Scenery of southern France

Discover the scenic highlights in the south of France

Castagniccia hill villages in Corsica

 

Heading south to the French island of Corsica, you reach a popular destination that has many busy resorts, towns and scenic highlights, with many renowned beaches and harbours filled with expensive yachts.

Less known on the ‘Isle of Beauty’ is the east coast, and less visited again are the remote villages that can be found in the forested slopes in northern Corsica to the east of the high mountains.

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Five reasons to visit Correze

 

The Correze department of France is one of the country’s undiscovered (well, almost) highlights and if you are planning to visit the south of France but can’t face Provence or the Dordogne again this could be just place that you are looking for.

Here are five reasons why you should consider Correze for your next visit to France:

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Gorges du Tarn

 

Head inland from the Languedoc coast, and north into the Lozere department, and you will find one of France’s scenic highlights at the Gorges du Tarn. The gorges run for some 40 kilometres along the course of the Tarn River, starting west of Florac finishing near Les Vignes.

There is a road that follows along the bottom of the gorge offering some very impressive scenery and a sprinkling of villages to discover en route.

You might not realise as you travel through the cliff-lined valley but these are the deepest gorges to be found in Europe – they don’t ‘feel’ as big as the Gorges du Verdon further east in France for example.

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Mont Lozere

 

Mont Lozere is in the Lozere department, northern Languedoc-Roussillon. To the north is the valley of the Lot River, and to the south the valley of the Tarn.

The road across the mountain runs from the village of le Bleymard, heading south for about 30 kilometres to eventually reach the town of le Pont-de-Montvert. Leaving le Bleymard you at first enter a verdant tree lined valley. The road climbs rapidly and the landscape changes, and within a few kilometres you are in pine forest.

After passing through the Mont Lozere ski station you leave trees behind and enter a more barren landscape of open moorland where a few trees battle for survival against the wind and winter cold.

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Ardeche gorges

 

The Gorges of the Ardeche are located towards the southern edge of the Ardeche department (Rhone-Alps region) of France, north-west of Avignon.

Running for approximately 40 kilometres, they are one of the most impressive scenic highlights in France. A visit usually starts from Vallon Pont d’Arc, an active town a few kilometres to the west.

Heading east, the first highlight, and the entrance to the gorges, is at Pont d’Arc. This is a natural stone arch over the Ardeche River that is exceptionally scenic. It also has river beaches which are very popular with visitors.

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Calanques National Park

 

On my travels last year I took a rare break from rushing around visiting and photographing places to chill-out on a two hour boat ride. Although I still called it work when I was telling Mrs B what I’d been up to.

Setting off along the coast from Cassis towards Marseille, the trip was to pass by several of the so called Calanques of Marseille.

These stunning rock formations are dramatic white limestone cliffs that plunge hundreds of feet into the turquoise sea below, with inlets (calanques) leading to tiny beaches. (You can see more pictures at the bottom of this Marseille Calanques page). They are an unmissable highlight of a visit to this region and a pleasant trip from Avignon if you want to avoid staying in Marseille itself.

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Cingle de Tremolat

 

The Dordogne region is well known for its scenery, its castles and its beautiful medieval villages, and rightly so.

There are many places where you are close to the Dordogne river, and plenty of opportunities to canoe along with the flow, passed villages and castles. There are also a couple of places where you can admire the view from high above the river.

One such place is Tremolat – the Cingle de Tremolat is a large curve in the river where the river follows a giant meander, with the two sides of the loop almost close enough to join up.

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Marseille calanques

 

On a recent trip across southern France I at last give into temptation and stopped off at Cassis, south-east of Marseille, so that I could take a boat trip along the calanques.

The coast in this part of France consists of high craggy cliffs that plunge into the turquoise sea below, with occsional inlets where boats can enter to be surrounded by this dramatic landscape – these inlets are known as the Marseille calanques.

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