Viewing posts for the category Interesting Natural Feature

Brittany (Walled Cities and Ancient Rock Alignments) and Mont Saint Michel

Dinan, my favorite of the three walled cities we visited in Bretagne, is a walled city that people actually live in.  It's city walls date back to the 13th century and has survived many attacks since then. Many of its half-timbered homes also date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Dinan also has a fortified chateau. More on all that Dinan has to offer in the website at the end of this section.

Gorge du Tarn and Viaduc de Millau

Gorge du Tarn

Our plan was to walk from the small town of St Eminie to St Chely du Tarn along the Gorge du Tarn. It took us awhile to find the trailhead, then followed the wrong trail which led us up the mountain to a non-descript logging road. But we did see the sign for a Sentiere (trail) to go to St Chely du Tarn from St Eminie. Coming from the East on bis D907, it was after the bridge that crosses the River Tarn in town (where the shops are), to the left after a small square (I mean small, a bench and a tree beside large recycling bins). It was going up a small paved road between houses, with a sign readable only when you're coming from the opposite direction. There was parking just before the sign after the bridge. Tired and hot, having gone on a 5 mile trail up a mountain which ended at an unremarkable logging road, we didn't check out the accuracy of St Eminie to St Chely sign, which indicated a distance of 4.5 km one way. Another sign indicated Castelbouc in the opposite direction in 6km.

Lavender Fields of Valensole and Gorge du Verdon

Lavender Fields of Valensole

We stayed in an Airbnb in a small cobblestone village on a hill called Beaumont-de-Pertuis as a base to explore the lavender fields and Gorge du Verdon. Beaumont-de-Pertuis is a quiet town of young families and beautiful views of surrounding vineyards where the grocery store and boulangerie took a 4-hour siesta break and were closed by 7pm. We had hoped to encounter some lavender fields around this little town, but when that didn't pan out, we ventured towards Valensole.

Calanques, Cassis, France

Calanque d’en Vau hike, Cassis, France

The Calanques are steep white cliffs jutting out of the Mediterranean Sea in finger like inlets. We started our hike near the seaside town of Cassis, at the Presqu’il where a large parking lot charged 8 EU for day parking. There was some street parking along the way but none that was available when we were there.

Pyrenees (Gavarnie), Camargue and Toulouse

Cirque de Gavarnie, Gavarnie (French Pyrenees)

My pictures don't do justice to the scale of the Cirque de Gavarnie in the French Pyrenees. At 8 miles rt with 1400 ft elev gain, it was a nice day hike, after a 3 hour drive from Toulouse. The Cirque de Gavarnie consists of about 12-15 tall waterfalls cascading 1000 feet from the top of the wall to the snowy bottom of the wall. The water from all the falls seem to converge at the bottom, near the Hotel de Cirque, in a blue gushing stream. The cirque also contains Europe's tallest waterfalls at 1385ft, called Grand Cascades, on the left side of the cirque when walking towards it.  We met a flock (or two) of sheep along the way.