Lunch alongside Lac de Castillon was great, a gentle breeze wafted off the stunning water which made things a tad more bearable as the sun beat down. The lake was formed by damming the River Verdon and although it does produce hydroelectric power it’s main function is to provide irrigation to this amazing region. Not surprisingly it is also very popular as a leisure destination as well.The French Navy have a presence on the lake as well, where they do “Interesting Stuff.” Apparently they carry out research into underwater sound transmission and detection, the small structure in the middle of the lake is something to do with this, but they don’t like you getting to close with cameras and there are signs warning people to keep away, so I had to grab a shot anyway!
We headed South, through the pleasant town of Castellane and continued to follow the River Verdon. A few kilometres past the town things start to get very interesting. First the land seems to swell up in front, then the river valley gets narrower as the sides close in. We took a left and followed a side valley and lovely twisty roads to the ancient village of Trigance at nearly 3000feet above sea level.
Then, as we swung round a tight corner, bam! We looked down into one of Europe’s finest, deepest, widest canyons. This is the famous Canyon du Verdon.The Canyon, cut by the river through limestone country, is about 25 kilometres long, around 700 metres deep and just over 1500metres wide. OK, so yes it’s not as big as that one cut by the Colorado River, but hey, you gotta make the best of what you’ve got and its pretty darn impressively beautiful!
At the end of the canyon the river flows into the beguiling Lac de Sainte-Croix, another man-made reservoir that provides drinking water for much of Provence and contributes greatly to the hydro-electric production of France. The lake is noted for it’s ever-changing colours and being the largest man-made lake in France. The view from Aiguines was wonderful, with my old friend Mont Ventoux, The Beast of Provence, shimmering in the hazy distance to the right.It seems like a lifetime ago that Harls and I rode up and over that one, I can’t believe that it was only a year ago, you can revisit that adventure here.
It was with mixed feelings that I tore myself away from the Canyon, I still had quite a ride ahead to the overnight stop in Aigues Mortes and whilst the Autoroute had little aesthetic appeal it certainly had moving air, high-speed moving air at that! As Baby and I purred along the A8 to the Camargue I pondered this amazing region of Provence, rich in history, geography and of course food; I’ve been there frequently, but have only scratched the surface so far . . I feel a return trip may be required for more investigation! So in the words of a song:
“Catch your dreams before they slip away.”
And I’ll catch you all soon.