Gorges de la Méouge

Natura 2000 area

In the heart of the Provençal Baronies Regional Natural Park, 5 km southwest of Laragne, the gorges of the Méouge connect the Drôme Provençale to the Hautes-Alpes by a small road that winds about ten kilometers between Barret-sur-Méouge and Châteauneuf de Chabre, along the Méouge river. The turquoise river cascades, forms whirlpools, basins, polished pebble beaches, in the depths of deep lush gorges. Designated as a Wonder of the High Alps, the gorges of the Méouge (canyon) bathed in light and heat and are a popular place for swimming and walking; classified ecological reserve, they are one of the jewels of the Sisteron Buëch area.
 
Curious visitors will take advantage reading the explanatory panels on flora, fauna and geology: it is here a Natura 2000 site, full of Alpine-, Provençal-, Mediterranean-, Iberian- and even North African-vegetation. The site offers a great diversity of natural habitats (river, cliffs, limestone tuffs, forest) the habitat of remarkable species like the southern barbel or the ocellated lizard. For more info on geology, flora and fauna, listen to the discovery audio-guide.
 
Old stones lovers will admire a three arched Romanesque bridge, still in very good condition, often wrongly called "Roman Bridge" even if it probably dates from the 14th century, as well as the remains of a mill which was washed away by a flood in 1901. Above the gorges, the village of Pomet, perched on the rocks, offers a beautiful viewpoint.

 

I discover with images

 

Swimming and relaxation

The Méouge gorge is beautiful in every way, it is a must-see natural site, a true paradise for fans of lazing around beside the river. The small basins carved into the limestone rock form natural bathtubs where children can swim, have fun, jump... under the supervision of their parents amazed by the beauty of the place! (Picnic areas, dry toilets and parking areas are provided for your convenience). Please note: the water holes can be deep and the current strong!
 

FOCUS ON...
the flora and fauna of the Gorges de la Méouge

Natura 2000 hikes are organized in summer by the Smigiba to help you discover the different environments and remarkable species that live here: the midwife toad, the marsh fritillary butterfly or the starry scandix flower.

 

Along the Gorges de la Méouge...

...hiking, riding, biking, mountain biking or even quadbiking, there are many ways to explore the Méouge gorges from Lachau to Châteauneuf via Salérans and St-Pierre Avez!
Many marked trails await you in the gorges; according to your level and what you fancy doing, there is always a path for you in the Méouge.
 
...hiking
The Hike called "Le Banc du Bouc" (Goat Bench) (1 h / 2.3 km) enables you to see the essentials without getting too tired! From the Romanesque bridge near Châteauneuf de Chabre, this little loop, is like a balcony alongside the river; it bypasses the "Goat Bench", some passages are dizzying, pay attention!
The main circuit of the Gorges de la Méouge (4-5h / 13 km) alternates sequences of climbs and descents on both sides of the gorge and offers a superb view from the place called “cut rock”!
For a complete adventure, the GR "Tour du Val de Méouge" offers 78 km of pure pleasure by rambling between the Chabre mountain, the Drôme Provençale towards Eygalayes and Lachau, Eourres, Ribiers, Antonaves and finally to a descent to the Romanesque bridge. For your safety always take with you a map or a topo-guide, good shoes and plenty water! A swimsuit can be useful when it is hot... and swimming is recommended when you arrive at the end ;)
 
...road cycling
Small winding roads and mountain passes with Provençal smells will delight cycling enthusiasts! From Laragne, ride on the cycling routes described on our cyclo-map: choose a 54 km easy route over Col d'Araud or the 73 km one through the Col St-Jean through the lavender fields... bliss?
 
...mountain biking
Twenty mountain bike paths await you in the Méouge gorges, from easy family routes, to technical singletrack for top level riders, these mountain bike trails are marked by the F.F.C.(Fédération Française de Cyclisme) with over 1400 km of marked trails throughout the Sisteron-Buëch mountain bike area. The route les chemins du Soleil ("The Paths of the Sun") also crosses this area.
 
...on horseback
It's possible to ride on horseback all through the Méouge! The map "Ride in Buëch country and the Baronnies provençales" (Chevauchée dans les Pays du Buëch et les Baronnies provençales) provides you with all the information for an equestrian experience from the Val de Méouge to the Durance river.
 
...Water or air ?
Very refreshing in the summer, the Méouge can also be descended by canoeing in spring when the water is abundant. But the most amazing is probably to fly over: hang gliding, paramotoring or paragliding. Departure from the take off site of Laragne-Chabre, great panoramic view guaranteed!

Did you know ?

That every first Sunday of the All Saints holiday the the Méouge area is engine free! The gorges road is closed to traffic; its access is restricted to walkers, bicycles, strollers, scooters, horseback, or even stilts! Discover the gorge from a different angle: the turquoise river meanders in its autumnal shimmering colours and our guides will help you to recognize many species present in this Natura 2000 site. Take the opportunity and practice your favourite sport without the noise of a motor: rollers slip smoothly on the winding road, cyclists of all kinds have a great time, and hikers, for once, come off their trails to admire nature from the road.

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