"Massif de la Clape - Oeil Doux." Carcassonne Off The Beaten Path Tip by Jerelis
Carcassonne Off The Beaten Path: 42 reviews and 83 photos
Talking about a hidden gem. We did not hear of this amazing spot before we visited it. The Oeil Doux is a natural waterhole surrounded by cliffs with an abrupt eastern face overhanging the surface 40 metres below. The cliff is made of hard fissured limestone whose crevices are full of red clay; it was formed during the middle geological era. The north side, less steep, is made of marly limestone from an older geological age and is particularly rich in fossile deposits, notably Orbolitines (Mesorbitolna texana), Brachypodes, Lamellibranches and sea urchins (dating from the Clansayesian period).
The presence of this hole at this site can be explained by the fragility of the wider area which displays many faults; two of them major. The water in the hole is salty: the salinity, as well as the level, varies with the rainfall and the movements of the Mediterranean just 1,500 metres away. The whole zone is part of a submerged karstic formation. The water table penetrates into the zone, part of a network that appears to plunge far below the 35 metres depth of the waterhole. Connections to the sea via this underground network, together with leaching, explain the variations in surface level and salinity.
Massif de la Clape is situated on the Mediterranean coastline southeast of Narbonne. The whole area belongs to the Languedoc-Rousillion district and is directly on the route from France to Spain (Barcelona).
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