June 30, 2008

The Grand Canyon of Europe

One of the most spectacular natural sites in Europe is the Gorges du Verdon, also known as the French Grand Canyon. Located in south-eastern France (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), it is a river canyon that many consider to be Europe's most beautiful. It is the world's second largest gorge, at about 25 kilometers in length and up to 700 metres deep. It was formed by the Verdon River, which is named after its startling turquoise-green colour, one of the canyon's most distinguishing characteristics.

We travelled from Provence to Digne-les-Bains, then south into Cote d'Azur. We made a deliberate detour to drive along the clifftops for the views and scenery. There are two ways to drive the canyon, along the north or southern walls. We chose the southern road. It is the colour of the waters below that make you want to jump onto a raft for a lazy sail down the river.

(The colour is very reminiscent of our glacial lakes of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta.)

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