France Waterfalls (Europe)

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France Waterfalls are probably as underappreciated as they get. You'd figure that in a country as well visited as France that les cascades (French word for waterfalls) would get a little more love. Julie and I couldn't count the number of times we've encountered quizzical or even shocked expressions when told we were spending at least three weeks in the country on a single trip. Couple that with the lack of literature and attention waterfalls seem to get both within the country and outside, and there were plenty of opportunities to let France surprise us while making our own experiences unique and memorable.

Nonetheless, how can it be that a country visited annually by 76 million overseas tourists and is world famous for Paris and other things like: Le Tour Eiffel (The Eiffel Tower), French food and wine, Provence, the French Open, the Tour de France, and more; that its Nature let alone waterfalls can be so easily overlooked?

Indeed, waterfalling in the country forces you to look beyond the stereotypes and immerse yourself in the true beauty and diversity that is la France (as it did for us).

Cascade de Salins Our travels here have taken us to the source of the Dordogne (a river you may have heard of as the one that goes by Bordeaux), the Alps (including France's own version of Venice in Old Annecy as well as its Swiss and Italian frontiers), the Pyrenees (including the Cirque du Gavarnie as well as its Spanish frontiers), and even the Mediterranean regions of Provence and the Cote d'Azur (French Riviera). In addition to these regions, we have also visited charming medieval villages, abbeys, and chateaux (castles) throughout the land (e.g. Mont-Saint-Michel, Carcassonne, Eze, Yvoire, etc. just to name a few).

Some of les cascades that we were able to come face-to-face with were spread out through much of the country. So in order to get a better handle on presenting the many waterfalls that Julie and I have encountered here, we're grouping them into the following subregions - Central France, Eastern France, Northern France, Southeastern France, and Southwestern France. I'm sure with more waterfalling visits, we may reorganize or re-think the way we're doing these subregions.

The Central France subregion pretty much pertains to the Central Massif provinces. So far, we've only managed to see waterfalls in the provinces of Limousin and Auvergne. Since this subregion contains Mont-Dore, it's not surprising that we also visiting a waterfall called La Grande Cascade du Mt Dore. We also saw an impressive waterfall with a historical looking bridge next to in Cascade de Salins.

Cascade de Gavarnie The Eastern France subregion pretty much covers the country to the east of Paris and to the northeast of Lyon. The only province that we've been waterfalling in this subregion was Franche-Comte, which encompassed the Jura Mountains as well as being some of the most naturesque parts of France. In fact, they also had this slogan where they described themselves as the country that breathes (le pais qui respire). In addition to Franche-Comte, we'd also include waterfalls in the provinces of Burgundy, Alsace, and Lorraine. Perhaps the most dramatic waterfalling experience we've had in this subregion was the Herisson Waterfalls.

Northern France was the subregion encompassing the provinces north of Paris. We've only got one waterfall to show for this region at Etretat in Normandy. But that waterfall was the perfect excuse to see the giant sea arches of Falaise d'Aval and Manneporte among others. And on the other side of the province far to the west was the magical Mont-St-Michel, which was a medieval abbey sitting on a tidal island. Hopefully with a future trip to France, we can explore a little more of the waterfalls in other provinces that would belong to this subregion.

The Southeastern France subregion was pretty much the provinces to the east and southeast of Lyon, which included the French Alps. For the purposes of where Julie and I went waterfalling so far, that would be the provinces of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur and Rhone-Alpes. It turned out that the majority of the waterfalls that we've seen in the country so far belonged to this subregion. Amongst the waterfalls we've seen here were Cascade de Seythenex (one of our excuses to stay in the charming Annecy) as well as one of the country's tallest waterfalls in Cascade d'Arpenaz not far from Mt Blanc (the highest point in France).

The Southwestern France subregion was pretty much the Pyrenees range. The only province or department where we happened to see waterfalls here was the Midi-Pyrenees. And given the ruggedness of the Pyrenees Mountains, it turned out that Julie and I encountered France's most dramatic waterfalls such as Gavarnie Falls as well as Cascade d'Ars.

Finally, a local once told us that to truly learn the language and experience the country, you need full immersion. We think we've made a concerted attempt to do just that through waterfalling. And by browsing through these pages, perhaps you too might find yourself motivated to fully immerse yourself dans le pays (in the country).

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To get a glimpse of what each waterfall looks like, check out the table below. Click on the waterfalls to read more about them.

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Central France

One of the falls at Gimel Les Cascades 3 Gimel Les Cascades
Correze, Limousin

Cascade de Salins 2.5 Cascade de Salins
Cantal, Auvergne

La Grande Cascade du Mt-Dore 2.5 Grande Cascade du Mt Dore
Puy de Dome, Auvergne

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Eastern France

Les Cascades du Herisson 3.5 Cascades du Herisson ("Herisson Waterfalls")
Jura, Franche-Comte

Cascade de Flumen 2.5 Cascade de Flumen
Jura, Franche-Comte

Saut du Doubs 2 Saut du Doubs
Doubs, Franche-Comte

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Northern France

The waterfall at Etretat 1 Waterfall at Etretat
Seine-Maritimes, Haute-Normandie

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Southeastern France

Cascade d'Angon 2.5 Cascade d'Angon
Haute-Savoie, Rhone-Alpes

Cascade de Seythenex 3 Cascade de Seythenex
Haute-Savoie, Rhone-Alpes

Cascade d'Arpenaz 4 Cascade d'Arpenaz
Haute-Savoie, Rhone-Alpes

The top of Cascade de Berard 1 Cascade de Berard
Haute-Savoie, Rhone-Alpes

Cascade de Glandieu 3 Cascade de Glandieu
Ain, Rhone-Alpes

Saut de La Pucelle 2.5 Saut de La Pucelle
Hautes-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur

Sillans La Cascade 3 Sillans La Cascade
Var, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur

Cascade de Courmes 2.5 Cascade de Courmes
Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur

Saut du Loup 1.5 Saut du Loup
Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur

Cascade du Ray-Pic 3 Cascade du Ray-Pic ("Ray Peak Falls")
Ardeche, Rhone-Alpes

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Southwestern France

Cascade de Gavarnie 4.5 Cascade de Gavarnie ("Gavarnie Falls")
Hautes-Pyrenees, Midi-Pyrenees

Pont d'Espagne 3.5 Pont d'Espagne (Bridge of Spain)
Hautes-Pyrenees, Midi-Pyrenees

Cascade d'Ars 4 Cascade d'Ars ("Ars Waterfall")
Ariege, Midi-Pyrenees

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