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Gorges du Verdon, France
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Gorges du Verdon
In the Gorges du Verdon region in southeastern France various sediments from the lower Cretaceous period are exposed in which you can find fossils. The sediments are from the Berriassian, Valanginian, Hauterivian, Barremian, Aptian and Albian.
See also the Dutch booklet from GEA: "Het onder-Krijt van de Provence" (march 1988).
The Gorges du Verdon are located in the Geological reserve of the Haute Provence. The reserve covers an area of 150000 hectares, and is the largest geological reseve in Europe. In this reserve many interesting sites and excavations can be seen.
At some sites collecting fossils is strictly forbidden, but in the rest of the reserve collecting fossils on a small scale and without equipment is allowed. Everywhere in the area you can get leaflets with a description of the interesting points in the reserve.
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Valley, north of Castellane.
Added by: webmaster on 13-03-2012
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The Gorges du Verdon are located about 75 kilometres northwest of Cannes in southern France. Below you will find a selection of places where the sediments are exposed. However, there are many more places in the region. The best place to look for fossils is in the softer grey claylayers, and yellow marl layers between the hard limestone layers. It is the area between Draguignan in the west and Castellane in the east.
- 1. Hyeges Located northwest of St Andre les Alpes. At the right side of road D419 to Hyeges you can find marls which contain belemnites and ammonites. North of the village more marls are exposed, but I did not go there. The layers north of the village are beautifully folded (see photograph).
- 3. Courchons From St Andre go south along the lake. Just after you leave the village, go right in an unpaved road. After half an hour driving, you will arrive at the top. Just before the small desolated village, you can find small ammonites on the hills at your left.
- 4. Lac de Castillon At the shores of Lac de Castillon between St Andre les Alpes and the bridge Pont Julien you can find ammonites. Also very small ones between the gravel.
- 5. Angles The road from Pont St Julien to Angles. Along the road limestonelayers are exposed. This is the typelocality of the Barremian. Here you can find ammonites and other fossils.
- 6. Vergons I did not go here myself.
- 7. Col des Leques (Northwest of Castellane) Here is an excavation of sirenes (seacows) from the Eocene period (40 milion years old). In a specific layer skelettons of these animals accumulated. The excavation is covered by glass. From the Col, it is a 30 minute walk. The footpath starts next to the camping site. Collecting fossils is not allowed here! In the Musée Sirenes & Fossiles in Castellane you can learn more about this excavation.
- 8. La Palud From Palud follow the road D23 to the southwest. After about one kilometre you will see the limestone and marl deposits on a hill on your right. You can find sea urchins here.
- 9. Trigance Southwest of Castellane along road D90 south of Trigance, you can find sea urchins and bivalves in marls at the eastside of the road.
- 10. Bauduen Located near Lac de Ste Croix. I did not visit this site myself.
- 11. Temporary location (2004): Camping du Lac near Esparron-du-Verdon
The camping is being renovated. You can easily find fossils in the loose rocks. Complete Ammonites up to 40 centimetres have been found. I did not visit this site myself.
- 12. Between Castellane and Rougon is the Camping Municipal Verdon Carajuan on the D952. Across the camp site is a parking. At the right hand site of this parking is the start of a footpath that leads up the hillsite. After severel hundreds of meters there is a bifurcation. Here a beautiful roundwalk of a about 5 kilomoters starts. Alongside this path ammonites and bivalves can be picked up.
Literature recommended by members
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Fossil location: Digne-les-Bains (Barles)
Fossil location: Fontienne
Fossil location: Les Baronnies 10 (Barret)
Fossil location: Méailles
Fossil location: Saint-Maime
Museum: Musée Minéralogique et Paléontologique Pierre Delquie
Museum: Musée Pierre Martel de Vachères
Museum: Musée Promenade
Museum: Musée Sirènes et Fossiles
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