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Daluis Gorges

The Daluis Gorges

The Daluis Gorges (Gorges du Daluis) is a unique geological site in Europe. Its landscapes are spectacular: red rocks, blue sky anda great vegetation. Classified as a regional natural reserve, the Daluis Gorges attract every year many visitors and outdoor lovers, passionate about fauna and flora.

A remarkable geological site

The Var has carved its way through mudrocks, made of volcanic ash and fine sediments deposited more than 250 million years ago, during the Permian geological era. It is a breathtaking wine-red landscape with several hundred-meter-high vertiginous cliffs. Nature has sculpted the rock there to give it unusual shapes: fossilized raindrop impacts, current ripples, desiccation cracks… There also are rare minerals in the Gorges du Daluis.

Narrow canyons, red rocks, blue sky… It almost feels like you are in a canyon in the United States.

A remarkable fauna and flora

The exposure, the altitude and the influences of the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea give unique characteristics to this territory located between Haute-Provence, the Préalpes d’Azur and the Mercantour massif. Three nationally protected plant species, as well as ten endemic species or species of great heritage interest, thrive in the Gorges du Daluis. At the end of spring, Saxifraga callosas, a flower species, bloom on the cliffs.

The difference in altitude between the bottom of the gorges and the top of the cliffs, as well as the variable amount of sunshine between the south and north-facing slopes, have made it possible for several species of vegetation to develop. Several endemic species have found refuge in this protected ecosystem, such as the Hydromantes strinatii, an amphibian animal.

There are many cavities in the subsoil. Caves shaped by water are located next to mines, caves or tunnels dug by men in search of mineralogical riches. Today they are home to 25 different species of bats. In the sky, the golden eagle shares its kingdom with other birds of prey such as the peregrine falcon, the short-toed snake eagle or the grand Eurasian eagle-owl. You can also observe other birds: wallcreepers, rock partridges, black grouses…

The hiker’s paradise

Numerous marked paths wind through the Daluis Gorges offering easy or difficult hikes. You can follow a path quite close to the Var, at the bottom of the gorges, that goes up the crests and ravines. You will enjoy a new panorama.

Starting from the Berthéou Bridge, an easy hike leads you to the “belvédère du Point Sublime” (Sublime Point belevedere) which offers a breathtaking view of the red rocks and cliffs of the Gorges du Daluis. You will need to walk for about two hours on a straight path for 4 kilometers. There is a difference in altitude of 266 meters. Other more demanding hiking itineraries will appeal to more experienced walkers.

Temperatures can be hot in summer and the sun can be strong. We recommend that you wear a hat or cap and bring enough water before you go. You are in a mountainous area, on terrain that can be rugged. Adapted footwear is highly recommended. You can get in touch with the Tourist Office to find a hiking itinerary or get the map IGN 3540ET – Haute Vallée du Var / Gorges du Daluis / Mercantous natural park.

Many outdoor activities

The climbing site of Saint-Roche, located in the town of Estenc, offers routes adapted to all levels, from beginners to experienced climbers. Easy to access, this is a great site for families with children. Those looking for more alpine and difficult routes can try the ones of Victor de Cessole on the Aiguilles de Pelens (Pelens needle).

Cycling is also popular in the Gorges du Daluis: the winding roads and the sumptuous landscapes attract cycling enthusiasts. You can also go mountain biking on the paths that meander through the red mudrocks.

Villages and heritage

Several authentic hamlets and villages are scattered all along the Haut-Var valley. Le Castellet-lès-Sausses, where there are many eagles, La Guérite, Daluis and Guillaumes. You can stroll through the winding alleys, discovering the remarkable local historical heritage, or discover the local products at the market.

Driving through the Daluis Gorges, you can admire the various engineering structures that were necessary to create a road in such steep reliefs. The “Pont de la Mariée” (Bride’s bridge), which is 80 meters high, is particularly vertiginous. The tunnels dug in the red rock make the D2202 departmental road quite picturesque.

Must-sees and things to do

The region is a popular tourist destination in the south of France. Not far from the Gorges du Daluis, different visits and activities await you.

The medieval town of Entrevaux, dominated by a citadel, has impressive ramparts and a fortified path that connects the town to the fortress. You can have a nice break in one of the cafés and shops located in the historical center’s narrow streets.

There are many outdoor activities. You can hike in the Gorges de Cians, ride a bicycle or mountain bike. In Puget-Théniers, 20 minutes away by car from the Gorges du Daluis, the “Les demoiselles du Castagnet” via ferrata also awaits you.

Practical information

The Daluis Gorges are located in the north of the Alpes-Maritimes department.

From Nice, you can go up the Var valley by the departmental road D6202 (also called Route de Grenoble). A few kilometers after Entrevaux, turn right by taking the D902 then D2202 toward Guillaumes, Valberg.

From Aix-en-Provence, take the A51 freeway toward Gap and take exit 22 (Digne-les-Bains). Stay on the N85 national road until Barrême, then take the N202 departmental road towards Saint-André-les-Alpes, then Entrevaux until the junction with the D902, and then the D2202 departmental road towards Guillaumes, Valberg.

Are you looking for bed and breakfast, hotels, camping sites or vacation rentals? You can discover our accommodation offer or contact the Tourist Office of Guillaumes.

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