Le Grande Cascade de Gavarnie (The Gavarnie Falls) is the tallest waterfall in France, as well as one of the most impressive and highest waterfalls in Europe. The waterfall has 2 – 3 steps; the height of the tallest drop is 281 m., the stream makes 91 m long horizontal distance but falls 422 m.
The falls are found in the central Pyrénées Mountains, in the Cirque de Gavarnie, a huge glacial amphitheater, which has formed at the base of a glacier over the last 20,000 years. The waterfall is the beginning of the Gave de Pau stream. It is fed by a melting snow and a small glacier, located in Spain.
The Cirque de Gavarnie rose to fame as a result of the different explorations that were made of it. From as early as the sixteen century, bold and adventurous scientists, botanists, romantics, artists, poets, dreamers, and mountaineers made Gavarnie the birthplace of what has become known as Pyreneism.
The waterfall is located in the Pyrenees National Park and together with the surrounding landscape forms UNESCO World heritage monument “Pyrenees – Mont Perdu”.
When to visit Gavarnie Falls?
What else to do in Cirque de Gavarnie?
The Cirque de Gavarnie and surrounding area are a sanctuary for hiking but also for canyoning and winter sports in the ski resort of Gavarnie-Gèdre.
For the more courageous, don’t stop at the foot of the Cirque de Gavarnie. Climb up to the Brèche de Roland (2,804 m), one of the most symbolic places in the Pyrenees. There is a legend, which says that this gigantic opening between two walls, on the French-Spanish border, was made by the sword of Roland de Roncevaux in 778. The gap can be reached from the Refugio Sarradets, a nearby mountain shelter, in about an hour’s climb.