Few places in the world are able to surprise with the colors of nature as the Cote d’Azur and Provence. A nature that has been preserved intact through the establishment of many protected areas.
The magnificent gorge of Grand Canyon du Verdon
The most spectacular are at the border between Var and Haute-Provence. The wildest place, a must for nature lovers is the Grand Canyon du Verdon, formed after the river that descends from the Col d’Allos up to Castellane: a magnificent gorge cliffs overhanging kilometers long.
We visited by car along narrow winding streets. The ring road, nearly 150 kilometers of pure emotion, starts from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, an outstanding medieval village on a stone terrace with pink houses framed by a spectacular background of a limestone wall. The name derives from the monastery founded in the fifth century, St. Maximus, bishop of Riez, a village not far.
The center of the country on multiple levels is cut in two by a small stream. On the right bank stands the Lombard-Romanesque bell tower of the parish church at the base, in a medieval crypt houses the Musée de la Faience, which tells the story of Provençal pottery. From small shops where you get to browse the majolica services with delicate white and blue designs it is difficult to leave without buying at least one piece of this fine ceramics.
On the left bank is the way of the cross that goes up to the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir, clinging to the rock that looms over the village rooftops.
From Moustiers the curvy road leads to the mirror pale blue of the artificial lake of Sante-Croix, where despite the very cold water I and Arturo have ventured the bathroom.
From here starts the Corniche Sublime that gives great emotions, as the view from the lookout Balcons de la Mescla, after the high Pont de l’Artuby. The circumnavigation leads on Route des Cretes or the road of the peaks that runs for 23 kilometers, reaching 1350 meters in height.
A scenic spot not to be missed is the Point Sublime which offers stunning views of the gorge. Those who love the adventure is in place: in recent years the Grand Canyon has become one of the favorite destinations of climbers from around the world and also of those who commit hiking in wild environments or enjoy rafting and kayaking.
Equally impressive Roussillon, the land of a thousand shades of ocher, called the “Colorado Provençal”.
In the village colorful facades of the houses overlooking the cliffs that turn shades of crimson at sunset, that seems to ignite the rocks all around.
Not far away is Gordes that stands out on a sea of almond trees and is the epitome of Provencal village perched on a peak. The narrow streets are calladées, from the stone pavement, and date back to the fourteenth century: walking on these stones you can make a jump in the time it leaves a bit ‘strange. The estrangement increases when about one kilometer from Gordes discover the Village des Bories, consisting of 28 “huts” stone reminiscent of our trulli, dating back to the Bronze Age.
Also in the area “the sweet fresh clear waters” of Petrarca: the Italian poet was inspired by the torrent of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse for his Canzoniere and the town bought the house and lived there between 1337 and 1352. The source originates the Sorgue is the most important of Europe with regard to the flow of water that flows from a vertical slot entirely excavated in the rock.