Gorges de la Nesque

Gorges de la Nesque, a balcony road in France

Gorges de la Nesque are located in the Vaucluse Mountains, a mountain range of the French Prealps located in the departement of Vaucluse, between the Luberon Massif and Mont Ventoux. The gorges are traversed by the D942 road. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

The road is certainly breathtaking and it has a fearsome reputation. The Nesque Gorge road is very popular with cyclist and is fairly traffic free thanks to the numerous low tunnels that you have to pass through. The small Nesque river runs down through the gorges and valleys from near Sault, where it's at 620 m, to an area between Villes-sur-Auzon and Methamis, where it drops down to about 300 m.
The road is difficult and it’s a nightmare in the wet or dark (or both). After the Gorges du Verdon, the Gorges de la Nesque are the next most spectacular in Provence, one of the most beautiful hydro geological examples of the Midi. It’s 22 km of progressive climb in the heart of an exceptional landscape, a beautiful hydrogeologic breakthrough, wild canyon, where draw up themselves fantastic rocks which overhang an abyss throughout a road, marked out by tunnels and by belvederes - the one of Castelleras in front of majestic “Rocher de Cire” .

The road's winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. The gorges are an imposing and wild canyon, with fantastic rocks which can be admired from the road (D.942 from Sault to Carpentras) and punctuated by tunnels and view-points, such as Castelleras looking onto the majestic “Rocher du Cire”. The small D242 road that follows the gorges has one end at Villes-sur-Auzon to the west and next to Sault to the east.
This road is one of the most famous balcony roads in the country. A balcony road is a hair-raising lane cut into the sides of sheer cliffs. It’s a kind of road not for those who fear heights. There is little room for error on these roads. It’s normal for your palms to sweat looking at those photos, imagine what it must have been like before the barriers. It runs as a single track road along the mountainside for some distance with nowhere to pass another vehicle. Here one says a prayer that nobody is coming towards you until the road widens some kilometres further.

The road climbs up an elevation of 734m above the sea level. Starting from Villes sur Auzon, the ascent is 19.7 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 444 meters. The average percentage is 2.3 %. The gorges cut through the mountains between the Mont Ventoux to the north and the Plateau de Vaucluse to the south. 


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