We thought Provence was all olive groves, vineyards, Mediterranean pine forests and lavender fields. However the region, whose name is often shortened to Provence, is actually known as Provence – Alpes – Côte d’Azur. Or, in English, Provence Alps and the Riviera. Moving east from Avignon, or north from Nice, one soon gets into hill country and very soon after that into the limestone massifs of the Alpine foothills. The land is arid and in places barren; but though the climate here is generally dry, this is an area crossed by rivers flowing down from the snowy peaks of the Alps. Over millions of years, they have carved deep valleys in the limestone, none of them longer and deeper than that of the Verdon.
From its source near the Italian Border, the Verdon runs south as far as Castellane. While much of the valley is spectacular, it in is the section between Castellane and Manosque that the river has carved its impressive canyon known as the
The Gorges du Verdon.
There are those who come for the spectacular road trip round the edge of the gorge just like us ; there are those who come to enjoy some of the exhilarating hiking trails in and around the gorge.
Then there are some who come to admire the bird life – vultures, eagles and other birds of prey. Finally, there are those who come to enjoy the experience of paddling up the bottom end of the gorge in a canoe or a kayak or a pedal boat.
Our route required Harvey to dig deep into his power reserves as we climbed higher and higher above Lac Sainte Croix. All of the way up I was eyeing every bend working out how I would take it if I were on my motorbike. The drive was exhilarating even in Harvey our 3.5 tonne Motorhome. I resolved to come back one day and ride this route on VEM (Triumph Street Triple R)
After two hours of breathtaking scenery, hairpin bends and exhilarating driving, we were happy and content to arrive at our destination for the night, Castellane.