Les Gorges du Verdon
Les Georges du Verdon, which mark the border between the French Départements of Var and Alpes de Haute Provence, were carved into the limestone by the Verdon, plunging down from its source, about 2,500 m/8,200 feet higher up in the Alps.
Without a doubt, the most spectacular gorge is the 21-km/13-mile stretch known as the Grand Canyon of Verdon. Though much smaller than the Grand Canyon in Colorado, its scale makes its vital statistics all the more dramatic up-close. The colorful walls of the gorge rise up to 700 m/2,300 feet above the opaque green river.
At its base, the canyon measures between six and 100 m (20-328 feet) wide, while at the rim it spreads to between and 200 and 1,500 m (650 to 5,000 feet).
The gorge, a protected Regional Nature Park, is Europe’s deepest. As such, it has its own, colder climate – parts of it barely see the sun. While you will find typical Provençal flora and fauna, including the common plants of the garrigue along the hot, arid rim, the deep, cool reaches of the gorge are scattered with Alpine plants, boxwood and, in spring, pomponium lilies, small Alpine mammals. Chamois are a common sight. Vultures, which were nearly extinct in this area, have been successfully reintroduced. The colony of about 60, including a dozen nesting pairs, populate the cliffs near Rougon and La Palud.
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