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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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From Menton to Tourtour

We present a few rounds to perform drive, then a few articles after a few original famous markets or any simply beautiful to discover the East of Provence in all its forms.

By car

The ten laps to perform drive will ensure you enjoy landscapes of Provence to the North of Nice or West of Aix-en-Provence. While a few major centres have been omitted for reasons of space, we believe that the most beautiful landscapes are gathered here.
Tour notes are brief: we focus instead on the route planning: each round was designed to follow the most beautiful roads in the region concerned and to take you some unforgettable walks starting point.
Some tips for picnic areas you will be given throughout the articles. At the beginning of each round, we make reference to the IGN maps or Michelin which are so convenient to use.
Important: Please take time to view road maps or plans. Some hiking trails through various passages of the laps in the car, and it would be a pity to waste time in towns like Aix-en-Provence.
These suggestions may be supplemented by visits to surrounding villages at any time (the main villages are displayed at the top of each round). We have chosen cities which offered not only hotels, but our essential requirements to get a start early in the morning: a petrol station and a small supermarket!

Tour 1: The Corniche d'Or and the Esterel

Nice-Antibes-Cannes-Massif de l ' Estérel-Nice
174km / 108mi; 5 6 h driving map Michelin 84. Walks along the way: 5-7.

There are good places for picnic through Estérel, but the setting is particularly pleasant Lake near Grenouillet.
This circuit along our favorite part of the coast in the South of the France; He won the Côte d'Azur (Nice to Menton, 2 turn). It may be because it is less developed, but this remains in the memory are the coves below the road, breakthroughs Purple rock blades.

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Leaving Nice on the N98, then follow the signs in Cap d'Antibes.
One could easily spend half a day in Antibes (15km); prefer hiking to visit Antibes. Many public transit and parking spaces, they, rare.
•    This road joins the N98 in Juan-les-Pins. After rounding the tip of the Croisette, you arrive at Cannes (33km). Keep at least a day for your stay in Cannes. Beyond La Napoule, now follow the Corniche d'Or (Golden Corniche).
6 walk begins and ends at théoule, return to the village through the point of view to the tip of the needle. Should stop at the tip of L'esquillon, because the views of the coast are really beautiful.
The cliffs of red porphyry of the Esterel mountains rising to the right.
The calanques are a breathtaking. Just beyond the Pointe du Cap Roux, point of view is startling. Beyond Anthéor in Agay (64 km), we leave the coast to immerse themselves in the Massif de L'esterel.
•    Turn right on the D100 for Valescure, 1.5 km uphill, and then at the junction, again right on a small asphalt road (which goes to the peak of the bear).
Cap Roux dominates the landscape to the right when passing on the left of the Maison Forestière du Gratadis. At the intersection, take right to the peak of the bear. You arrive at the Lake of the Grenouillet.
•    At the next junction (Mourrefrey junction), keep straight ahead, where the road from cap Roux arrives from the right (signposted for the St-Barthélémy Rocher). Cape Roux stands before you. Travelling on the north shore of the Saint-Pilon and Cap Roux, go to the Ste-Baume, where some trails lead to a cave chapel dedicated to St-Honorat (1 h), but attention: some paths are quite painful and dizzying and little recommended the windy days.
•    At the neck of the mastic trees, turn right. The Trayas is framed by the tip of L'esquillon, and the Lérins Islands are reflected in the Bay of la Napoule. At the Col de Notre-Dame (76.5 km), a wide track to the right leads to the tops of small and large cranes (1h30min return). You can climb to the peak of the bear (1h30min return).
The main round turns to the South of this pass; stay on the right. Once back at the Col de L'EVEQUE, turn to the right on a two-way road.
After the Lake a second time, turn right towards the Perthus and evil Infernet. After 400 m, to Col de Belle-Barbe, Park to perform the 5 ride. Or continue straight towards the Perthus. The twin summits of le Perthus arrive on the right. Although none of the peaks in the Esterel is very high, deep ravines and jagged cliffs and winding roads conspire to convey this feeling nice to be "in the mountains". When you arrive at the pass of the Mistral, retrace your route via the Col de Belle-Barbe, and Lakeside, continue straight on, to continue after the forest home of the Gratadis.
•    To the D100, turn right towards Valescure/St-Raphaël. Follow this road for 6.5 km. Pass along small scattered vineyards and new residential developments, and continue straight towards Valescure roundabouts.
•    After the 6.5 km along the D100, where a turn to the left leads to St-Raphaël, take the forest road of the discreetly marked Wolf right. There is a spectacular view of Mount vinegar from here.
•    At the crossroads of the soft glue go left towards Les Adrets/N7. Cross the bridge of Woodcock and take the second right to mount vinegar. Now, you have joined the old Via Aurelia which formerly connected Rome to Arles via Genoa, St-Raphaël, Fréjus and Aix. Long after the Roman era, it remained the only road to the Italy. You pass the forest home of the road on the left - a good topic for a Utrillo painting, with its turquoise shutters.
•    Approximately 1.5 km further you arrive at the Maison Forestière du Malpey. Watching this pretty stained pink building in an idyllic setting, it is difficult to talk about the past... when in the 18th century this stretch of road Aurélien was the most dangerous place on the infamous "rue de L'esterel" and threatened by robbers. Gaspard de Besse (which took a particularly gruesome death at the age of 25) was the most famous of them; his hiding place was a cave next to mount vinegar).
•    At the junction, take right to mount vinegar. After the fork, take the next left (where a track goes straight to the Esterel and the Olivier area plan). The narrow road is a bit dizzying. The highest point of the massif is 200 m walk. The former guard tower, there is a magnificent panorama.
Mount vinegar, return to the forest House of Malpey and turn right. Turn right on DN7 (113km) again. Continue on the N7 for 17km, until you reach the motorway towards Nice (174km).

Tour 2: The Côte d'Azur and the Mercantour

Nice • Menton • Sospel • Col de Turini • la Bollène-Vésubie • St-Martin-Vésubie le Boréon • Madone de Fenestre • Valley of the Gordolasque • St-Martin-Vésubie
216km / 134mi; approximately 12 hours of driving for two days. Map Michelin 341.
For the second day of the tour (especially if you plan to walk), it is very useful to have IGN map 3741 OT; that you can buy at St-Martin-Vésubie. Walks along the way: 8, 9, (10), 11-16; Walks from 1 to 4 are easily accessible online nice.
Conduct will be very slow in all; almost all the roads are winding. We use three main access routes in the National Park of Mercantour: the Gordolasque and valleys of Boréon, Madone de Fenestre. If you want to visit one of the valleys, the first day of the visit, choose Le Boréon: this is the shortest and the easiest. All roads are good and amply wide, except in the Gordolasque Valley, where the road is sometimes narrow and not protected on the side (on the other hand, in some places very closely surrounded by stone walls). Avoid this route on Sundays and holidays, this passage can be a real nightmare.
Note that certain roads will be closed from October to may, due to snow or rock falls.
Perhaps more than any other tour in this book, it summarizes well why we all learned in France... and why the French do almost never feel the need to travel elsewhere. First we follow the Grande Corniche overlooking the coast from Nice to Menton, above Monaco Monte Carlo. How many movies it evokes in the mind! How many triumphant roles - and tragedies - played in real life in this context! The Côte d'Azur, we climb quickly in the forest of Turini and beautiful fir trees that would feel at home in Finland. Finally, we are in the heart of the Southern Alps. Cottages dot the landscape, cow bells ring, lush green pastures below at the summits snowy peaks... a landscape of Swiss timing. What surprises most is that we seem to have moved almost effortlessly through three different countries in just over an hour drive from the coast. Indeed, why the French would go elsewhere?


•    Exit Nice East along the promenade des Anglais; Follow the Grande Corniche, La Turbie (D2564). It rises rapidly to the Grande Corniche, built originally by Napoleon along the ancient Via Julia Augusta, the first Roman road in their campaigns to conquer the Maritime Alps. This magnificent route offers an unobstructed view. Stop first at the Belvedere of Eze (11km). From the Col d'Eze, 1 km further on, there is a brilliant view focusing on the Church and the castle of Eze, perched on a rocky peak overlooking the sea. It is one of the most photographed landscapes in France. About 2km away, was even sharper views of Eze, with Cap Ferrat and the airport, Cap d'Antibes behind him.
•    Beyond a road that descends to Eze, La Turbie suddenly appears: the blinding white of the trophy of the Alps rises behind a church with a dome of glazed tiles. La Turbie (18km) develops around this fascinating monument. Built in 6 BC with almost pure white local stones, it stood on the Via Julia Augusta, to commemorate the Roman victories over 44 different Alpine tribes. Dismissed at the end of the Roman Empire, the trophy has been undermined by the troops of Louis XIV and then used as a quarry (the Church incorporates some of its stones); a Museum is its skillful restoration in the early 1900s. Hiking 8 begins in La Turbie - a beautiful hike that descends to the coast of Eze. Of La Turbie, the road continues as the transmitter of radio Monte Carlo on conical Mont Agel.
•    Continue straight on Chin where the D53 goes to Peille on the left (market 3), then go left at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and Menton (where the D53 goes straight to Beausoleil and Monaco).
Down to enter the village of Roquebrune on the ancient Hill. Just 1 km after the entrance of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (24km), turn left uphill towards the centre. The village has preserved much of its medieval character. The fortress from the 10th century, with its Dungeon of the Castle, was built as defence against the Saracen incursions.
•    When you join the N7 below Roquebrune, turn left to Chin.
You spend above Cap Martin and enter in Menton (31 km) away under a backdrop of mountains. At the first opportunity, turn to the right at the edge of the sea, then turn left. There are beautiful views of the old town that you sweep along the waterfront. Parking near the fort of 17th-century housing the Museum Cocteau (on your right, where the road switches to the left) If you are planning a quick visit to the city. Climb to the Italian-style campanile, where you will arrive on a charming square with views of the coast, the Parvis St-Michel. Two churches open on this place: the splendid church of St - Michel of the 18th century baroque and the chapel of the white Penitents of the 19th century. A few steps more take you upwards in the Rue du Vieux-Château and the cemetery, an even more beautiful views over the old town and the port.
•    Let Chin on the D2566 to Sospel.
Soon, you pass under a bridge of Highway very impressive an arc above the Valley. Start climbing in the corners to the top of the Valley of the industrialized Carei. Monti (to halfway along the route of the ride 9) one has a beautiful view over the Valley of Castellar (where the wall 9 ends), on a promontory. Beyond that, you start climbing pins, through the forest of Chin hair. The semi-circular Caramel Viaduct is seen across the Valley.
Pass under Castillon, refuge of an artists ' colony, and where the Church has a beautiful glazed tile dome and plenty of trompe l ' œil. An impressive deep wooded valley is on your left on the climb to the Col de Castillon, where you go through a short tunnel.
•    Beyond the tunnel; Turn right onto the D2566 to Sospel. Attractive view mountains (49km / market 11), you arrive at Sospel where the Renaissance façade and the beautiful classical church with its bell tower of the X-XI century welcome you. Park near the river. Cross the bridge from the 11th century, which was destroyed during World War II, and was rebuilt and now houses the tourist office. Go forward to the ancient fountain in Place Saint-Nicolas and then walk to the place of the Church on the right bank, with its buildings beautifully decorated with trompe l'oeil.
•    Leave Sospel on D2566 to Col de Turini, reel.
•    Now you're really in the mountains, and the magnificent Authion stands before you. Cross the Guiou River in a beautiful setting and mount in Valley of Bévera, passing a waterfall on the right.
Soon, you are in the Gorges of the Piaon, where striated cliffs of honey-coloured hang out above you. Watch the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-la-Patrick on the right and the Park just below.
Do not attempt to climb to the chapel of here; walk along the road, then the pedestrian bridge on the left will take you to this small chapel with its Renaissance facade. Nearby are beautiful views towards the river of Emerald.
Reel (70km) is a small beautiful village in a green Bowl; his Church is also elegantly dressed in a trompe l ' œil. Nothing prepare you to the splendor of the forest of Turini, a huge forest between the valleys of Bévera and la Vésubie. Climbing initially through a wide variety of deciduous trees with jets of the Sea Pines, you can quickly in the 'real' forest, dominated by large and beautiful pines. The best time to be here is in the fall, when the delicate red and gold color deciduous trees. Four roads converge on the Col de Turini (74km), where the hiking 12 starts and ends. It is also one of our favorite places to take a break or spend the night.
•    Go right at the neck, and then turn left for La Bollène-Vésubie D70. (Or keep everything right here on the D68, to make a 17km of the authion road circuit).
•    The D70 descends the Valley of la Bollene in hairpins, reinforced by a "great wall of China. Not far from a tunnel, go on the left at the chapel of St-Honorat. From the terrace you can enjoy the magnificent view. The road descends through chestnut trees, without passing through the centre of La Bollène - Vésubie (94 km), a small hilltop village in the 18th century with its houses grouped around the Church.
•    After La Bollène, turn right onto the D2565 to St-Martin-Vésubie. Beyond a tour to left foot for the new village of Roquebillière, look to the top right of the Belvedere. Just after this point of view, you pass the Belvedere road and the Valley of the Gordolasque (66km).
Now the Mont Tournairet rises across the Blue River Vésubie. You pass under the old town of Roquebillière, where the Bell Tower of the Romanesque church has a dome of glazed tiles. What strikes the eye immediately is the color of the stone in this area (Brown to beige), but strongly striated mauve, Burgundy and Siena. Soon, you may notice picnic areas on both sides of the road.
Beyond a hydroelectric generating station, at the bottom left, you will pass the chestnut. Even if some new homes have been built, this hamlet of old postcard (from the name of chestnut red flowering giving older houses) is always exquisite.
•    When you enter in St-Martin-Vésubie (109km), at the confluence of the valleys of le Boréon and Fenestre Madonna, the road makes a steep front of the tourist office (just where the bulbous Tower of the chapel of the white Penitents rises). Park immediately after this turn and walk to the tourist office and in the Office of the National Park of Mercantour.
Both are worth a visit before exploring the city, a good place to buy books and maps or picnics. The statue of the 12th century of Notre-Dame-de-Fenestre is visible in the Church from the 17th century between October and June; in summer, it is in the chapel.
The second day of the tour, leave St-Martin (0km) to the North on the D2565. If you have not already done so, fill with gasoline now. A little more than 2km after the station, turn right onto the D89 to Le Boréon, then turn left almost immediately.
It feels like in Switzerland: Alpine chalets dotted around the lush green pastures. You follow a salt from the 15th century.
After having crossed the stream of Boréon in Trois-Ponts (the Italian border until 1947), you reach Le Boréon (8.5 km), at the entrance of the Parc National du Mercantour. There is a beautiful waterfall and a small lake.
•    At a crossroads, turn right on the D189, for le Boréon Vacherie. The road narrows, but is still comfortably large. To park for the 13 promenade, continue here on a rough track for 1 km, after the upper parking of Boréon.
•    Of the barn back to St Martin. At the roundabout just before joining the main road, turn left to the Madone de Fenestre. At the next crossroads, turn left onto the D94 again.
You head directly towards the steep Mont Ponset. 6km uphill, you pass a huge pipe crossing the River to the jumpers; It carries water from Boréon Lake until the power station near chestnut trees. The Creek is crossed by a small bridge and 1.5 km further, you enter again in the National Park.
Should you park there for hiking 15. Suddenly, you are in the Madone de Fenestre (39km), a chapel and a few houses of the French Alpine Club. The magnificent circus stands before you, dominated by the snow-capped Mont gélas. In the summer, with walls frescoed chapel holds the statue of the 12th century Notre-Dame-de-Fenestre, subject to monthly pilgrimages; in September, she returned to the Church of St-Martin (hiking 15 follows the route of the pilgrimage on a small part). The 14 market rises up to the Italian border and is full of history.
•    Back to St-Martin (51 km). Turn left on the main D2565 pass shaded parking area it and walk towards the South, which traces the first day of the tour. Beyond Roquebillière take left on the D171 for Belvedere. Ignore the two lanes to the right just before the village. We have to turn left at the Belvedere to (66 km) post office: look over the village, terraced forest Turini Vésubie Valley. Belvedere, continue North to the top the Gordolasque Valley; the road is amply wide at the beginning, but it will shrink and become more and more difficult. From the outset, the surprising absence of pines makes this very different le Boréon Valley the fenestre. You climb in a pastoral setting beyond Birch and chestnut trees, orchards and built magnificent local stone walls. Pay attention to your driving, be prepared to stop to let the cows or sheep to pasture. Some 7km to the top of the Belvedere, just after crossing a small bridge, look left at the beautiful Cascade du Ray. Another bridge is crossed about 1 km further. behind him, there is a beautiful view of steep peaks.
The hamlet of St-Grat welcomes 2.5 km away, its pretty modern Chapel stands on the left. Continuing under the tops of Valletta on the left and the Cime du Diable on the right, the Valley opens in pastures grassy wrinkled, strewn with rocks, where the Ribbon of the river shines. Just after the passage of a well hidden plant, the road ends at a parking area by the bridge (bridge of the Countet; 79 km). Early in the morning, then the dew falls on pastures shimmer like diamonds this valley is a paradise on Earth. 16 market starts just to the left of the bridge. Beyond the Mont du Grand Capelet, lies the fascinating Valley of wonders, where it has more than 30,000 rock engravings dating back to the Bronze age. The Valley is a Museum in the open air, marked with panels of information by the National Park. Leaving the bridge, back to the D2565 and turn right, go back to St-Martin-Vésubie (1 07km).

Tour 3: Utelle and the Gorges du Loup

Martin - Madonna Utelle - Gorges of the Vésubie - Gorges du loup - Gourdon - Thorenc.
200km / 124mi, about 7 hours driving, Michelin map 84, or 245. Walks along the way: 17, 18. The roads are good, but narrow and winding. However, a large expanse of Madonna of Utelle, 4.5 km is very steep and not recommended for passenger or nervous drivers. Avoid this route and route in the Gorges du Loup, on Sundays and public holidays. Make gasoline before leaving Saint-Martin.
Picnic suggestions: don't expect picnic in the Gorges du Loup; There is very little parking in parts the prettiest of the throat, and always crowded. Utelle Madonna stands on a high plateau with panoramic view (ideal for picnics) but beware: this Chapel road is extremely narrow for a short distance; There is little shade and, sometimes, at the beginning of autumn, this height is populated by more giant ants and crickets as a science fiction film.


In the middle of this tower, on the D2 beyond Coursegoules, a stretch of road of shady oak is extremely attractive. Gourdon, narrower at the end of the tour, is the place to start walking 17: follow a descent for only five minutes.
There are rocks to be sit and some shade. the view is just amazing. The Plateau de Calern is crossed by the end of this tour. It is particularly beautiful in the spring when wild plants are in bloom, and you can park anywhere on the side of the wide road (D12). At the end of the round, you have two choices along the D2: the old village of Gréolières and Castellaras (market 18).
Leaving the pins of the Mercantour, we head South to grass pre Alps, past terraced with olive trees. The orientation table above Utelle we enjoy one of the most beautiful views in the Alpes-Maritimes, before diving into the Gorges du Loup.
•    Head to the South of St-Martin-Vésubie on the D2565.
•    You pass under the Bollène. In Lantosque, you cross the Vésubie, continue on the D2565 (on the left, just before a tunnel). In St-Jean-la-Rivière (24km) turn right on the D32 towards Utelle.
The road climbs in hairpins hair beyond the walls of dry stones, terraces of olive. Just like the approach of the former village fortified of Utelle (32.5 km), there are stunning views of the Valley of the Vésubie at mercantour Park, where the village of La Bollène promontory into the Valley like the bow of a ship.
Then continue to climb, after 1 km, go left at a fork to the Madonna Utelle. After another 1.5 km, the road narrows to one lane. Park at the chapel of the Madonna of Utelle (39.5 km) pilgrimage. Legend has it that Iberian sailors, wading in the high seas off the coast of Nice, look up to these heights and see a light which guided them safely to the shore. They founded the chapel in 850, but it was rebuilt in 1806. Continue to the orientation table, where an exceptional panorama takes place (of the Alps through the authion road (just behind the chapel) to Nice, out of Corsica, round to the Esterel, then North on the Prealps of Grasse.
•    Back to the main D2565 (56km) and turn right. Continue along the steep wall of the Vésubie Gorges, near the river. After 2km, just beyond a tunnel, notice the extremely pure walls on the far side of the throat (the jump from the French): in 1793, of many resistance fighters were fighting against the occupation of the County of Nice. The french were thrown over the cliff because of their atrocities.
Further, where the Vésubie flows into the river Var, Bonson Church rises on the right, on the edge of a pyramid Hill.
Go left towards Nice on the D6202 and cross the Vésubie on bridge Durandy. Some 2.5 km after, beyond Plan-du-Var, turn right for Gilette on the D17, cross the bridge Charles-Albert. At the t-junction turn left onto the D2209 in Carros.
At the confluence, there is a superb view of the river basin. Just before crossing the Estéron, turn to the perched village of Gilette. The pretty little way climbs through pine and oak. Soon, you pass under the village of Broc and Carros then.
Just after the tunnel, turn right uphill on the D1 to the Village of Carros and Le Broc.
At the next fork (in quick succession), go right, once again, to the right, then left. These manoeuvres will take you to the table of orientation of the old Carros (81km), a small beautiful village around a castle and a windmill. Here there is a beautiful view to the jug and scattered villages perched on the side of Var.
•    Let Carros on D1 for Le Broc.
As soon as you enter Le Broc, take left at a fork for Bouyon (always the D1), leaving the church spire from the sixteenth century to the right.
Cross the Bouyon River then the hamlet of mills. Enter Bouyon (93km), keep the D1 towards Roquesteron, ignoring the left turn in the village, with its red-roofed church tower and its belltower in wrought iron.
•    At a fork, continue straight for Bezaudun on the D8, along the Bouyon on the left, beyond Bézaudun-les-Alpes, which amounts to the wide on the right flank terraces abandoned the road. Ignore the two roads to the right of Coursegoules; keep the D8 to Gréolières and Vence.
After crossing a bridge over the river Cagne, turn right onto the Gréolières D2 Thorenc. Look on the left now for a beautiful view of Coursegoules, where the Romanesque church of the 12th century rises above the grassy terraces. Shaded by Oaks, this stretch of tree-lined road of grass is very nice for picnics.
•    At a junction with the D3 at Pont-du-Loup, go right, and grader D2 to Gréolières Thorenc. Then, just 1 km, turn left on the D703 to Cipières. The road descends in hairpins in the beautiful valley of the Wolf, where fields cover the sides of steep mountains.
At a fork after 2 km, turn right and cross the river. Now the walls of the gorge are interviews through the gracious Oak on the left. Just outside the village of Cipiére, leave the chapel of St-Claude left. Although badly restored, it has a beautiful wrought iron gate. The spectacular road descends once again, in a wide and open throat. When the D3 comes in behind, go right towards Gourdon.
«Overlooking the Gorges du Loup». Follow this short path on a balcony, from where the view overlooks 350 m / 350 metres down into the Gorges du Loup. Resume the D3, right. (Gréolières Bramafan).
It descended through the Gorges du Loup. Just before the Bramafan bridge, turn right, on a road to two narrow lanes (D6). 2 km from there, see the waterfall of bridesmaids.
From there, the road passes through a tunnel then descends lush with trees. You cross the bridge from the abyss in invigorating surroundings. Pass through a second tiny tunnel. The pretty Cascade de Courmes is just outside, but you must park about 200 m further and reverse. Then, the road passes through a long tunnel.
•    Pont-du-Loup, turn right onto the D2210 for the bar and cross the river.
Look to the right to see the pillars of the old bridge, destroyed during the second world war. (At this junction is the D2210 to Tourrettes and Vence but these occupied villages are the most visited at the beginning of the day.)
When you enter the bar, turn right to assemble in the village. Parking in the front of the Tower from the 16th century. Visit the Gothic church from the 15th century. Left of the Church, point of beautiful view of the gorges du Loup.
Continue South on the D2210 and Châteauneuf-Pre-du-Lac, go right on the D3 to Gourdon. Now, the D3 offers a splendid view to the Gorge of Loup, Le Bar and Gourdon (153km). Parking below the village, where the March 17 begins and ends.
•    Gourdon westward on the D12. The broad, little-used road climbs on the plateau, with beautiful views on Gourdon and up the coast. Ignore a narrow path left for the Claps, but, in the neck of the Ecre, turn left.
After 3km, the road makes a net turn left; you pass under an Observatory and cross the Plateau de Calern on grass lined wide road, a delight of wild flowers in the spring. Follow Caussols right. When you encounter the D5, continue straight for Thorenc, Gréolières. From the pass of the Sine, there are spectacular views to the white of the Audibergue mountain.
When you cross the Pont-du-Loup, ignore the road right front for Andon. Thorenc, Gréolières, turn right, and then again right on the D79 at Greolieres. Along the Wolf, this road will lead you to the village of Gréolières, attractive. The next turn to the right, the D502 Thorenc (200km).

Tour 4: In the footsteps of Napoleon

Thorenc - Mons - Fayence - Bargemon - Pennafort-bagnols-en-foret-saint-cezaire-sur-siagne Gorge - St-Vallier-de-Thiey-Route Napoléon-Thorenc
203km / 126mi; on the 8-9 hrs driving, map Michelin 84, or 245. Walks along the way: 18-22
All roads are good, but some are narrow. On a short section of road to one lane between Callian and Saint-Cézaire, there are a few places of passage. Fill with gasoline Thorenc or Fayence.
If this circuit in the foothills of the Alps de Grasse goes in some villages and fine and beautiful gorges, two landscapes are likely to fill you up: the world of red rocks beyond Pennafort and your ascension of the magnificent road Napoleon, under the White Mountains of Malay, Lachens and Audibergue. Below the village of Seranon, you arrive on the old chapel, standing in total isolation under the flame heights of the Bauroux. The austere beauty of this Chapel, especially at the sunset, is striking.


•    De Thorenc turning Gréolières D2. You can see the relay on the Col de Bleine left, while right an old ruin is hung on the rock.
•    On the D5, turn right towards Andon.
In the neck of Castellaras, there is a superb view on the Valley of the Wolf and the Audibergue. Turn right on the D79 Andon and Séranon. Beyond Andon continue in the direction of quail (always D79).
•    Continue to follow Grasse, until you get to the driving (20km). Turn left towards Grasse; then, 2.5 km later (in the Col de Valferriere), turn right onto the D563 for Mons.
Beautiful grassy fields and plane trees welcome you in Mons (35.5 km). Park in the main square with its fountain of the 18th century, tourist office and the orientation table, of the place where there is a superb view over the Valley of the Siagnole (hiking 19) down. The Audibergue rises to the left, let Mons in the same way you came, passing on the left of the Church from the 17th century/15 with its belfry.
Turn right (unmarked, but there is an old sign coming on a wall, the caves of ST - CEZAIRE). Shortly after, go to the Chapel to enjoy the sight of Mons. You are now on the D56, a nice little road, zigzagging through the Oaks, with views over the Mediterranean.
After 4.5 km keep right with the D56, continue on the bridge.
•    At a junction, turn right on the D37 (to the D563). The road passes to the left of Château de Beauregard. The D563 junction, turn left to Fayence. When you approach the village, you go directly to the Esterel mountains. You go to the right of the classical Church of the 18th century in the large village of Fayence (55.5 km). Follow "toutes directions".
Beyond the Romanesque chapel of Notre-Dame-de-l ' abalone, entering the village of Seillans, with a 15-11-century Romanesque church and a castle.
Seillans take the direction of Bargemon D19. There are beautiful views on a series of Green pools. Then a pretty fragrant pine trees and oak forest takes you almost all the way in Bargemon (75km). From Bargemon follow Callas (D25). There is a good view for homes, sheltering under the ruins of the castle on your approach to Callas, from where you follow the Muy (always the D25), bypassing the vineyards on the right and cross the D562.
Just after a small lake and the waterfall on the left, opposite the hotel, mount on the left. The next 17 km takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes of the region. Although this area is not mentioned in most guidebooks, affluent fans to the different "areas" along the way, to taste the 'Provence side'.
The D47, take left towards Bagnols. Beyond forest of pines graceful, you cross the Endre River from where there are stunning views to the coast. Soon Bagnols extends on the right. The path to hike 20 branches off to the right, to Notre Dame Chapel, just before the cooperative Winery. At the crossroads, turn left to Fayence.
•    Direction Saint-Paul-en-forêt.
At St-Paul-en-forêt, remain on the D4 to Fayence, Grasse. After 5km turn right to Grasse (D562). Turn left on the D56 in Callian.
Callian, crowned by its castle, now stands on a hill on the right, with Montauroux beyond.). You pass under the castle of the 17th century and to the right of the Church from the 17th century with tiles glazed on the tower.
•    Let Callian on the D37 for Mons.
There is a beautiful view of Callian Leftwards. Cross the Siagnole; ignore the D656 in Mons. Now go down across the throat, at the base of the escarpment, on a good two-lane road. Climb in zigzags through terraced olive groves in Saint-Cézaire-sur-Siagnes (144 km) and follow "downtown" in this wonderful medieval village perched with a chapel of the 13th century (Notre-Dame of Sardinia, where starts hiking 21). Of the Church, you can follow a path to an orientation table. The famous caves of St-Cezaire located 4 km northeast of the city, on the D613. Exit St-Cezaire sur D5 for St-Vallier.
Once again in the direction of the Audibergue, enter St-Vallier-de-Thiey (153 km) â the D6085 junction, turn left towards Castellane. It's the Route Napoléon, mounted by the Emperor on his return from exile in Elba in March 1815. To avoid the main roads (guarded by troops loyal to the King), his small band used what was then a mule steep and muddy.
In the Valferriere pass, you pass the D563 in Mons, followed earlier. Dry stone walls announce the approach to Seranon, (see the chapel Notre-Dame-de-Gratemoine). The main walk begins in the village up to the right.
The Logis of pine (186 km) you cross the Artuby. Turn right onto the D2211 for St-Auban; 2.5 km, turn right for Thorenc, Gréolières D2.

Tour 5: lac d'Allos

Thorenc • Castellane • St-André-les-Alpes • Colmars • Lake Allos • Colmars
123km / 76mi; the 5-hour driving. Map Michelin 341
Us Rails one of the finest artificial lakes in the South of the France, before following the Verdon River upstream to its source near the Col d'Allos. But the highlight of this tour is the magical surroundings of the Allos Lake - the largest natural lake in Europe in altitude (2200 m).
De Thorenc, take the D6085.The road along the Valley of the alley on the left. The mountain of the Bauroux appears before (its peak, which dominates the Route Napoléon). Ignore the turnoff of quail. Take the D2211 to Grasse. After 2.5 km you encounter the Route Napoléon (D6085) near the hotel. Turn right towards Castellane. Park at the Sauvaire place to visit.


From Castellane follow worthy and the Castillon dam, to continue North on the D4085. The road climbs to the Col de la Blache. At this pass go right on the D955. Soon you begin to glimpse the Lac de Castillon. The N202 junction turn left. You go to the right of St-Julien-du-Verdon. Keep to the left, cross the Verdon once more. Near the top of the Lake, just as you enter St-André-les-Alpes (54 km), there is a large car park where you can observe the gliders based on la face cachée - below robines (clay slopes) hurtling down the Hill in folds. Besides being a Mecca known for paragliders, St-André is a fruit growing area and a well located tourist center. Exit St-André on the D955 to Colmars, and Col d'Allos.
Soon you cross the Issole River. This very pleasant road is uncrowded.
With luck you will see the train des Pignes and him give hunting! After crossing the Verdon, you are in the upper Valley and the green fields of Thorame-high.
•    Having joined the D908, you enter a parade of honey-coloured cliffs. After a straight stretch of road lined with trees, you pass to the right of the pretty resort of Beauvezer. Style chalets Switzerland barely pink before Colmars (83km), which is accessed at a beautiful avenue of chestnuts. Notice the Sundial on the door of France, at the southern entrance to this ancient walled city. Parking is further north on the main road. The Romanesque (13th century) Notre-Dame-de-Valvert Chapel is on your left as you enter. 100 metres after the Chapel, take right on the D226 for Lac d'Allos.
Zigzags give beautiful views of Allos. After the ravine of Valplane you enter the National Park.

Tour 6: The Cians Gorges

Colmars • Col des Champs • Beuil • Gorges du Cians • Puget-théniers • EntrevauxAnnot • Thorenc
181km / 112mi; on the 5-6 hours by road. Map Michelin 341.
Walks along the way: 24-26; Market 28 is on the return path. The circuit follows several winding roads; None is dizzying, but you may need to keep a comfortable distance if you encounter cars coming in the opposite direction. Some passages may be closed between October and may. Fill up on fuel before leaving Colmars.
After an exhilarating crossing of the high alpine pastures, we descend the most spectacular gorge in Provence, the Gorges du Cians, with Shales of the Permian whose color is red and pale pink dark to dark purple.


Take North Colmars; the main D908, then turn right on the D2 for the neck of the fields.
This very narrow road climbs up in hairpins; through the trees, you can see the upper Valley of the Verdon, pastures and the high mountains. About 4km uphill, you can park your car and walk to admire the Panorama of the Collette (30 min return), a point of view on the valleys of the Verdon and Lance. Still 1.5 km you arrive at the Ratery Nordic Site and a beautiful view left of Allos, then you continue through the majestic pines.
After the pass, you leave the Alpes de Haute-Provence for the Alpes-Maritimes. The road (now both broad gauge) drops below the Pelens needles in the tree line.
•    Just after the Saint-Jean Chapel, at a fork, go right on the D78 for the MD and St. Martin.
This road passes in the middle of the abandoned hamlets and abandoned orchards. In the cosy seaside resort of St-Martin-D'entraunes (28.5 km) go right onto the D2202 for Villeneuve, Guillaumes. The road, initially, bordered by poplars, crosses the river of the Var and then rebinds orchards.
Beyond the hamlet of La Ribière lies the first tunnels cut in jagged mountain that dominates Guillaumes (40 km), a very nice resort with a ruined castle and a Romanesque church. At Guillaumes continue straight on the D28 for Saint-Brès, Valberg. The good road through chaos of rock, studded with pine trees and green fields.
•    Let Beuil on the D28 for the Cians Gorges. Look back to admire the wonderful views of Beuil. Some 5km downstream of Beuil, you enter into the landscape of red rocks high the Cians Gorges.
The most beautiful section of the throat (and longest) is the race between Beuil and Pra D'astier, where the river crosses red shale. The contrast between the Burgundy stone and the various Greens of the trees, ferns and MOSS is breathtaking. At the D6202 (82.5 km), turn right direction Digne, Puget-théniers. Visit the city and take some information about the Train des Pignes!
5km further, you can see the town fortified entrevaux, founded in the 11th century. To appreciate the site, turn left in front of the door of Vauban, then go right on the D610 for "panoramic parking.
•    After u-turn, continue West on the D4202, along the Var. After crossing the Gueydan bridge (where the Var cut the Daluis gorges right), stay left on the D4202 de Grenoble, Digne, Annot.
•    The Scaffarels. Turn right on the D908 in the direction of Annot.
The road follows the Valley of the river of the Vairy. On your right the famous sandstone of Annot, only the 26 market allows you to explore. If you want to do this walk, turn right just before the centre of the resort. Otherwise, continue until you reach the main square of Annot (114.5 km) and Park on the left to see the charming old town.
Annot return by the main road (now 202) and turn right. To Vergons, a few more later, the chapel of St-Ferréol is perched atop a conical hill (note its strata diagonal, so characteristic of this area). Beyond the parade of the Vergons Clue glimpse you the beautiful setting of St-Julien-du-Verdon, on the Lac de Castillon.
Just before the Demandolx, take right on the sometimes narrow D102 above Lake Chaudanne, join the D4085 East of la Castellane.

Tour 7: rifts and river valleys

Thorenc • Col de Bleine • Aiglun • Sigale Clue of St-Auban Castillon •Lac • Castellane • Comps-sur-Artuby ••Aups of Tourtour
176km / 109mi; on 7 h; Michelin maps 341, then 340.
This tour starts from river to River along the way leading to Aups. First of all, we follow the Estéron River and tributaries. Kayakers are in their element here, and you will have to compete with them for the parking space. The absence of the Verdon, we skirt its idyllic tributary, Jabron. The Artuby opens the way to the Nartuby and the beautiful Gorges de Châteaudouble. End of the day, there is one last chance for a walk - Hill of the village of Tourtour.


Head to Northern Thorenc, to the Col de Bleine D5. Looking back now, down to Thorenc, to see the ruins of the Castellaras and West, Bauroux.
•    About 3.5 km from Thorenc, in the Col de Bleine (a popular hang-gliding centre and very busy Sunday) turn right uphill on a very narrow road. 1 km further, turn left (opposite relais). The road ends with stunning views of the valleys of the Wolf and Lane. Descend from the point of view and continue over the pass. At the crossroads turn right on the D10 for the Mas, Aiglun. After 0.6 km, at a fork in there, move the Sausses on the D110.
•    Continue straight on the D110 for Le Mas, Aiglun. When you encounter the D10, once again, turn right to Aiglun. The road narrows to a single lane. Now we start our (sometimes amazing) circuit of the clues. When approaching the first of them, there is a beautiful view to the village of Aiglun. Cross the Estéron.
Continuing to the East above the Estéron, you pass under the Aiglun cemetery, where the chapel of our Lady stands on a promontory, surrounded by cypresses. The hamlet of Vascognes is located just below the road. You can always go through the gateway of the Estéron at Vascognes - a more daring experiment! Now look forward, the perched village of Sigale, where falls strata to the river Escarpment.
5 km from Aiglun, starting up just before or after crossing the bridge of the Riolan, to see the irresistible "Roman baths". Go to Sigale, admiring its clock of the 19th century, decorated with a campanile Tower. After he crossed the terraces of olive trees, you join the D17 and continue straight for Sigale on the good wide road from Roquesteron.
In this ancient fortified village, which always attracts attention is the Tower of the clock on his isolated bedrock. You feel really high here in Sigale, where fall the steep walls to the confluence of the Estéron and Riolan. From here a wider road takes you high above the green fields at the entrance to the Clue of the Riolans, with a view to the left in this deep gorge through the mountains. After crossing the Pont des Miolans, turn left onto the D2211 towards Collongues Briançonnet.
•    Soon Collongues occurs above the green fields. When you enter, stay left for St-Auban, Grasse.
At the next junction, a little more than 1 km further on, to keep the D2211a for Briançonnet, St-Auban. Turn left D2211 for St-Auban.
You continue in hairpins until the Clue of St - Auban (66 km). Unlike the previous clues, you go through on 1 km.
Always follow the Estéron (D305). After leaving the Alpes-Maritimes to the Alpes de Haute-Provence, the road becomes the D102. Continue straight on the far side of the village of Castellane. Arriving at the Col de St - Barnabé, go straight for Demandolx. This road goes through "garrigues" towards the mountains behind St-André and Castellane.
•    Not far from Demandolx, you join the C2 and retain all right for Castellane.
•    Turn left on the D955 to Castellane. If you walk on the dam, you will appreciate its height (100 m / 330 ft), try to not think about the fact that it is only 26 m/85 ft wide at its base! When you join the D4085 (Route Napoléon; Car tour 4), turn left. In Castellane (97km), feel you park up to the famous chapel of Notre-Dame du Roc. It is a steep climb on way of the cross to the Chapel, from where you have a breathtaking view Castellane and the entrance to the gorges du Verdon.
Don't miss the Pont - du - Roc of the 17th century on the Verdon (directly below our Lady). Castellane also marks the eastern end of the "lavender Route". Place Sauvaire, turn right on the D952 in Comps-sur-Artuby, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Now drive along you the river of the Verdon on your left. Notice the "Crown" of the dolomitic rock on the right - the Brandis Cadieres. You pass the bridge of Taloire, then the detour of many steep cliffs, the Clue of Chasteuil.
Take a left on the D955 in Comps-sur-Artuby, cross the Verdon on the Pont de Soleils. Soon Trigance, with its hotel-Castle of the 16th century and the Bell Tower of the Church with glazed tiles, rises on the right.
•    Comps, continue on the D955. 1.8 km south of Comps you pass a sanctuary and a chapel on the left, with beautiful views on the left of Comps and the Artuby Valley. Soon, you enter a military zone dating from the time of Jules César: Plan de Canjuers. Keep right for Draguignan on the D955.
Watch left the D54 for Draguignan: ignore it, but just behind her, take a right onto the D51 for Châteaudouble. A short tunnel takes you to the old village of Châteaudouble. You enter the wood of Prannes, a beautiful corner of 5 kilometres of mixed forests. In the village of Ampus, deport you slightly right for Vérignon and, when you encounter a cross (quickly) before you, go right towards Tourtour (D49).
Take the D51 towards Tourtour. In the village (one of the most beautiful villages of France), the Castle now houses the 'Ayuntamiento '. After wandering through the narrow streets to admire the beautifully restored old houses, pass by the Church where the panorama offered by its square on the Gulf of St-Raphaël, Mont Ventoux, the Montagne Sainte-Victoire and the Luberon is magnificent.
from Tourtour, continue on the D51 towards Villecroze. At a fork, continue straight for Aups on the D557; ignore the road left for Villecroze. At the next intersection, stay to the right for Aups.

Saint-Pancrace - Digne
Bléone Valley - Digne

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