Driving into France, Castellane and Gorge du Verdon, France. – Europe Road Trip

Day 73 – Driving into France
With two and half weeks to go we thought we’d better see some of France. There weren’t many free places to stop along the south of France so we decided to head towards the National Park in Verdon and spend the day driving the scenic route! This involved the autostrada through the mountains to the French border. Since Croatia this has been the most guarded border, accompanied by quite a few migrants sitting around and a number of banners with ‘Say no to Borders’ slogans. We’ve driven around and seen how publicised the lack of help given to Jews to escape Nazi Germany, something that was completely outside their control. Yet here we are condemning people to a similar fate. People don’t risk their lives crossing borders and oceans for no reason!
We then decided to take the scenic route and drove along some incredible coastline and into Monaco to drive through Monte Carlo for a bit of fun. With its skyscraper hotels, huge casinos, massive boats and posh cars with their four digit number plates, we felt just by stepping outside our van they’d charge us £100! We did nearly have a run in with a low barrier thanks to our GPS; that would have cost a lot more than £100!

Heading back up into the mountains we drove all the way along the edge of a river, stopping several times to take photos of the incredible scenery and entered the National Park where the Gorge du Verdon is. A lot of the areas water has been controlled so there’s a number of man made river and giant dams in the area.
We stopped in the cutest little town called Castellane. It used to be on top of the hill but had now been relocated to the bottom. There’s still some buildings at the top and a small church overlooks the cliff edge watching down over the town. For such a small town, there was an incredible amount of tourists milling about as it’s a great place to start lots of hikes as well as park up your motorhome in a dedicated car park. We wandered into town to pick up a baguette (because we’re in France!) and a map.04-IMG_536508-IMG_621107-IMG_6212
Day 74 – Gorge du Verdon

Jack went out early to get some breakfast as our milk had decided not to be milk anymore. He came back with the nicest croissants and pain au chocolate we’ve ever tasted from the bakery we bought the baguette from yesterday. Everything in there made me want to drool and we could have spent a fortune.

We pigged out, packed up and restocked the van, then drove to gorge du Verdon. This is the biggest gorge in Europe and you can drive the entire length of it, winding up and down the mountains and stopping at parking bays to admire the view. On the way we passed some seriously scary cliff overhangs, having to drive practically on the opposite side of the road in order to get passed. There was also an interesting stretch leading up to a tunnel and round a corner which was only the width of a single car; sounding our horn the entire time we managed to make it through.29-IMG_6282

When we arrived at the beginning of the gorge it was incredible standing on the edge of a huge cliff watching birds with 2-3m wingspans flying through the gorge. Jack practised his photography skills and managed to get some pretty good action shots. Every time we stopped we discuss not stopping again at the next stop or it would take us forever to get around. Of course by the time we got to the next stop we pulled over. At one point we watched about 20 birds soar through the gorge. There’s a lot of photos included in this bit because we couldn’t decide which ones were best!

On our way back out we pulled up at Point Sublime which was packed on our way in. This is the start of the gorge and has an incredible view across it. Mum, I picked you up a bit of cliff as I know how much you like rocks. We also stopped at one of the bridges where you can be at river level. 11-SAM_120830-IMG_5461We spend the night back in Castellane, going for another walk after dinner through the beautiful little town.

Make sure you out more of my posts on our Europe Road Trip across 3 months, 7,000 miles and 15 countries.

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Europe Road Trip: Diary Post, Day 87-89: 3 Months, 7,000 miles and 15 Countries. Driving into France, Castellane and Gorge du Verdon, France. Europe Road Trip: Diary Post, Day 87-89: 3 Months, 7,000 miles and 15 Countries. Driving into France, Castellane and Gorge du Verdon, France.

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