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Les Detroits (The Gates) on the Tarn Gorge in Lozere

Les Detroits (The Gates), in the Tarn Gorge, in The Cevennes, looking downstream

Looking downstream (west).The Tarn Gorge is around 45 miles long, here at Les Detroits it's nearly 1,000 feet deep. The Tarn Gorge is a popular playground for hikers, campers, and kayakers, but careful regulation and lack of space alongside the river limit the numbers here at any one time.

There's nothing more idyllic than paddling a canoe down the river in late summer, along peaceful stretches between the occasional village snuggled between the cliffs and the river, with eagles soaring overhead. Even though the Tarn is controlled by dams now lower down in its course, there are still places where you have to port your canoe around a rapid or two. In spring and early summer it's still a rough and noisy river.

Smaller picture – looking upstream. I love this harsh grey and green landscape.

Les Detroits (The Gates), in the Tarn Gorge, in The Cevennes, looking upstream

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