Gorges de l'Ardeche, the Grand Canyon of Europe
Gorges de l'Ardeche Travel Blog› entry 905 of 1090 › view all entries
Les Gorges de l'Ardeche is French for the Grand Canyon of the Ardeche. And a Grand Canyon like scenery it is indeed. By far not as huge, deep, and wide as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but still very nice and impressive. Ground by the Ardeche River in the limestone soil, the approximately 30-km long canyon can be as deep as 300 meters.
One of the touristical interesting points is the Pont d'Arc, a natural bridge 60 meters wide and 54 meters high, shaped by the Ardeche River.
The new year did, meteorologically seen, make a bad start. The weather was grey and occasional rain showers passed by. Since today was scheduled to be my last day, and I insisted on seeing the canyon Willem and I headed out to the gorge anyway.
The views were better than anticipated. The misty clouds gave a surrealistic character to the deep canyons. The Pont d'Arc was free of clouds and, due to the bad weather, also free of tourists.
Midway the canyon the rain stopped and at the same time we spotted a trailhead of a hike into the canyon. We decided to just try it. Via a service road we hiked down 215 meters to the bottom of the gorge and to the bank of the Ardeche River. Our way out of the gorge was via a real hiking trail which, meandering through the (wet) vegetation, sometimes lead us dangerously close to the canyons abyss. On our way up we also saw a dolmen, a thousands-years-old megalithic tomb.
The rain had, of course, started again when we were at the bottom of the gorge. We arrived rather soaked at the car, which took us back to our nice and warm gite in Grospierres.
More pictures below!