges spanning the Seine.  Pont de Normandie, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, stretches between the two cities.

Pont des Arts River Seine Paris France

Pont des Arts Wikimedia Commons by Benh

Although we tend to view the Seine as a tourist attraction, you can see that this river is still important to France today!

 

How have you enjoyed the Seine?

Picking a Favorite

Do you ever get asked what your favorite destination in Europe is?

I do.  People ask me regularly what my favorite place is and as I’m about to reply I start thinking what about location A or what about location B?  It’s kind of like asking me to pick my favorite child!

Berchtesgaden Bavaria Germany by Eric Sorenson

Berchtesgaden Germany by Eric Sorenson

I could easily say my favorite place in Europe is Bavaria. I find myself drawn to this part of Germany time and time again.  But by picking Bavaria, what does that say about all the other wonderful places I’ve been?  I mean who couldn’t love the French Basque region? Or Normandy? Or what about InnsbruckLast summer I visited Innsbruck and fell in love. So just because I haven’t spent as much time there means it’s not my favorite?  How do I know it wouldn’t become my favorite if I spent more time there?

 

View of Innsbruck Austria

View of Innsbruck Austria by Leo-setä, on Flickr

And by picking a favorite, where does that leave all the places I dream about visiting? Dordogne, Croatia, Costa Brava and Black Forest are just a few of the places I long to visit.  Will one of these replace my current favorite?

Dordogne river france

Dordogne by Jos Dielis, on Flickr

What makes you label a place as your favorite? Is it the people?  The food?  The scenery? Or is it a sense of peace you get just by being there?  Like love, no words need to be spoken you are just filled with an overwhelming sense of comfort.  Just like an old pair of shoes, this special place fits you like a glove.

Peaceful Lautersee Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Peaceful Lautersee above Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

If I’m honest, that is exactly how I feel when I visit southern Bavaria. I love the people, the food, the scenery and the ambiance.   It just seems to fit me like a glove and makes me feel warm and comfortable.  This part of Bavaria is also a sentimental favorite since I spent most of my time here during my very first European trip.  So . . .

Grounds of Linderhof Castle Bavaria Germany

Grounds of Linderhof

If I asked you right now to name your favorite place in Europe, what would it be?

Gorgeous Gorges du Verdon

Located in Southern France is Gorges du Verdon a natural phenomenon similar to the Grand Canyon in the US.  A mere 2 hour drive from Marseilles is one of the most beautiful areas in the Provence region!

Gorges du Verdon by bibendum84, on Flickr

Gorges du Verdon by bibendum84, on Flickr

Over the centuries, the blue-green water of the Verdon River has carved the many faces of the gorge leaving visitors awestruck at the dramatic scenery as the canyon descends to the floor.  The cliffs will grab your attention since they are as beautiful as they are dramatic.

Gorges du Verdon Southern France

Gorges du Verdon by bibendum84, on Flickr

The Gorges du Verdon are known for being an outdoor enthusiast’s delight.  Here you can walk along the river, hike in the mountains, enjoy white water rafting, fish, camp, water ski, scale the cliffs or horseback ride.

Gorges du Verdon Southern France

Les Gorges du Verdon by Josef Grunig, on Flickr

But the area is known for so much more. The twisty turning road flanking both sides of the gorge passes 43 villages, many lakes and picturesque turnouts great for viewing.  While driving along the gorge you will pass medieval towns such as Trigance, green meadows full of cabins and wildflowers, abbeys offering concerts of Gregorian chants, fig and olive trees, chateaux and more.

Moustiers Ste Marie Provence near Gorges du Verdon France

Moustiers Sainte Marie by ialiangGao

Moustiers Sainte Marie near Gorges du Verdon

Moustiers Sainte Marie from Wikicommons

Medieval Moustiers Sainte Marie is one of the villages worth a stop. The village hugs the hillside and has a spring flowing out of the cliff creating a waterfall in the middle of town.  The looming Notre Dame de Beauvoir monastery sits on its perch high above the village.  Moustiers, known for its pottery, sets a beautiful picture.

Panorama Tourtour near Gorges du Verdon

Panorama Tourtour by Greteck

Aups near Gorges du Verdon Southern France

Aups from Wikicommons

Yes whether you want to be active or just enjoy the scenery, the Gorges du Verdon has it all!

 

Would the Gorges du Verdon be an interesting addition to your next visit to southern France?