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1 week in the Gorges du Verdon= 2 campsites to discover the richness of this incredible site

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Discover the Gorges du Verdon

The gorges du Verdon

La Palud-sur-Verdon

The trail of the fisherman to move closer to the Verdon. After a short descent, you walk along the banks of this river so often inaccessible. On the way back, bous will cross a site classified as a regional nature reserve for its wealth of exceptional and fragile (please do not exit the trail). This site can discover by a guided tour offered by the House of the Gorges. After the small road to the abandoned village of Châteauneuf-les-Moustiers, Barbin tour you will discover the contrasts between the different slopes of the mountain of Barbin. The ubac, under pines and beeches, you will discover the peaks of the Verdon at over 1900 m altitude (Mount Chiran, Mourre de Chanier). A hotter, between boxwood and broom, you will dominate the sector of the gorges du Verdon and the plain, where sits the village of la Palud.
Finally the trail of the Bastidon, departing from the village of la Palud, you will discover all the diversity of this sector: the Verdon, that you follow for nearly 2 hours by the Bastidon trail and that you will discover at the belvedere of Mayreste; pine and beech forests that cover the mountain of Barbin or the sheepfolds and stone walls dry witnesses of human occupation of these isolated areas and the pastoral vocation of these reliefs.
1.    The trail of the fishermen
2.    The Barbin Tour
3.    The trail of the Bastidon

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The trail of the fishermen

The ecogardes tips

This trail, as all the paths of the Gorge, requires a good physical condition (not recommended for pregnant women and children at a young age). Impossible bathing. No trail to reach the Lake. The descent to the Verdon is fairly technical and can be slippery. Attention passage with handrail (delicate passage, should be held in a steel cable). Equipment to provide hiking shoes, 2 litres of water per person and a hat.
•    From the pass, leave the path to du Pré Saint-Maurin, which will be borrowed from the return, and left follow the path of sinners. The trail quickly descends to the bottom of a Valley, passes through and goes back on the other side. The journey in balcony overlooks the Verdon. After a new descent, there's the River in its upper part. The trail splits. Leave on the left the descent towards the Ford of Mayreste and follow the trail to the right.
•    The trail descends to the Verdon and runs along, by the banks, for approximately 2 km, in the shade of Oaks and des BUIs (caution, a handrail will help you rendered Rocky crossing sliding in the steps of many hikers).
•    The trail goes back on a hillside. He won a first small flat part. Continue climbing and win on the plateau du Pré de Saint-Maurin. Take a trail (steep passages) that rises right 20 m from the road. The route passes just below the road, slightly descends for approximately 400 m then back in crossing to the carpark of the departure.
•    Between 0230 and 0330 hours, 6.5 km walk, 300 m in altitude, yellow. Average hike, focus on the spring and fall, cooler and less crowded period.

Do not confuse Tuff and water and tufa

On this course, water is present from top to bottom. This spring water, before spouting to the surface, flows through the limestone rocks of high plateaus and load sediment which in accumulating little by little eventually form a porous appearance rock called "tuf". This Tuff, even if it is akin to the same limestone family that the tufa is not an abbreviation. It is the same process that sometimes occurs on the fountains of village. After a few years, if the water is sufficiently responsible for limestone, formed hard concretions, whitish in color. One of the most striking examples of this phenomenon is found in Saint-Martin-de-Brômes, where the central pillar of the fountain of the village has now completely disappeared under the mass of tuff that form around a huge mushroom. And yet this fountain dates to the mid-19th century! The process is relatively fast. In fact, it is the same phenomenon that occurs on the resistance of your washing machine.
In a country where the hard rock will not easily get Tuff is providential. Despite constructive qualities of irregular and well below the tufa of Loire, granite or sandstone, it has often been used in frameworks of berries or chaining of angle of the walls. Is easily recognized in the local architecture this rock whose color ranges from yellow white to Brown and presents many small alveoli.

Old crust

In its part downstream, between the road and the Verdon, the path is traced in outcrop of tufa. This Rock, brittle and porous, formed out of the resurgences of the limestone reliefs. It is a manifestation of the "karst phenomena" (of the karst, name of a massif of Central Europe). Rainwater seeps on the plateaus. If it encounters a barrier layer, it follows up, possibly out of the massif. The limestone which it is loaded during its underground journey precipitates, encrusting the vegetation bordering the source or the resurgence. Plants imprisoned eventually decompose, thus created gaps give its porous appearance to Tuff.

The Verdon in brushstrokes

As its name suggests, the fishermen trail provides access to the Verdon River and monitor the edges more than a kilometre and a half after a somewhat steep but relatively short descent. All hikes that criss-cross the Gorge, due to the strong uneven this exceptional fault (parts of the cliff can reach a height of more than 700 metres!) do not offer this possibility... Near the rivers, the atmosphere and landscapes have nothing to envy to the panoramic of the summits. More quiet, and in a cooler atmosphere, the view of the gorges in neglectful remains impressive. It is a totally different point of view on this site if photographed from above. Attention however to the releases of water from the EDF dam upstream which can cause sudden lifts of the level of the river! These releases were aimed at relieving withholding part of their waters when they are high and thus regulate the pressure on the dam and turbine flow. They are advertised to long in advance. Check before starting the descent, as you advise the panels at the beginning of the trail.
The fishermen trail leads to a Ford converted into large boulders, the Ford of Mayreste. It formerly allowed the inhabitants of the right bank to join Aiguines across the River, then Aups and Draguignan. Rendered useless in the middle of the 19th century by the construction of the road linking Moustiers in La Palud, le gué has gradually erased, its stones are disorganized and paths that are conducted are naturally closed. Such a course seems today long and arduous; its layout matches yet the shortest distance between the two villages... as the crow flies. The name of this old Ford also recalls the history of the whole the Verdon which lands were once an independent seigneury overhanging: the lordship of Mayreste. Found a mention as early as the 14th century. In 1400, it had four families roturieres, and therefore taxable. Small seigniory, whose headquarters stood on a narrow flat promontory which forms belvedere and seems to monitor the entrance to the Gorge. The House itself dates from the century. It was expanded in the 17th century at the ends by two small towers. A little behind, stood a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary as our Lady of Mayreste but of which nothing remains today. Mayreste, his Ford, his sheep, its buildings illustrate the Organization territorial this haute Provence, fragmented into many fiefdoms, sometimes tiny and whose habitat is scattered in playing corner of this rugged territory. This situation will continue long. Mayreste lands were attached to the municipality of La Palud after the French Revolution.

The Barbin Tour

Tips for the ecogardes:

Avoid the summer heat, leave early. Provide. 2L of water per person, a hat and hiking shoes. Attention herds, keep your dogs on a leash.
•    Since the church square, get off at the departmental and follow on 30 m in the direction of Castellane to the Mission cross. Take left the small road to the forest House. 300 m, it joins the road from Châteauneuf-les-Moustiers. Follow it to the rise. Pass the campaign of the FRP, an oratory and 200 m take the first road on the left (sign prohibiting access by road to motor vehicles).
•    The path joins a barrier then rises, under the pine trees, the Valley of Val of Orsière. Output of vallon, the old forest trail climbs to the ubac wooded mountain by Barbin. Earlier, when the path forms a hairpin bend to the right, borrow round-trip (3 min), the small path, little marked, left in the corner. He joined a superb view of the village of la Palud-sur-Verdon and the surrounding mountains. The climb continues under the beech forest of the ubac of Barbin Mountain. A first cleared space, follow the left slightly uphill path and win at 1,453 m, in a lace, a runway intersection (highlight of hiking).
•    Take the track downhill to the right. Through the forest, you can see the Lake of Ste-Croix and the Valensole plateau. The track descends regularly. After the second turn in lace, leave the track and follow the trail on the left. It rises slightly and joined the GR4 300 m.
•    Follow the red and white left in the direction of la Palud (village 45 minutes). The release of wood, the trail changes slope (panoramic view on the sector of faults in the gorges du Verdon). It continues on a mountainside by Barbin. After the passage of a ruin and a source, the trail descends laces under the wood and full offer, at the exit of the massif, a view on the plain and the village of la Palud. At the foot of the Hill, he crosses a track and joined the road to the village below, at height of the oratory St-Jean. Continue straight to la Palud.
•    Between 3 h and 4 h, 11 km walk, 580 m altitude, yellow, white and Red markup. Perform in all seasons, fix rando average.

Reading of landscape

The Summit of Barbin (difficult to access) to get a sharper image of the relief of the gorges. Slightly indented, the top of the mountain enjoys an overview at the same time encompassing the Lake of Sainte-Croix and the course of the River below. You can be on - supported the sinuosity of the roads trying to clear a pass in the middle of this tortured geology. On his small plane, the sheepfold of Mayreste reports the pastoral vocation of these reliefs.

Palud area

Palus, Paluau, la Palud, des Paluds, are very common names. They designate, as here, a village or sometimes simply a city district (there is a 'la Palud Plan' and hamlet of the same name north of Castellane). The origin of the word goes back to the latin palus, paludis which means pond or Marsh and applies to wetlands. But there where we could see that land spongy and unhealthy, the inhabitants of formerly saw fertile land where water was not uncommon. In Provence, these wetlands were particularly sought after. They allowed the cultivation of certain plants: reeds, hemp, willow, all plants of water, and especially provided for cattle from the pastures on which the more oily grass remained green longer than on the dry grasslands of the slopes. La Palud-sur-Verdon, the great plain that overlook the Castle and the Church and to which the village owes its name has these qualities. Was there once willow, which give the wicker making baskets, and hemp giving after a long treatment, likely to be then woven fibres. In short, local resources. It was obviously not the only economic resource of the village. Well located, la Palud sounded especially benefit of its pastures and the surrounding slopes to develop a sheep economy that remains today one of the traditions of la Palud.
The proximity of the gorges also allowed to exploit the forest and in particular the boxwood. As to the basement he conceals clays which enabled the development of an activity of ceramic and pottery, attested as early as the end of the 15th century. This activity will continue until the early 20th century where a pottery workshop was still in activity. Isolated in the middle of the gorges du Verdon (because it must not forget that the road that connects the village of Castellane and Moustiers just 1860 la Palud knew a varied economy.

Vegetation of ridges

The edge of the plain of Barbin dominates the canyon area and the exit of the Gorge. And if the undergrowth of Scots pine and white oak are a Mecca of mushroom picking, it is rather towards the edge of the tray that will head the botanist Walker (attention still not get lost and there is vacuum below!). In addition to the exceptional view, it is the opportunity to discover the vegetation of the windy ridges. The rare broom Villars, cushion creeping and thorny, is one of the easiest to identify, particularly late May when it is covered with flowers.

Village of Châteauneuf-les-Moustiers

Châteauneuf-les-Moustiers deserves a small return for the bravest. The village is now completely abandoned and its houses are transformed gradually into ruins.Châteauneuf yet for long-time was a village positioned on the road of Moustiers in Castellane and prior to the creation of La Palud, originally located on its territory. The visit to the site was something poignant and poetic. Leaves go to dream of a life that we know more. After the construction of the current route between La Palud and Moustiers in 1860, the village collapsed gradually and eventually shut down completely. In 1974, its territory was attached to that of la Palud.
Reverse the course of history. A short guide to discover the history of this village. Note that the abandoned villages are not uncommon in the region. Their isolation has often led, at all times, to a final exodus of the inhabitants. If the village of Châteauneuf acquires a special place, it is probably due to its recent abandonment that still allows to read the village fabric and imagine the lives of those who inhabited it.

The trail of the Bastidon

•    Out of the village by the road from Moustiers-Ste-Marie. 150 m, lies an oratory, take the road to the left (white and Red markup). After walking along the Campsite, it continues with the unmade, of the Maline. At the end of the Hill, the route follows the right path, crosses the Valley by a small bridge, and down to the Route des Crêtes.
•    Down the road for 250 m, then follow the first road on the right (marked yellow). Pass upstream of the Bonlau building and continue in the left hand path traversal. 300 m approximately, the route leaves the road and descends to the left by a small path through the forest. He joined down the road in a turn. Continue on the provincial road for 1 km about (white and red) markup.
•    The route leaves the GR4 and follows right, 100 m after the parking, the Bastidon (yellow trail) trail. The trail descends through the garrigue in the Valley of Mortmain. He goes back in front, crosses a small pass and continues in crossing. The route, on a mountainside, chimney in the middle of the spectacular cliffs of the gorges du Verdon: it passes several ravines (rare delicate passages are secured) and after the vallon de Ferne climbs to the plateau. He joined the road on a curve.
•    Go to the belvedere of Mayreste discover the remarkable view of the Verdon. Return to the road and ride it until the next turn. Take the path going up the ravine of Grinhan in the direction of the plateau by Barbin. The (very) steep climb takes place first on the left bank of the ravine the Brusc (many points of view on the sheepfold of Mayreste). The trail passes on the other side, climbs a rocky gully, along the Brusc balm, and leads, after the Grinhan ravine, to the plateau of Barbin. After a journey under the pines and the passage of a ruin, the path joins the GR4 trail.
•    On the right take the direction of la Palud (2 h walk village; white and Red markup). The route cuts the bend of the track, the crossbar again at 150 m and continues on the path in front which slopes gently down to the Valley of the Brusc. The GR continues under the pine trees to the clearing of the Barbin Jas, which can be seen on the left of the path.
•    The trail climbs to the right under the wood. He quickly runs through a beech forest and continues under the pine trees up to a forest track. Follow it on the right and at the first corner, continue on the trail to the right. He won 150 m the intersection with route from the Tower of Barbin. Continue on the GR4. The release of wood, the trail changes slope (panoramic view on the sector of gorges du Verdon). It continues on a mountainside by Barbin. After the passage of a ruin and a source, the trail descends laces under the wood and full offer, at the exit of the massif, a view on the plain and the village of Naseem. At the foot of the Hill, he crosses a track and joined the road to the village below, at height of the oratory St-Jean. Continue straight to la Palud.
•    6 h, 16km walk, 750 m altitude, markup white and red and yellow. Difficult hike.

The history of the trail

The trail of the Bastidon is halfway up the Gorge which it allows discovery almost "from the inside", cliff side. We are here in the heart of the rock and its natural vegetation. The viewpoint of Mayreste, look embraces part of the gorges and allows to evaluate the distance that separates the road from the river. It then enters the heart of the matter.
In his book "the history of the Gorges du Verdon to the Revolution" (Edisud, 2001), Jacques CRU evokes this trail under his original name of la Bastie COE: "cadastre" Napoleonic"(1835) means it still under this name but recently it has substituted for it the toponym "Bastidon", which is not a local term but rather of the Marseilles region".
Such a name, as a bastion or bastide, evokes a company of fortification. In the same book, we learn that the traces of several stone enclosures yet discern on these reliefs. However, they are difficult to spot. I don't care. Their existence attests mainly to efforts made by local Lords to protect, barricade, monitor the entire region of the Verdon. This type of fortifications, perched castels or simple stone walls meet by - all, in more or less good condition. You need to know to be careful because there where - we believe sometimes meet a virgin nature, it happens that we foulions without knowing a landscaped ground very long ago.

His Highness

The paths of the gorges du Verdon discover four endemic species of the Verdon, IE four plants which, on the surface of the Earth, exist only in the canyon or its surrounding areas. At any Lord, honour, on the walls dry and shady, a small fern that grows molding at the asperities of the rock. This is Asplenium Jahandiez, the name of a botanist var from the beginning of the 20th century, who dedicated the "handle" of this species. Attention, pleasure eyes only, its rarity and originality earned him full protection.


Perched at an altitude of 1,200 m and overlooking the village of Rougon, the Suech plateau is a unique site, real contrasts with the Blanc-Martel Trail and the Sublime Point lookout located just 400 m further down. Here you will discover the pastoralism, old sheep pens in dry stone, panoramic views of Castellane sectors: from la Palud, Grand Canyon, and will perhaps see in the sky, the vulture of the gorges of the Verdon.

The plateau of Suech

Tips for the ecogardes:

Attention, keep the herds, presence of Guard (guard dogs). Provide 2L of water, a hat and hiking shoes.
•    Join the village, pass in front of the grocery store - restaurant and bar and follow, immediately after, amount cabin left street. The route marked in white and Red (GR4) along the houses and along dry stone walls. It passes in front of a water reservoir, crosses a path and continues to rise by a small path. After the oratory St Antoine route follows the path of access to the plateau of Suech (panoramic view on the Valley, the Grand Canyon, and the village of Rougon) for about 2 km.
•    The path leads to the entrance of the plateau of Suech.A 100 m, intersection of the paths of Blieux and Castellane, right follow the GR which crosses the plateau approximately following the power line poles. At the end of crossing, it deviates and stands on the left until a small pass (point of view on the Valley of Castellane).
•    Just before the ruins of a former sheepfold, leave the GR and left follow the trail starting in the direction of Blieux and la Palud (orange markup). After a second ruin, the route joins a source - trough and continues along a path more wide in the West after a small climb the path splits. Turn left and win the tip of the plateau.
•    Slightly before the ruin of Peicard, leave the paths of Blieux and la Palud and follow the left path along the bar the Grau in limit of the shelf (yellow markup).About 50 m from the edge, the route sneaks in the middle of the boxwood and the limestone beds (panorama over the plain of la Palud, the road crests, the Grand Canyon...; follow the cairns and the marking on the ground) he joined the path of the plateau at about 100 m from the entrance of the Suech plateau. Return to the village by the track borrowed to go.
•    Between 2 and 4 hours, 9 km from market, 400 m altitude, white and Red markup, markup orange, yellow. Rando average, to spring preferably.


Five species of junipers grow naturally in France... and they meet all in the Verdon. "sabine" is one of the rarest. Mountain, it is only above 1200 m, where he attended the Rocky and dry slopes of sunny (botanists speak of species héliophile, who loves the Sun, scrublands, which like the drought and thermophilic, heat-loving). A few feet decorate the limestone beds bordering the depression of Suech, but it is along the crest of the Montdenier it is the most common. "" It is toxic, and the touch of his "essence" is irritating to skin and mucous membranes. However this does not prevent its frequent use in the "rock gardens".

Fine Lavender

From the sea to the peaks of the Verdon occur aloft three species of lavender. "Maritime" beachfront, "with broad leaves" in plain, then an average mountain, as in Rougon, the "fine" lavender. Lavender grown on the Valensole plateau is a sterile hybrid between the last two. Lavender, to the "rustic" fragrances is reserved for detergents and other cleaning products.
Fine Lavender is the only sought by perfumers. To recognize, your nose will remain the safest way because the botanical differences are little net and pretty: branched flowering stem and inflorescence developed for lavender, single shaft and short inflorescence for fine Lavender.

Toponymy, name of names!

Place names tell us about the history of the territory to which they apply. They say for example the nature of soils, habitat and crops that were there previously. It is difficult to determine what truly means Rougon, prelatins dialects from very old place name, but other names, born from the middle ages from the Romance language, are especially eloquent. Consider, for example, the two hamlets located in the heart of this tongue of land that extends the common South of the Verdon and gives to communal map the contours of a fungus. These are Encastel and Entreverges. Encastel simply means "au Château'. Should we infer as a castle would be trained on these cliffs? And yes, he was there in the middle ages, surrounded by homes. This fief completely forgotten, lost memories as documents reached us well existed. Toponymy reveals today, archaeology confirms. Entreverges is located on the small plain below. This place name consists of two words: 'between' which means "in the Middle", and "yards", alteration of the German "berg", which means mountain. We here so in the presence of a phrase that means "in the middle of: mountains".
But Entreverges extends in the plain while it is precisely here, in the middle of the reliefs, that lies Encastel. It must be inferred that this missing fiefdom was called Entreverges in the high middle ages. Once the Castle and his ruined village, only the plain was cultivated, a few houses were built soon and the toponym Entreverges followed. But the memory of the seigniorial Castle remained, it renamed then these escarpments abandoned the phrase "au Château'. Where the birth of the toponym Encastel.
Holy Font is a place near the hamlet of Alex name, it translates the source Holy or blessed. A particular source therefore flowed in this place. The Holy Fonts, very frequent in the Verdon, are generally of very old miraculous sources or healers to turn the sick, the infirm, the pilgrims seeking a wish to achieve. The function of most of them is lost, no caption, no ritual, no tradition is more reports. This is the case of Rougon.

Life on a plate

The plateau of Suech, this stony extent put there as a vast silent breath among landforms, swarmed life there's not so long. It was first, before the creation of the road of the gorges (early 20th century), the place of passage for travelling from Castellane to Moustiers Saint-Jurs or la Palud. This route of height also covers a Roman road, witness to his seniority. A path of lesser importance is detached from the Caron locality, it allowed to rally the Rougon village below. The plateau and its surroundings constitute today a zone of depaissance sheep. This development is relatively recent: the plateau of Suech as the feet of slope bordering it were vested in the cultivation of cereals. Each rougonaise family there had a few patches. The terraces of crops retaining walls is still guess there in grazing light and clapiers (these piles of stones from the ploughing scalers) punctuate the scene. Clot des Ordes, a replat of height North of the plateau, also reflects that it is cultivated barley (comp in Provençal). Rougon pastoral mountains is therefore reduced to the upper part of the large reliefs of flutes and the District said the Grau, located to the West of Suech.
This area contains epierres spaces so that the grass grows better. The autumn, sheep earned the stubbles of cereal, then harvested land. And that is not all: a forest occupied reliefs to the East of the plateau until the 17th century, it was destroyed during the 18th century. Its uses (collection of dead wood, lumber, etc.) were strictly regulated since the Middle Ages. Animals (oxen, donkeys, mules and Jackasses) ate there the grass that grew under the trees as the leaves of the lower branches from the feast of Pentecost until the end of August, under the conduct of a communal guard.
The top of the bar of Catalan to the southern plateau contains a series of concentric drystone that suggest the presence of a protohistoric oppidum. Therefore, places were inhabited very early.

La Palud-sur-Verdon - Rougon

The Blanc-Martel Trail to enter into the depths of the gorges du Verdon. You will follow the course of the River, from the Chalet of Maline to Point Sublime, where the views are superb and often dizzying.
Sometimes on the edge of the River, overlooking the sometimes you need cross stairs and through tunnels. A diverse fauna (chamois, vultures and vultures monks...), lives around this river domesticated by the construction of many dams. Attention, this hike is difficult, it can prove to be challenging. With a length of 15 km, Blanc-Martel has technical passages, and a climb at the end. A good physical condition is required.

The Blanc-Martel trail

Attention, this trail is not a loop, but a one-way ticket between the chalet of the Maline and Sublime Point. It is advisable to take the shuttle bus or a taxi, which drop you at the outset and you will resume upon arrival. Very practical, the shuttle runs from April to September, departing from Castellane (with stops at campsites). If you arrive in the Gorge by Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, it will take you to la Palud-sur-Verdon. For schedules and contacts, check with campings or the tourist offices. Shuttles and taxis allow you to discover the gorges without having to drive and to worry about parking.

Tips for the ecogardes:

Trail prohibits children under 8 years and dogs because of the equipment. Trail prohibits ATV. Trail to avoid if you are prone to Vertigo. Difficult passages: ladders, scree slopes, slippery rocks. Attention, be careful when you approach the shoreline, level of water can change quickly depending on the release of water from dams upstream.
Equipment: shoes hiking, a lamp, 2 litres of water per person at least, food (sugar, energy bars...), warm clothing and a hat.
•    From the cottage of the Maline (GR4, white and Red markup) trail along the sunken road and crosses the ravine of beetle. Down to the bottom of the Gorge (many laces, stay on the trail) and take the stairs of the Koshukova no (first steps and then a second equipped with a handrail, delicate). The path winds then joined an intersection.
•    At the foot of the laces at the intersection, follow the left, in direction of the sublime (Panel) the right path leads to the Estellier gateway. The path along the Verdon to the Guègues stairs that descend carefully. Then the trail rises above the Verdon, in the front of the Baume aux Boeufs and wins a second intersection.
•    At the level of the intersection, turn left towards the Sublime Point and continue until the Imbert breach by a climb difficult. Taking right at this intersection, you can earn the confluence between the Verdon and the Artuby, "the Mescla» which means «mixture» in Provençal (40 minutes round-trip, marked in yellow).
•    Once the breach Imbert, you're mid-term. Climb with caution the rock right to access to the belvedere. Down the metal stairs steep and narrow the breach Imbert, delicate passage which can impress (be careful if you cross people). This step has been crossed, the trail continues on the side of cliffs then descends along the Verdon few hairpin bends, at the level of the balm to the dogs.
•    From this point, it remains 1: 30 market before joining the first tunnel (tunnel of balms, 110 m long), then a second, much longer (tunnel Trescaire, 610 m).These tunnels are the remains of a hydroelectric project diversion of Verdon, dating from the beginning of the twentieth century. They allow to browse one of the closest areas of the gorges, the Samson corridor.
•    At the exit of the second tunnel, the trail descends to the level of the River, and then crosses the torrent of the Bau by a small bridge and goes up to belvedere Samson (reversal of a dead end road area).
•    Cross the rollover area to the left. The trail continues above the road and runs along the foot of the cliff (150 m of ascent, 30-minute walk with superb views of the Samson corridor). The trail leads to the main road. From there, the Sublime Point is left, two minutes.
•    Full day, between 6 and 7 hours, 15km from market, 600 m in altitude, markup white and red. Difficult hike, focus on the spring and autumn (to avoid July and August where the trail is very common, as well as in winter because of possible falling stones.

At the bottom of the Gorge: the adventure by boat

Know the origin of the name of the trail (Blanc-Martel), to move in summer 1905, it the August riverbank side Rougon. There is Édouard-Alfred Martel, today referred to as the 'father of modern speleology'. It is mandated by the Ministry of agriculture to prospect up to Aiguines Gorge with its teams. Three men from Rougon will accompany them, including schoolmaster Isidore Blanc, local Cantor of the beauties of the place, without that exploration could be done. They are familiar with the Gorge that they cross from time to time on the Tusset Bridge. But they never explored, over water, the river that flows between two high cliffs and probably are a little worried. The adventure lasted three and a half days, during which the boats they capsize and tear. Mind, we repair them on the spot and continue the adventure. Upon his return, Martel ensures that "this exceeds everything he knows. The hiking trail, designed in 1928 by the Touring Club de France, has since 2005 their two associated names. A Stela, built to the Point Sublime, keeps the memory of the epic and the Ecomuseum of the Maison des Gorges in la Palud developing conditions and impact in history.

The Fauves vultures

Here they are back at the heart of the Verdon for a decade, they have been reintroduced in Rougon by l'Association «Vultures in Provence ", in collaboration with the national Office of forests, the League for the protection of birds and the Park of the Verdon.» You can certainly admire their great glide on bottom of rocks, or else their nonchalant in the air rise when they use the updrafts. They are vultures scholarly known as Gyps fulvus. Locate binoculars you will see their long necks, their white head that settles on brown plumage, and their large-billed Raptor scavenger. You'll do for in observing this large bird of seven kilos and two and a half scale, a large natural knacker who feeds on corpses of wild animals and sheep died in the mountains.
The vulture once lived in Provence, in mountainous area but it was eradicated. The actors of its reintroduction have first established a large aviary atop a ledge near the village of Rougon, named "the Eagle bar". In this vast cage have been installed forty immature young people from the Pyrenees. Objects of all attentions, they familiarized themselves with the gorges du Verdon, then were released in adulthood. The adventure they liked and these newcomers now occupy the cliffs where they nest. A self-governing colony is developed in this sector, for the greatest pleasure of all.

Useful numbers:

Tel/Fax. 04 92 77 32 02

Tel. 04 92 83 6114 - Fax: 04 92 83 76 89

Transport de Silva (shuttle): 04 92 34 22 90

Parc naturel régional du Verdon
Tel. 0492746800 - Fax: 04 92 74 68 01 -

Relais du Parc to Castellane 04 92 83 53 89
Weather: 08 99 71 02 04


Since the site of the Cavaliers, deep dive gorges, in a unique and intimate atmosphere. The trail runs along the Verdon, under lush and diverse vegetation. Here grows, among other remarkable species, a small endemic fern (Spleenwort of the Verdon which unique refuge the cliffs of Verdon). Explore the Rocky chaos of the Imbut of Styx and many other wonders... Attention, this trail, carved in the cliff, overlooking the river of a hundred metres in places. It is therefore reserved for experienced hikers.

The trail of the Imbut

•    Departure 1: From the site of the riders (loop, 9km walk, altitude 450 trail, between 4:30 and 5 h 30), red and bench, yellow. Rando difficult to perform in all seasons except winter.
•    Departure 2: From the chalet of Maline (circuit return), 10 km walk, 400 m altitude, markup red and white, yellow. Rando difficult to perform in all seasons except winter.
Attention, from the cottage of the Maline this trail is not a sulk, but round-trip. It is advisable to take the shuttle or a taxi as parking spaces are limited. For information on schedules and periods of operation, contact the House of the gorges at la Palud-sur-Verdon, tourist offices or the relais du Parc in Castellane (numbers of the offices of tourism below, number shuttle: 04 92 34 22 90).

Tips for the ecogardes:

•    Path not recommended for less than 10 years.
•    The Vidal trail is prohibited in the down direction.
•    Attention impressive passages (up to 100 m of vacuum under your feet, it is sometimes difficult to interbreed).
•    The stones are polished by the many passages and therefore slippery. Trail strongly discouraged by wet weather.
•    Dogs are prohibited on the trail Vidal (ladders and handrails to be overcome, in danger of others).
•    Crossing the bridge of Estellie 10 people simultaneously (maximum), accompanied by adults mandatory for children under 12 years old.
•    Be careful if you approach the shoreline, level of water can change quickly depending on the release of water from dams upstream.
•    Equipment: shoes for hiking, 2 litres of water per person, a hat, food and clothing of rain.

(D1) From the parking area, down on the road in the direction of Aiguines on 100 metres, passing under the parking lot of the hostel. Leave the road on the right and take the GR 99 down the Estellie (some passages are slippery). Come close to the Verdon, the trail branches off to the left to follow the water course. Join the Estellie gateway. Do not cross it, spinning everything right, by following the yellow markup.
(D2) The Maline chalet, take the GR 4. The trail descends switchbacks along the stairs of the Koshukova step. At the level of the intersection at the bottom of the descent, turn right and follow the direction of the gateway of the Estellie you cross, before turning to the right (follow the yellow markup).
•    (1) the path follows the Verdon between the rocks and the polished trunks filed more than ten metres above the present bed, by the heavy flooding. A few hundred metres further, cross a handrail (wire rope attached to the cliff), then go below a cave.
•    The trail rises gradually, to win a new section for handrails and stairs. The tracking is done under balms (caves in Provence). Observe the vegetation of the cliffs, the junipers of Phoenicia and their sometimes millennial crooked trunk, clinging to the limestone... Further, a discreet Panel indicates «Styx», narrow gully, where rotating rollers, trained by the current, digging of basins (or pots). After the river Styx, contemplate the balm of the Mann, partly collapsed.Continue on the trail, dug out the cliff face, with a long section of handrails. To meet at this place is dangerous, be very careful.
•    After the stele in memory of a missing kayaker may become sinuous trail rises, gaining an intersection.
•    (2) at the intersection, turn right. 15 minute walk, trail parallels the river. It disappears under a rock clusters: here's the chaos of the imbut!
•    You can reach the shore, being attentive to changes in level of the Verdon. Then make a u-turn and join the intersection point 2. Attention: after the Imbut, access to the Bau Beni (white markup on the ground on the rocks) is not secure, it is dangerous and not recommended.
•    Back to the chalet of Maline (D2): follow the trail of the Imbut in reverse until the Estellie gateway, the cross, and then up along the GR 4 to the chalet of the Maline.
•    Back to the horsemen (D1): the loop takes back the Vidal, cut even the Cliff Trail (straight through the intersection, item 2). The path rises suddenly (handrails, area overlooking the river that can impress). It then meanders through the scree. Ladders and handrails you can reach the road of the gorges, left bank.
•    (3) circuit in boude: at the top of the trail of Vidal, crossing the road of the gorges, to join the trail that climbs under Oaks pubescent and joins the GR ® 99 on a forest track. Turn left (towards the horsemen). After 500 m, the track branches, follow the left. 300 m further on, continue on GR 99 left, leaving the track. The trail connects with the road to go along by the right starting point.

The great Gorge: upside down and place

The writer Jean Giono termed the Verdon with lyricism which he was familiar "underground King" sinking into the great Gorge, "in green darkness', as it is true that melts them down to 400 meters on average. But he had noticed the strange peculiarity of their ecosystem? The plant floors are reversed in effect and found, all the way down, the plant usually growing in altitude in mid zone mountain. Near the River, the freshness and the lesser brightness have encouraged the growth of beech who think might occupy there one of these wet ubacs that they love usually.
We also met a discreet fern to the small fronds, named asplenium jahandiezii Spleenwort du Verdon. The downy oak (also named White Oaks because down which are equipped with the reverse of their leaves) that is usually met on the slopes of the adrets, settled in the middle zone of the gorges, who receives the Sun a few hours per day.
At the top of the cliffs of the Verdon can push the holm oak, the l'yeuse told locally. This small tree can pass for a variety of Holly in the eyes of the secular as its leaves are sometimes equipped with Quills.
And it notes, when the look leaves the spectacle of the Gorge towards the sky where register the high reliefs of the margins, close to Aiguines, that these trees are implanted mirrored compared gorges: the holm oaks on the lower well exposed slopes, mid-slope pubescent Oaks, and beeches perched to the heights. And it is as well as the flora of the gorges has invented a world upside down.

The long history of the fault and the living water

At the beginning there was water, an alpine sea very exactly. It was during secondary era, here's more than 200 million years. The climate was tropical and coral reefs are developed.
These corals which, on a thick, gradually occupied a wide area and jostled over the millennia. It was then to tertiary era and the Alps raised to crash. The world tips, the sea withdrew and reefs, emerged, began their long life of limestone mountains. They have aligned their reliefs along an East-West axis and are interspersed with powerful bars of limestone tithoniques.
And the Verdon, you say? It happens. It comes from the heart of the Alps, impetuous as he knows the being, according to a North-South axis. At the end of the Castellane area, he meets faults, born of the great upheaval preceding collapse pits. While curbing his race, he has sneaks and took charge of the West. He hack and biting rocks, hollow at its large floods. Nothing resists him; here that creates little by little the great Gorge and fit, always cutting, always cropping. Their depth varies between 250 and 700 m, their width between 6 and 100 meters today. "It is hardly more notable examples on Earth to hack practised by the waters in the thickness of the rocks", wrote the Elysée RECLUS geographer in 1877.

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