posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Castellane


Surely the best of all rides today. I had great expectations as far as the Gorges du Verdon are concerned but little did I know that each of the 100km covered in the day would be so beautiful. I started early which meant that between St Croix and Aiguines where the Gorges begin, the road was deserted of traffic so much so that in the first 2 hours I only crossed 3 cars! The early morning mist on the lake also added to the wild beauty of it all. Between St Andrieux and Aiguines the ride was flat until D699 where it rises in a regular climb. At Aiguines I was welcomed by a sign of doom, 'road works, road closed 2 km ahead' and it didn't sound any nicer than that in french! Determined to not miss this unique chance I went ahead anyway ready to walk it should the worse come. My gamble was a success and in fact being on a bike I was the only one left through while all cars and motorbikes were kindly asked to stop and get back to where they had come from! The 'Corniche sublime' as this road is called was superb although hard work with lot of climbing up to 1200m. Views were breathtaking and I couldn't help stopping each time a new panorama was appearing behind the next bend in the road. It hangs like a balcony high up on the gorges I guess about 600 m from the level of the river down below. Leaving the Verdon I reached Comps sur Artuby where I stopped for a drink before taking D955 and D952 to Castellane. To my surprise this was as beautiful as what had preceded it. The road after a long descent reached the river level and wound its way along stunning narrow canyons always parallel to the river Verdon giving an opposite perspective.