Our train ride to Monaco was very short, and we descended from the station to the Hertz rental agency. This was a lot of work, even with wheels on the suitcases.
When we got to the bottom of the stairs, we had a view of the cliff behind us:
We had to think about what car to select, because we knew we needed enough room for three people and their luggage. We had invited our friend Carol to join us later in the week at a gite in Sablet, in the heart of wine country. We opted for a slightly bigger car than we would normally get, and soon were on the open road, headed to the Gorge du Verdon.
This destination is the Grand Canyon of France. To get there we took several different winding departmental routes, connecting with the D71. The arrival point is the famous Balcon de la Mescla. The word Mescla is from the Provençal language and it designates where two rivers join.
From here we followed the D71 for about a forty minute drive winding along the gorge.
Toward the end we came to the Col d’Illoire. There is a great panoramic shot of this on the internet. The Lac de St Croix, a result of the construction of a dam, is at the end of the gorge. There are some excellent aerial videos of the region. Here is the best I found, a little less than 5 minutes long, taken by drone. It gives some remarkably close views of the canyon and surrounding territory, as well as some of the activities that go on there.
The canyon is a natural marvel; the lake is man made. We were glad to have seen both. From the lake it is just a short drive to Moustiers-Ste Marie, our final destination for the day.