Our Tour of Alpes De Haute Provence
Posted on June 23, 2014
Shaun has now finished his first two parts of his Paragliding course so we have gone off to explore Provence and to see what it has to offer.
Digne as it is commonly referred to, was our first stop. It is the capital of the Alpes de Haute-Provence, and the only city in the long stretch of mountains between Orange and Turin, it has a thriving boulevard of cafés mixed with smart shoe-shops, chocolate shops and bookshops. We were there to Mountain Bike and to take advantage of the numerous mountain walks that criss cross the area. We stayed at the free Aire situated by the Thermal spa. It was an ideal location right by the river and only a 10 min walk into town.
Castellane as you can see is a picturesque old town 52 Km away from Digne. The Aire we stayed at was at the bottom of the Notre Dame Du Rock. We stayed here for 48hrs which was actually the maximum time allowed to stay at this Aire due to its popularity. The Aire cost us €8 a night and it had a new toilet block on site. It is a very popular Aire so you do have to get there early. Yes we did climb up to the top of Dame Du Rock. There is a church on the top with stunning views of the valley. Shaun went off for a mountain bike ride, and ended up doing 55km with 2000m of uphill riding and lots of natural single track to make up for the big hills. I managed a little ride with Jäger and thoroughly enjoyed it. All the trails are properly marked, the map tells you exactly how far it is and if it’s difficult or easy, also tells you the height ascended and descended. We had a lovely meal in a local restaurant, a treat for ourselves. Jäger had the leftover pork bones, so everyone was happy.
From Castellane we headed towards St Andre this was so Shaun could do some paragliding and so I could do some walking in the mountains with Jäger. We wild camped while we were here in a little wood close to the rive and not too far from a paragliding centre that had the landing site that Shaun intended to land in. There were all levels of mountain bike routes running through the area. There was also an Aire in the town that was free. We preferred to stay in the wood it was prettier and a more chilled place.
After wild camping for 3 nights we headed south to a campsite for 2 nights near Grasse. We stayed at a campsite because we wanted to visit the area and there were no Aires around and also so we could do our washing. It cost us €16 a night and to be honest we actually thought in the end that we were being over indulgent!!! Yes it was nice to stay under the shower and not worry about how much water you were using. But we didn’t really like how close everyone was too each other in a campsite and we didn’t use many of the facilities it offered!!! A waist really!! But we did meet some nice people while we were there. We had a lovely evening with Mike and Julie. We do hope you both keep in touch with us and let us know how Mike gets on with his World record attempt.
The tour continues next stop Gorge Du Verdon.