A spectacular natural amphitheater, the Cirque de Gavarnie has been dubbed the "Colosseum of Nature" and inspired many writers, including Victor Hugo. At its foot is the village of Gavarnie, a good base for exploring the mountains in the region. The Cirque is a Cinerama wall of peaks that is one of the world's most remarkable examples of glacial erosion and a daunting challenge to mountaineers. Horses and donkeys, rented in the village, are the traditional way to reach the head of the valley (though walking is preferable), where the Hôtel du Cirque has hosted six generations of visitors. When the upper snows melt, numerous streams tumble down from the cliffs to form spectacular waterfalls; the greatest of them, the Grande Cascade, drops nearly 1,400 feet.
Gavarnie, 65188, France