Grand Canyon of Europe
Long before we arrived at the town of Castellane, we could see the steeple of a church perched on a massive monolith. But as it turned out, the town with such a formidable and romantic name wasn’t at all! Rather it was a relatively unassuming town with shops, restaurants, and pharmacies just like one would see elsewhere in France. Nevertheless, after just a short drive outside Castellane, the road entered narrow, steep gorge and began to snake alongside a fast moving stream beneath overhanging rock faces. Then we knew that we we encroaching the grandest canyon in Europe.
I had seen the impossibly beautiful canyons in the southwestern USA, so I was prepared for the scale of what we saw. But I was taken a back by its sheer beauty. Instead of a barren, red, alien-like landscape, the canyon was covered from top to bottom with the luxuriant green of vegetation.
The road winds along seemingly sheer rock faces. Many pull-outs along the route allow visitors to enjoy the scenery. The north and south rims are connected by an amazing bridge. I am sure there are many hiking trails here as well.
Last visit: May 2004
Pros: The scenery Cons: Takes a while to get here In a nutshell: Must-see, even if you’re not the “nature type”