Cycling in the Gorges de la Méouge - Baronnies Provençales Regional Park

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Thursday 29 October 2015

Cycling in the Gorges de la Méouge - Baronnies Provençales Regional Park

The Gorges de la Méouge, an incredible canyon in the Baronnies Provencales Natural Regional Park, is a real gem of a discovery that we chanced upon during our visit to the annual festival here on Sunday. Although driving up the gorges narrow road had been a little stressful the first time in Homer, the return journey had given us a chance to really appreciate the incredible scenery, so much so we decided to visit the narrow canyon with it's sheer cliff faces one more time, this time from the saddles of our bikes.

Located 5 km south of Laragne the Méouge canyon is a classified biological reserve and represents a crown jewel for the department of the Hautes-Alpes in which it sits. The river Méouge has carved beautiful basins through the limestone and with many walking and cycling routes we were really pleased to have stumbled upon it.

Setting off from just outside Chateauneuf de Chabre and close to the Roman Bridge, we made good progress in the late afternoon sun casting weak shadows behind us. The road climbed very gently with the sandy and ivory coloured cliff faces rising up vertically on one side and a drop down to the river on the other and with the trees all turned golden and red in the autumn season it was a fantastic backdrop to be cycling.

The gorge was only around 7km long and we soon found ourselves back in Barret-sur-Méouge where we had enjoyed the festival just a couple of days beforehand. But feeling invigorated by the scenery and fresh air we decided to just keep going as the road continued deeper into the Provence.

In the end we covered a little under 20km before turning back, having crossed into the  Drôme Department (the first time we'd left the Hautes-Alpes Department in more than 3 months!), as the sun dipped towards the ridges on the horizon and the air cooled noticeably. The big highlight was the return through the canyon, with the later afternoon light really emphasising the thick, rocky layers and the intricate, complex pattern of twists and swirls just taking our breath away.

We found ourselves stopping so often to take photos we even had to remind ourselves that it would be dark soon so we had to push on back to the warmth of Homer and a warm supper!

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