And more picturesque sights were awaiting us in Aups.
Arriving a few hours before noon, we found a central cafe just as the small town was waking up. Local bakeries were like bee hives, selling dozens of baguettes to each customer. A regular sight, older local gentlemen enjoy a glass of white wine and a cigarette with their morning paper.
Two priorities determined our plans for our stay in Aups – visiting Gorges du Verdon and dining at Restaurant l’Aiguière, the latter taking precedence as we were in the “Capitol of Truffle,” the third largest black truffle market in France. We first took a walk through the town, making our reservation for the evening and admiring the colorful streets.
With our reservation set and most of the town wandered, we were back in the Panda, off for the daily adventure.
If the name Aups rings a bell, it is most likely due to the presence of Gorges du Verdon, a canyon river renowned for its striking color, a mixture of turquoise and green. The river flows through the canyon for approximately two dozen kilometers and empties into an artificial lake, the first sight that appeared as we descended from the surrounding hills.
We beat the storm by about an hour and a half, and rented a three person kayak to explore the twisting stretch of the river. Enormous limestone walls tower hundreds of meters on either side of the river, revealing intricate patterns in the stone, an incredible variety of vegetation scattered in-between, and small waterfalls near the banks of the river.
Worn out from kayaking and swimming in the gorge, our usual snack and a quick nap in our Panda prepared us up for an incredible dinner at l’Aiguière.