Moving further east – the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

We headed for Haute-Provence which was a completely new area for me.  I had seen a little of the area further north and south during previous visits however I found this area very attractive indeed.  We stayed at a very good b&b a little south of Sisteron.  The building was old and pleasantly quirky.  The food was very good and Olivier was extremely helpful providing a lot of valuable local information and maps.

The fact that I was finding it hard to walk was frustrating in such an area with plenty of walking to do but we explored parts of the area by car in the short time we had.  We really would love to return there if only to see the lavender in flower.  Even out of season the shorn plants looked attractive.

The Durance river is one of the major French rivers and was very wide in places.  It has its source in the Alps and flows into the Rhone near Avignon.  Quite a lot of hydro electric power is extracted in the area and this affects the flow of the water but I guess the spring melt would look impressive on such a river.

Thanks to Olivier’s advice we headed to Les Mourres just north of Forcalquier.  These are wind eroded rocks which are unlike anything else I’ve seen in France.  The mushroom shaped rocks for example were very striking and the whole are would be good to explore more.

We then moved on to the mountains of the Lure.  The views (above looking north) were excellent.  Some of the white “blobs” in the distance are not cloud but the Alps with Mount Blanc visible.  The walking there would be good – another place to return to!

The injury did bring one real benefit – without it I would have probably spent more time walking in the area around the b&b.  However, given I could not, we decided to go and see the Verdon Gorge and that is such a remarkable area I have no regrets about that at all despite a drive of around 300kms.

It is described as France’s Grand Canyon and that is not an exaggeration.  The depth of the main gorge is amazing and the scale of the whole area is massive (there is a person sat on the top at the right giving an indication of scale).

The views were stunning and I would like to head back to one day in the not too distant future.