Gorges du Verdon, Haute Provence, France

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We were so excited to see Gorge du Verdon, known as Europe’s Grand Canyon (I have not seen the U.S. canyon, but I was prepared to be impressed). As luck would have it, we hit this area during a rainy spell. We’d had big hiking plans, so we spent a day glancing hopefully at the sky to no avail. When it became clear the weather was not going to turn, we grudgingly headed out in the car and were able to get a pretty good overview of the area.

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Europe’s largest canyon is in the middle of Provence, about two hours from Cannes. It runs 25 kilometers through a limestone plateau. At its steepest points, the floor is 700 meters deep, which is even more striking given the gorge’s width of 8 – 90 meters.

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Lac de Sainte Croix is the largest lake in the area. The unique turquoise color is due to its clay bottom.

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The green river water is due to fluoride and the micro-algae.

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You can drive along the north or south rims. Make sure not to miss Route des Crêtes, the one-way loop offering spectacular views into the canyon.

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Of course, there’s all kinds of outdoor activities – rock climbing, hiking, camping, cycling, paragliding, etc. We did not have the right weather to partake in any activities other than driving.

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