Saturday, December 19, 2020

France Trivia Advent Calendar, day nineteen, the gorges of France

French Village Diaries France Trivia Advent Calendar day nineteen gorges of France
Advent day 19, a biere rubis and a Pays d'Oc rosé

Advent day nineteen, Saturday 19th December 2020

I seem to have developed a weird Covid-19 related condition, where anytime something doesn’t feel quite 100%, my mind goes into free-fall panic mode. This first happened a few weeks ago, on a Saturday night, when Adrian opened his advent beer, a biere blanche. Up until that night, I’d enjoyed a good sniff and taste of all his beers, and their bouquets and flavours had packed more of a punch than my wines. The biere blanche, however, smelt and tasted of nothing and was such a contrast to all the others, I assumed it was my sense of smell. I counted back five days, we’d been shopping in Niort, I panicked. What if the masks, the hand gel, the hand washing and the keeping of distances hadn’t been enough and being out and about in town, mixing with others, had exposed me to the virus? A restless night gave way to a new day, where I could smell and taste just fine, and no new symptoms arrived. I scolded myself for over-reacting and carried on as normal, until the early hours of Friday morning when I awoke with a migraine. 


There was a time when I’d regularly be hit with migraines, but now it really is once or twice a year and I can usually pinpoint a reason; hormones, a very late night, too much to drink or being unwell. This time none of the above applied and it was also unusual for one to hit in the middle of the night. As I lay there waiting for the painkillers to kick in, fighting the nausea and violent swings in temperature that accompany every migraine, I counted back five days, and we’d been shopping, again, in Niort. What if this wasn’t really a migraine, but the virus? The pain eventually receded, sleep took over, and I when I awoke, although feeling a little battered, it was reassuring to know my head had cleared and all was well once more. Is this what life will now be like, where every ache, or symptom, or odd feeling pushes the panic button in my brain? I do hope not, but for now, I’m staying away from shopping in Niort.


French Village Diaries France Trivia Advent Calendar day nineteen gorges of France
Gorges de la Nesque, Provence

France Trivia advent calendar, day nineteen, the gorges of France

I thought today’s trivia could be all about gorges, as we have been going out of our way to drive or cycle some of the most spectacular gorges in France for over ten years now. In fact, exactly six months ago today we were cycling the picturesque gorges de la Nesque in the Vauclause, high on the adrenalin of having cycled up Mont Ventoux the day before.


Gorges are deep river ravines formed over millions of years by the water eroding through the rocks and creating spectacular scenery. France is blessed with a number of gorges that are simply stunning, from the deep and dramatic gorges du Tarn and gorges du Verdon, (the largest canyon in Europe), to the meandering beauty of the gorges de l’Ardèche with its stone arch carved out by the river. We will never tire of straining our necks as we look up the steep rock sides to watch vultures and birds of prey circling in the thermals, or peering over precipices into the ravines below, where tiny kayaks tackle the white water. A holiday is not a holiday without a bit of gorge spotting for us and these posts will show you just why we love them so much.

Cycling the Dolce Via (valley de l’Eyrieux, Ardeche) 

Cycling the Gorges de la Nesque, Provence 

Cycling the Gorges du Loup, Côte d’Azur 


Les Gorges du Tarn 

The Gorges du Aveyron 


  1. Jacqui, I'm sure you're not alone with your moments of health panic! Completely natural in these scary times.

    1. Thank you Lise. It does feel better knowing I'm not the only one.


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