Gimel Les Cascades

Correze, Limousin, France

Rating: 3     Difficulty: 3
One of the waterfalls making up Gimel-Les-Cascades

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Gimel Les Cascades (literally Gimel The Waterfalls) is the name of both the collective set of waterfalls as well as the charming town above them. The waterfalls may also be referred to as Les Cascades de Gimel (the waterfalls of Gimel).

The waterfall series located right below town consisted of three named drops. From top to bottom, they were Le Grand Saut (or the big leap, which dropped 45m over three successive steps), La Redoule (which twisted and dropped 38m towards a footbridge), and La Queue de Cheval (or horse's tail, which plunged 60m in one tier). There was also another named entity according to the signs, which was known as Le Gouffre de L'Inferno. However, I wasn't sure if this referred to the misty area at the base of Queue de Cheval or if there was a fourth but distant or inaccessible waterfall. I had gone as far as the main tourist walk would allow me just downstream of Queue de Cheval, but that was when the path terminated a dead-end.

After getting to the town of Gimel Les Cascades and finding parking (near a war memorial just across the street from the visitor center), we then followed the signs indicating that we had to walk downhill another 400m to access the falls. During this part of the walk, we followed the main road between a handful of quiet shops, a church (which was quite cool and drafty inside considering it was over 30C during our visit), and some remnants of an old chateau (or castle).

We had to walk through town to get to the waterfall Towards the bottom of the descent, the road traversed the stream over a bridge, which was right above the waterfalls. And a few paces further took us to the chalet (really a cafe) where we paid our entrance fee of 5 euro per person (at the time we did it). That allowed us to start a loop walk that descended towards an attractive-looking building where the trail branched further downhill towards falls 2 and 3 while another branch went behind the building on a path towards Le Grand Saut as well as a spur trail to the top of La Redoule.

While the trail leading closer to Le Grand Saut continued further uphill, this part of the trail was deprecated because it led back up to the original entrance to the falls, which was now closed. I think they closed this access because they wanted you to go through the main entrance besides the chalet where there was a snack bar as well as infrastructure to collect admission fees from visitors.

Looking back at Le Grand Saut from the top of La Redoule The diversion spur to the top of Redoule gave us an appreciation of the height of this second drop of the falls as well as a different perspective of Le Grand Saut.

Continuing back along the main trail towards falls 2 and 3, we had to descend some switchbacks until we made it to the bottom of the descent alongside the stream. A branch to the right led over a bridge in front of La Redoule towards a lookout with a frontal view of this waterfall.

Meanwhile, the branch to the left descended alongside the impressive Queue de Cheval. The further we went on the trail, the more direct (and misty) the view of this tier of the falls became. In fact the mist carried so well that the trail near its dead-end further downstream was wet and muddy.

Once we were done checking out this last waterfall, the trail then continued up a pretty extensive series of switchbacks leading right back up to the chalet. Once up there, the loop walk was complete and we could return to town along the main road that we descended to get here (and now have to ascend to return).

All told, the overall excursion from leaving our car and returning to it took us over 90 minutes including all the photo stops as well as just taking our time on the walk.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Going through the charming part of Gimel-Les-Cascades the town as we made our way down to the waterfallsGoing through the charming part of Gimel-Les-Cascades the town as we made our way down to the waterfalls
The loud Grand Saut, which was the uppermost cascade of Gimel Les CascadesThe loud Grand Saut, which was the uppermost cascade of Gimel Les Cascades
Julie and I visited Gimel-Les_Cascades after having based ourselves in Mt-Dore, which was a charming alpine town in Central FranceJulie and I visited Gimel-Les_Cascades after having based ourselves in Mt-Dore, which was a charming alpine town in Central France
The nearest car park for Gimel Les CascadesThe nearest car park

War memorial by the nearest car parkWar memorial by the nearest car park

Remnants of an old chateauRemnants of an old chateau

Continuing to walk along the road past the bridgeContinuing to walk along the road past the bridge

Pretty cool looking building within the premisesPretty cool looking building within the premises

Closeup look at Le Grand SautCloseup look at Le Grand Saut

The bridge at the base of La RedouleThe bridge at the base of La Redoule

Direct look at La RedouleDirect look at La Redoule

Going back across the bridgeGoing back across the bridge

Looking at Queue de Cheval as the trail descends alongside itLooking at Queue de Cheval as the trail descends alongside it

A different direct look at Queue de ChevalA different direct look at Queue de Cheval

On the bridge looking over the brink of Le Grand Saut towards the town aboveOn the bridge looking over the brink of Le Grand Saut towards the town above

Walking back up the main road through the town of Gimel Les CascadesWalking back up the main road through the town of Gimel Les Cascades


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


top down sweep of le Grand Saut with rainbow at its base


top down sweep of La Redoule


Top down sweep of the Queue de Cheval (horse's tail)


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Gimel Les Cascade is in the department of Corrèze in the Limousin region about 13km northeast of Tulle in South Central France. It took us close to 90 minutes to drive from Cascade de Salins to this town via winding and narrow rural roads. It also took us just under 90 minutes to return to Mt Dore from Gimel Les Cascades via the A89 autoroute. By the way, that autoroute was the preferred method to do this drive.

Once in the town of Gimel Les Cascades, we found limited parking near a war memorial and lookout of the valley containing the falls below (we could definitely hear the falls from up here) across the street from the visitor center. However, if parking here is not an option, there's additional parking (signposts indicate this) further up town which would probably increase the walking distance by another 10 minutes or so each way.

For geographical context, Le Mont-Dore was 213km (about 2.5 hours drive) west of Lyon. The city of Lyon was 466km or at least 4.5 hours by car from Paris. However, we used the very fast and efficient TGV (high speed train or le train a grande vitesse), which wound up taking around 3 hours to cover this stretch between the two major cities.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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