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Castellane & Around/France

Introducing Castellane & Around

The cobbled streets of utilitarian Castellane are dead off-season but teem in summer, when tourist facilities and water-sports shops reopen. It's along the Route de Napoléon, the pre-autoroute highway between Haute-Provence and the Côte d'Azur and a scenic byway between beach and mountains. Castellane's geology is complex and merits investigation if you're the slightest bit geeky.

Chapelle Notre Dame du Roc is perched spectacularly above town on a 184m-high rocky butte, jutting from yawning canyons like a giant tooth. On 15 August (Assumption Day) pilgrims ascend by torchlight for Mass.