We heard that if we were to visit Rennes Le chateau that the next ‘must see’ place was Galamus Gorge. A 36km drive that took us as high as mountains and as low as fields was only the beginning of our next adventure. On the way to the gorge we passed through beautiful tiny french villages that finally gave way to the most epic and terrifying drive we have ever done.
Just before we entered the gorge an ambulance that is the same size as our van overtook us and went charging on ahead. Thank god that he did because if we hadnt seen a van our size take on this road we never would have carried on.
The best way to explain this road is to look up ‘most dangerous roads in europe’ and you will find this. With sheer drops that seemed to carry on into a dark abyss on your right hand side (remember that we drive an english right side drive) and overhanging cliffs above that only has a 2.7m clearance to your left, you can imagine the utter panic that set in when we realized there was no turning around.
The lane was only meant for 1 car, i swear to god. Yet, it was a two way road with cars barreling towards you. People were trying to reverse tiny cars to navigate the turns and there we were in what felt like a missive van. So the only way through this was to kick Jessie out of the van so she could run down the middle of the road under the overhang making sure we could actually fit and to stop traffic.
There was absolutely no turning back once we entered the gorge. All we could do was go forward and pray that we made it to the other end. The last part you do to get to the parking lot is drive through a cave tunnel which you can’t help but breath a sigh of relief when you actually make it out the other side. Apart from the fact that this was a very terrifying experience, the views are absolutely epic and totally worth it. Once we had pulled over and got over what we had just achieved, we started exploring the area.
This isn’t just a gorge, it is also a hermitage. If you can stomach the steps down to the church which is actually a cave built into the side of the cliff, it is amazing to see. Once we got to the bottom of the steps we began to hear a loud rhythmic drumming from the cave. We walked down the few steps to the entrance, peered in and saw the hermits holding some kind of ceremony. Bats and birds swooped through the air chirping as the chanting and drumming continued. The deity they were praising didn’t appear to be Jesus but instead some sort of hermit god…of sorts. There were a lot of long haired hippies swaying back and forth and sharing words to one another in french.
That night we spent slept in the van in the carpark on top of the gorge looking back on our epic drive. This is a place not to be missed. It is something really impressive to see. Pictures and words really don’t do it justice. Just take our advice and check it out if you’re ever in France…just make sure your van is no taller than 2.5m as we discovered that ours is that day…
PS! If you’re into canyoning, caving, via ferrata and any other adventure activity then you have to connect with the super nice Pierre from Oxygen Aventure. We met him as we parked up at the top of the gorge and he told us about all the amazing things his company offers. If you’re visiting the gorge and are looking for that extra bit of adventure then I would highly recommend contacting them.