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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 1, 2012

Natural History Wanderings In Europe

I recently spent three weeks traveling in Europe.  Four days were traveling independently in the Cévennes which is a part of the Massif Central in France and two weeks with Greentours: natural history holidays in the Pyrénées, which is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain.

The Cevennes is a botanically interesting area that includes two steep gorges that you can drive through: the Gorges de la Jonte (the Jonte River gorge) and the Gorges du Tarn (the Tarn River gorge), the Causses which are a group of limestone plateaus as well as the Cevennes National Park.

In the Cevennes we used the informative Crossbill Guide nature guide Cevennes and the Grand Causses to as well as suggestions from Bob Gibbons of Natural History Travel for a number of drives and walks.

Alpine Chough by Sandy Steinman

The main crest of the Pyrenees forms a massive boundary between France and Spain, with the tiny country of Andorra sandwiched between. Andorra was a new country for most of the group we were traveling with.

A highlight of the Pyrenees was a hike to the Cirque de Gavarnie which is  800 m wide (on the deepest point) and about 3000 m wide at the top.  The cirque is in the Pyrenees National Park and its features include La Brèche de Roland and the Gavarnie Falls as well as number of smaller falls.

Cirque de Gavarnie by Sandy Steinman

Both the Cevennes and Pyrenees were excellent areas to see flowers, birds and butterflies as well as dramatic scenery.  I will be doing a number of posts with pictures from the trip in the coming months as I sort through my many photos.

Pyrenean Lily/Lilium pyrenaicum by Sandy Steinman


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