Horizon at Sandy Point

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Les Demoiselles Coiffees and the drowned valley

I thought today would be a rest day. Since tomorrow I go back to the folks in Draguignan, and Indra and Pierre return north to Crillon. But no, the Abominable Snowman made tracks even though the weather was overcast this morning. And so when the sun came out in the afternoon, he was raring to go for a last lap in the area.

Direction Barcelonette, east towards the Italian border.
So we drove a little way east of Pontis and Chorges, again towards the Italian border. We were headed to Barclonette which maybe got its name from the same place as Barcelona. It is the largest town in the valley of the Ubaye river and has a long history going back to 1200s. Some of its early inhabitants migrated to Mexico and returned.

Definitely a warmer Mediterranean ambience

On the streets of Barcelonette

So Pierre finds a cock to play with!

Between Pontis and Barcelonette stand these nature-sculpted forms Les Demoiselles Coiffee. These are free-standing rock pillars, looking like ladies with piled high hairdos.
Les Demoiselles Coiffees
In the Ubaye valley

We come upon Lac de Serre-Poncon where an entire region about 20 km long and three km wide was drowned in the Ubaye valley, to create the largest man-made lake in western Europe. It had been decided in 1895 to create a dam after severe floods in the 1850s. Work did not start til 1955 and the dam was complete in 1961, drowning the village of Savines. The lake gathers water from the Durance and Ubaye rivers as they flow towards the Rhone.

Lac de Serre-Poncon, the largest manmade lake in western Europe

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