On to Nice - via a trio of gorges

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October 3rd 2021
Published: October 3rd 2021
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Moustiers turned out to be a pretty village clinging to the side of a tall limestone cliff. A rushing stream runs right through the middle of the village, dividing it into two parts that are joined by two or three bridges. Above there are two tokens of religious fervour: a chapel perched on a rock perhaps 100 m above the village, and a gold metal star hung from a chain that spans the gap the stream has carved in the cliffside! I climbed up to the chapel, just because I wasn't already tired enough after 66 km of riding.

The next day we embarked on the challenge of the Gorges du Verdon. The ride actually started with a long descent from Moustiers to the point where the river emerges from the gorge, to feed a hydro reservoir. From there we climbed steeply for 10 km, gaining 750 m. A 7.5%!g(MISSING)rade may not sound like much, but it's pretty challenging when you're hauling two panniers full of gear!

This brought us to the top edge of the gorge, and we rode up and down along it for the rest of the morning. The path of the Verdon river twisted and turned down below, and at points the gorge narrowed to a cleft barely wide enough for the river to pass. We perched close to the cliff edge to eat our picnic lunch.

Amazingly, there was a café by the road right after this, so we resuscitated ourselves with a grand crème and a dessert. Soon after this the road turned away from the gorge and we descended down another valley, but rejoined the Verdon - and now we were at the same level as the river. This part reminded me strongly of some of the river valleys in the Rockies. We were climbing again, still following the river upstream, but (fortunately for the very tired legs) it was a gentle climb.

The day ended in the tiny village of Castellane.

Yesterday we rode from Castellane all the way to Nice - 93 km, the longest ride of the whole trip. Although the day started with a few km of steep climbing, from then on we had a very gentle climb followed by an exhilarating 30 km of steep descent to the outskirts of Nice. This descent took us through not one but two more gorges - why not?

Our guide book did the best job it could getting us into Nice. It led us as quickly as possible to the seafront, where there is a well-made bike path that runs all the way to central Nice. When we finally arrived, Lynn wanted to plunge into the Med, but was just too tired - so we performed that ceremony this morning.

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3rd October 2021

Well done! You made it to Nice in good time. That was a very long ride for your last day, and the scenery was spectacular. So - next stop - Paris?
3rd October 2021

Next stages
Thanks, Teresa. We're moving on to Alsace on Tuesday, then Paris on Sunday. I'm not planning to blog about those parts because of the distinct lack of cycling; but if anything exciting happens, I'll write a note.

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