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December 4, 2015

France: Gorges du Tarn


Located in southern France the Gorges du Tarn is a 400 to 600 meter deep canyon carved by its namesake river. Our route from Auxerre to Albi took us near the area. With a detour we traveled the gorge via the département road D907bis that runs near the river at the bottom. In the autumn of 2015 it was very quiet.

In an impressive feat of road building, the road along the bottom of the Gorges du Tarn traces the river’s path. Bends of the road reveal peek-a-boo views of isolated villages clinging to the side of the gorge. In many places old villages stand much as they have for years protected from modern renovation by inconvenient access. Here it seems that time has stood still.

These days the Gorges du Tarn is a popular tourist destination. Along with sightseeing, boating the cool shaded river is a popular activity during the summer heat. In late October the numerous canoe, kayak, and raft rental locations have closed for winter and the tourist hordes that clog the road during the peak season are absent. We saw few cars traveling the winding road. The absence of visitors emphasizes to the remote, isolated feeling of the place.

UNESCO celebrates this region’s cultural landscape as a World Heritage Site.



  1. If you like roads cut into cliffs, you should check out Taroko Gorge in Taiwan.

    Comment by PeterD — December 5, 2015 @ 3:15 am

    • A better choice than Gorges du Tarn which doesn’t have roads cut into a cliff.

      Comment by anotherheader — December 6, 2015 @ 12:01 am

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