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The Gorges de Verdon

sunny 24 °C

The medieval entrance to the historic city of Entrevaux north of Nice looks like a bit of kitsch to attract tourists - but it was actually built in 1658...

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Behind the city's impressive, and probably impregnable, walls lies a tightly woven labyrinth of narrow streets at the foot of a steep cliff topped with a monastery...

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The ancient streets of stone houses huddle around the base of the cliff. A steep track takes energetic hikers to the top from the spring fed fountain at the bottom...

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Did we climb all the way up - or not? Maybe we just wandered the streets admiring the flowers...

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In 1536, Entrevaux fell to the troops of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, betrayed by its lord Jacques Glandeves; half the population was massacred and the remaining population staged an uprising, cutting the throat of the governor, and offered the town to the French Dauphin, King François I. In recognition of this, Entrevaux was given the Municipal charter of Avignon and declared a royal town of France, with its inhabitants exempt from taxation.

From Entrevaux the narrow mountain roads took us higher into the alpine pastures where row upon row of lavender plants march across the hillsides, painting this sun-soaked land into a landscape by Monet...

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While Provence is probably best known for the beaches along its famous blue coast, le cote d'azure, inland on the high plateaus the blue of the Mediterranean gives way to the purple hues of lavender. The scent of lavender perfumes the air and the fragrance finds its way into almost every local product from soap to ice-cream.
Here we are on top of the world in the foothills of the French Alps...

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Cutting across this mountainous landscape is the Gorges de Verdon - the Grand Canyon of France

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We kayaked through the Gorges and marveled at its pristine waters and vertical cliffs...

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At one end of the Gorges is the historic town of Moustiere Sainte Marie

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According to the legend, during the Crusades in the 10th century the knight Bozon de Blacas was held prisoner by the Saracens. He vowed to hang a star over his village if he was able to return. Legend has it that a golden star has been hanging on a chain slung between tow mountaintops over the village for a thousand years. This may be true. However, the chain has broken from time and the star replaced. Moustiere is a pretty little town on a series of ledges jammed into a ravine and it is a romantic little place to visit.

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Posted by Hawkson 11:40 Archived in France

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