A Weekend Walking in France
Every now and then, you come across something so beautiful and so much of a surprise, that you can’t believe your luck. The Cirque de Gavarnie in the Pyrenees is one of those things.
Once I’d seen it, I wondered how it was that I hadn’t heard about it earlier. Years earlier. After all, UNESCO feature it on their list of World Heritage Sites. But even the tourist office in Toulouse – its nearest city – barely promotes it.
So much the better for the rest of us, I suppose.
The Cirque is a curving slice of the Pyrenees that forms what is often – and convincingly – described as a natural amphitheatre. Its peaks reach up to 3000 metres and waterfall jets breed across its splintered rocky surfaces, forming rainbow haloes against the snow. Most of these springs are small and spirited, but one gathers momentum to form the Grand Cascade de Gavarnie – or in other words – Europe’s longest waterfall.
As you might expect, plenty of walking routes roam around this 423 metre high cascade, with difficulty levels ranging from the seriously-keen to the I-only-do-this-sort-of-thing-when-I’m-on-holiday.