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belvedere 2An exceptional view of the gorge from mid-canyon to the Templar meander is to be had at the Madeleine Belvedere. One sees the 200 meter high limestone cliffs overhanging the gorge- with all its crevasses, caves, porches, and terraces.

Detached from the Mal Bosc plateau is Cathedral Rock with its soaring pinnacles-the emblematic formation of the Ardeche Gorge. The evergreen scrublands attract many animal species. The right bank is completely natural and fascinating to see. This stop is a must for an incredible view of the gorge.

Calcareous outcroppings attest to sea deposits formed over 110 million years ago when warm seas covered the region.
Most geologists and geographers agree that the gorge was formed during the Messinien crisis around 6 million years ago when the Ardeche River cut a path through the limestone sheet.
The gorge is a protected nature site since 1980 with the creation of the National Nature Conservation Site of the Ardeche Gorge. Headquarters of the Gorge are in Saint Remèze

A look in the telescope offers a view of the cliff dwelling birds: white bellied martins, swallows, large raptors like vultures, eagles and falcons.

The Phoenician juniper is an ancient Mediterranean shrub with twisted trunks and scaly leaves and is at home in the gorge cliffs where its roots go deep into rock fissures for water. Some grow head down as you can see from the belvedere. They grow very slowly and can live over a thousand years. The known record is 1500 years !

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percnoptere Florian Veau