Friday, 11 November 2016

Friday 11 November - Peyres, Gorges du Tarn and Florac

Where’s Colin? He’s at the Municipal Aire in Florac.

What an excellent day we've had, travelling through some scenery as spectacular as I've ever seen.

After a silent night, it was a bit of a noisy morning as, of all days, today was the day a man arrived in the car park with a chain saw for the annual pruning of the trees. We leapt out of bed, thinking we were going to have to move and start our walk from somewhere else, before concluding that, as he'd started right over the other side of the car park, he had plenty to be going at before he got anywhere near us. So, off we set for the waymarked 5km circuit around Peyres, which started by taking us further uphill for an even better vantage point of the viaduct and the valley, before dropping us down to the riverside. We finished with a walk back up through the built-into-the-cliff village of Peyres.

For our next destination the SatNav *really* wanted to take is a long way around on better roads, and even when I programmed in a 'go via' location it was still insistent on a ridiculous route, whereas I'd decided that we would go via the Gorges du Tarn.

Having read no information about the gorges, my decision was based purely on the map showing it as a scenic route and all of the place names along the road bearing asterisks, denoting them as worthy of tourist attention. We've taken lots of scenic routes before and visited places with asterisks, so I expected 'pleasant'. What I didn't expect was for it to be anywhere near as spectacular as it was.

In particular, I took a walk back down the road from our lunch stop on the Pas de Soucy and the scenery was simply stunning. Unfortunately, I can't show it off to you because its scale is such that I couldn't possibly capture even a slight representation of it in a photo.

This snap isn't of Gorges du Tarn, but looking up Gorges de la Jontes, where the scenery was comparatively tame

The driving itself was quite interesting too, as the road isn't a big one and for around 60km, as it goes through the gorge, it wiggles around, going under overhanging rock and through tunnels. It's probably a nightmare to drive in summer, but we had the road almost to ourselves today. The car in the snap below was one of, probably, half a dozen that we passed:

Florac sits not far away from the end of the scenic route and it's a town so typically French that if you found yourself abducted by aliens and teletransported here, you wouldn't struggle to know which country you're in. It's a quiet place today too, as it's a public holiday in France. Even so, we managed to find an open patisserie, from which glorious meringues were bought and eaten before we'd thought to take a foodie pic.

Finally, a note on the weather. It's been dry since about 9.30 this morning, with increasing amounts of blue sky about, but there's also a cool breeze making today's 12 degrees feel much cooler than the 9 degrees daytime max we had midweek.

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