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Big Sur: a wild coast

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Between the Redwood trees and the ocean air, an unexplored feeling haunts this savage coast, buffeted by the wind and the waves of the Pacific.

Big Sur is the name of 140 kilometres of cliffs that drop straight into the ocean between Carmel and San Simeon. Gold miners once roamed this land, but it is difficult to access. The famous highway from San Francisco was built in 1937, but electricity was only installed in the 1950s.

Big Sur, which had been abandoned since the Gold Rush, then became the favourite residence of writers. Jack Kerouac wrote Big Sur right here. Rare is the traveller who does not stop at the Henry Miller Memorial Library. The writer feared that this region would become a suburb of Monterey, but it did not.

When you cross this scenery between sea and forest, you are literally bewitched by its authenticity. When you disappear among the Redwoods of the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, you will have little chance of seeing the lynx and cougars, but you will feel their presence. As for the houses, they are well hidden. You can sleep in one of the few hotels, the Post Ranch Inn, for example, or go on a retreat at the New Camaldoli Hermitage.

 See the Travel Guide to San Francisco