Wednesday, 9 March 2016

France - The Verdon River Gorge and Le Chateau in the Sky

After leaving the enchanting village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, we decided to drive south for a little ways while we still had a couple hours of daylight.  We knew that the Gorges Du Verdon, or Verdon Gorge, lay in that direction, but we weren’t sure exactly what we would see of it. 

It didn’t take long before we started catching glimpses of the most brilliantly colored lake I have ever set eyes upon.  As we reached a pulloff that sits high over the astonishingly turquoise-green waters of the Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, we pulled over to the side of the road and from there we could see the source of these amazingly beautiful waters – the Verdon River which spilled out from the Verdon Gorge.  

I’m not sure even how to put this sight into words because I just sat there in the car, jaw dropped, staring at this awesome show of nature before us.  We were parked above a huge lake with aquamarine waters that looked more befitting for a Caribbean Island.  And off in the distance we could see a narrow gorge with impossibly high limestone walls - the Verdon Gorge.  Where the River emerges from the spellbindingly beautiful Gorge and into the lake sits a bridge, the only way over the lake unless you swim or take a boat.  As we walked across the bridge and looked deep into the canyon, it's sheer walls rising straight up towards the sky, and the Verdon River below us with crystal clear waters but no sign of the bottom which left my imagination wondering just how deep is this river is, my head started to spin and my heart beat fast.  It was just magnificent...

Amazing...astonishing...breathtaking...mind blowing… I think you get the picture. 

You can drive around the rim of the Verdon Gorge, but unfortunately we didn’t have time for that late in the afternoon.  So we settled for a shorter drive up to an overlook where you supposedly can see down into the Gorge. 

Well my friends, this Gorge is so deep that after climbing up for several miles to this overlook, we could not catch even a small glimpse of the vibrantly turquoise waters that we knew were hidden way down on the bottom of this great Gorge.   

Eric snapped what photos he could get, and we started our journey back to our little Robion apartment two hours away.  But we didn’t get far before we were distracted once again, this time by a beautiful little village that sits not far from the top of the Gorge overlooking the sparkling turquoise waters of the lake... 

The village of Aiguines...

And as the golden glow from the setting sun washed over the village, the sight was spectacular...

As was the Chateau that sits on the edge of the town with a view of the lake and surround countryside that is just unreal.  All the gates around Le Chateau were locked, but we could still get a pretty good view of the Chateau and it's four interesting towers, the roofs of which were each tiled in different colors and patterns.   

Beautiful, yes, but also very intriguing.   

Why would you use such different colored roof tiles on each tower?   

Well, it didn’t take long before we found the answer on a little plaque hanging outside the Chateau. 

The tiled roof of each tower represents one of the four seasons of the year - spring, summer, fall, winter. A tribute to mother nature, or as the plaque states, a local tradition - whatever the reason, it was beautiful, as was everything we had seen that day. 

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