Towards the end of summer 2018 I spent a few days camping in the Gorges du Verdon, a spectacular river canyon in south-eastern France. The gorge was carved out by the River Verdon which is famous for its beautiful turquoise-green colour. The area is popular with nature enthusiasts as well as those seeking the thrills of river rafting and kayaking. The region also offers fantastic hiking opportunities through rich, diverse ecosystems and has a strong historic culture.
This was a family trip so recording was not my focus, but I did take a portable rig with me just in case any interesting opportunities arose. The closest town to our campsite was Castellane, a historic city located upstream of the Gorges du Verdon. One of the first things you notice as you approach the town is the Chapelle Notre-Dame du Roc, a beautiful chapel perched atop an abrupt rock overlooking Castellane. Dating from the High Middle Ages, the chapel is only accessible by climbing the rocky path to the summit at 903 metres above sea level. We decided we would head up early one morning and were alone when we reached the chapel. A single church bell can be rung by visitors so I couldn’t resist recording.
The following day was market day in Castellane so we headed back to sample some of the delicious local produce. One of the specialities of the region is Socca, a type of crepe or pancake made from chickpea flour. We enjoyed a delicious lunch of piping hot Socca, fresh tomatoes and delicious nectarines and apricots. Before leaving I recorded the following sound walk which beautifully sums up the atmosphere in the market.
Wherever we went during our stay, we were never far from the River Verdon. Being such a key element to the soundscapes of the region, I naturally felt I should record the ebbing and flowing. Late one afternoon I went for a walk and found a secluded bank of the river where I setup my portable recording rig and captured this soundscape.
The more I travel around France, the more I realise just how lucky I am to live here and have the opportunity to visit so many beautiful regions. With such strong history and culture and stunning natural wonders there is so much to discover in this country. I enjoyed discovering Castellane and the Gorges du Verdon and can’t wait to head back again soon.