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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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Verdon Gorge, the Maures, Sainte-Victoire Mountain

​Tour 8: Grand Canyon du Verdon

AUPs Moustiers-Sainte-Marie • Grand Canyon of VerdonAiguines • Aups
162km / 100 MI; on the 7-8 h of road; Map Michelin 340.
The Grand Canyon of the Verdon owes its name to the father of caving, Édouard - Alfred Martel: '' We have here a true Marvel, unique in Europe, '' wrote; "it is the most American of all canyons in the old world - and I have not changed my opinion when I saw the Grand Canyon of Colorado". This is Malik, with the help of the teacher of Rougon Isidore Blanc, who explored the depths of the gorges du Verdon in August 1905.


•    Let Aups on the D957 assuming northward (Les Salles-sur-Verdon, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie). At a little over 15km of Aups, pull over to the large parking lot on the left for a superb view over the Lake of Ste-Croix and Les Salles-sur-Verdon. In the morning, the sun shines on the cliffs. Along the Lake on the D957 (21 km, 23km), you pass the D19 right; It is the main access road westward to the South Bank of the canyon (the "Corniche Sublime"). Continue straight towards Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. When that you cross the Verdon on the Pont de Galetas (25km) don't forget to admire the magnificent view of the gorge on your right. Just after the bridge, you are in the Alpes de Haute-Provence.
•    Continue towards Moustiers-Sainte-Marie (32km).
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is worth a visit. Its beautiful surroundings can be enjoyed by car; You must park outside the village and walk. A string with a gold star is suspended between cliffs overlooking the village. The chapel Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir, beautiful views extend roofs of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Plateau de Valensole.
Unlike the tourist shops, the Museum of earthenware contains only the finest examples of art. It is next to the Romanesque church with its impressive four-storey.
•    Moustiers take D952 towards Castellane. Only 2 km away, stay left on the D952, direction La Palud, Castellane.
The road climbs gradually to the (right) Bank of the North of the canyon. At this point, you enter the Grand Canyon of the Verdon and follow the right bank at the beginning of the canyon to the Clue de Carejuan. Throughout the circuit, the walls of the gorge will open and close like a bellows, narrowing down.
Some 4 km further, beyond the farm of Mayreste, ample parking alerts you to the Belvedere of Mayreste. From here, you have a first glimpse of the canyon upstream. On the viewpoint of cervical Ayen to walk another 250 m/yds for the views, to prepare for the part more deep and narrow Canyon, where the walls are less than 10 m / 30 ft at the base. Now, the road turns away from the throat, and you pass the Chalanettes, a farm that sells local products (honey, goat cheese and lavender that thrives on this chalky soil).
•    From La Palud, continue East on the D952 towards Castellane, then turn right on the D23. The road goes through the lavender fields, then a wood on the edge of the canyon. You are now on the Route des Crêtes - a 22km long corniche road one-way with 16 stunning views; all have a large parking area, but all are not tagged. Our favorites are shown below. Trescaires belvedere offers you your first good views upstream to the Samson corridor and the hostel Point Sublime, with Rougon above it.
From the viewpoint of the stopovers, the view takes down on a magnificent wall of climbing amounting to 500 m / 1650 ft above the river. The tooth of area has only one point of view 360 ° on this road. On the point of view of the lime, you're just opposite the notch of the gorges of the Artuby and not far from the stops, the now famous climbing wall. From the viewpoint of the coolers, there is a beautiful view of La Mescla, where the Artuby flows into the Verdon.
The Tosks Belvedere, on a steep, Hairpin, returned to La Mescla and a narrow corridor of called rock rightmost 'Jumpers'. Not much further you will see the cottage of the Maline, departure of the Martel Trail, the most popular canyon trail.
Finally, the viewpoints of the Imbut and Manny offer a bird's eye view in the gorges. Soon the road crosses a landscape of mountains Swiss, and you return to La Palud (76km). Again westward on the D952 at Castellane. Away from the drama of the canyon, there is a beautiful view on the left of the Valley of Baou, its Emerald fields dotted with solitary farms.
•    Point sublime, continue on 700 m, just before a tunnel, take the D236. This road takes you to the bottom of the Samson corridor, where it ends at a large parking lot, just where the Bau river empties into the Verdon.
•    Back to the main road and turn right through the tunnel. Now the balcony road begins its descent towards the river. You're all right in the direction of Robion Escarpment. Turn on the D955 in Comps-sur-Artuby.
You cross the Verdon on the Pont de Soleils. Pass the hamlet of Suns and then, at the end of a turn, admire Trigance. Take the next road on the right towards the village but, at the next fork (after 200 m), keep left on the D90. You go left of Trigance. At the D71, turn right.
In the Col de St-Maimes, we start our tour of the South Shore (rive gauche), the Corniche Sublime (not to be confused with the Sublime Point, on the North Shore). The two balconies of the Mescla (109km) are two of the best vantage points in the canyon. Here the view plunges straight towards the low 250 m / 800 ft to the confluence of the Verdon and the Artuby, at a time where the Verdon describes a meander very tight around a rock knife blade. The Mescla ("mixed" in Provençal) is one of the most beautiful stages of the Martel trail, where the banks of the river pebbles are an ideal place for picnics.
•    You now pass above the steep walls of the ravine, the Artuby, then pass the bridge of the Artuby. It spans the River with a single arch.
The Le Belvedere (via a path off the coast of the left, then right, 400 m in total) offers a good view of the Artuby and the junction of the two canyons. When you approach the Tunnels de Fayet, be prepared to stop just after the first tunnels! It is one of the most beautiful views on the tour, where we can see the great cradle of the canyon, with the peaceful River. Beyond the second tunnel, the river widens and the view is not as beautiful.
From the point of view of margins you look upstream the tail end of the Lake and the end of the canyon, with the Valensole Plateau top. Then the road turns away from the throat in a wide arc, the Vaumale circus. At the Source of Vaumale, there's a wonderful West - with regard to the Luberon and Mont Ventoux - and to the North on the points of view of the Route des Crêtes. The river is more than 700 m / 2300 ft below you. This is the highest part of the road on the South Shore, and at 1200 m / 4000 ft, it is almost as if it flew over the landscape by helicopter. The Col of D'illoire announces the end of the canyon. Enjoy one last look on rock faces, but you won't see the river again.
As your descent, you will see Aiguines, its turrets glazed, Castle and its famous wood Turners. The Valensole plateau extends behind the Lake of Sainte-Croix.
•    Leave on the D71 Aiguines to take the direction of Moustiers. When you arrive at the D957, turn left for halls, Draguignan. Follow this road to return to Aups.

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Tour 9: Les Maures

Aups • Lorgues • Vidauban • La Garde-Freinet • La Croix-Valmer • • • Notre-Dame-des-Anges Collobrières • Besse-sur-Issole • Carcès • Aups • the Chartreuse de la Verne
243km / 151mi; on the 7-8 h of road; Map Michelin 340. Walks along the way: 33, (34)
Due to the danger of forest fires, many of the roads in the Moors are closed to the public. This circuit uses the path accessible to motor vehicles.
Apart from the beauty of its forests of oak, pine and chestnut trees, the massif des Maures is fascinating for geological and historical reasons. These are among the oldest mountains in France, part of a large existing continent during the primary era, some 500 million years before our era. Today, this continent is located under the Mediterranean and all that remains of these land are the Maures and Estérel, the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands (as well as the Lérins, nearshore). More recent history has seen the massive as the first relay station in the invasion of southern France on 15 August 1944, when allied forces landed between Hyeres and St-Raphaël (see walk 7). Provence was released in 15 days. Two massifs rising almost side by side, the Maures and L'esterel could not be more different: where the Esterel is an uprising in red staircase, the Moors have a greener landscape of forests and trees.


•    D'Aups follow Draguignan, towards the South. After 500 m take left to Villecroze (D557).
•    Keep the cap on Flayosc, Draguignan on the D557. Crossing a river, you pass two large 'domains '. When the n560 arrives on the right of Salernes, keep the D557; then, 1.5 km further, go right on the D10 for Lorgues. We have to stop for awhile in Lorgues (22km), to walk in the pedestrian area; don’t miss the 18th century of St. Martin Church and the walls of the 14th century. The simplest way to leave Lorgues is to take the D10 southward. But for better visibility, exit westbound on the D562 towards Brignoles. At the roundabout, take the third exit (Le Muy, Les Arcs, Draguignan). At the next roundabout take the first exit, the D10 for Vidauban.
The road heads to the small chapel of Ste-Anne. After 3.5 km go right on the D48 Vidauban.
After crossing the river Argens, one arrives in Vidauban (34km). Leave Vidauban on the D48 to head towards La Garde-Freinet. The road passes under the railway and the motorway. The landscape alternates between vineyards and pine trees.
The roofs of red tile of La garde-freinet (53km) are dominated by a ruined fort of the Saracens. Let La garde-freinet taking the direction of Grimaud.
•    Leave Grimaud on the D14 to St Tropez but, 1.3 km after the cooperative Winery, turn right on the D61 (also at St-Tropez). At the D98, take the exit to St-Tropez. Now continue to follow St-Tropez, Mall. You pass the Mall on your left and proceed right after Luna Park on your right. Now follow St-Tropez and Ramatuelle, but carefully monitor your fork straight Gassin (D61; 2.5 km from the roundabout with the D98). The village of Gassin stands right front. As La Garde-Freinet and Grimaud, Gassin was perched high enough to locate a marine invader and far enough away from the coast to allow the inhabitants to take defensive measures. After 1 km, take the C1 to Gassin.
•    At a junction just outside of Gassin, continue straight on the C2 to Ramatuelle. Another fork almost immediately, turn left, following Ramatuelle. At the next intersection, continue straight for Ramatuelle. Since windmills continue in the direction of Ramatuelle. Ramatuelle (82km) is a charming village overlooking the vineyards, with a church of Romanesque style of the 17th century.
The road passes on the left of the centre. Follow "all directions" then la Croix-Valmer. Turn right just after the cemetery, then right again 2km further (D93).
Of La Croix-Valmer northward, the D559 and, back at the junction by the shopping centre turn left on the D98 for Hyères. Then take the D558 in Centre of Cogolin. So carefully watch your fork left for St-Maur and Collobrières (D48). Just after the area of St-Maur, with his little campanile, store you right to a view superb vineyards through to the twin towers of the ruins of the castle in Grimaud.
•    Turn left onto the Collobrières D14. Soon the deep valley of the Périer opens on the left, wrapped in a thick cloak of trees almost black. ('Moors' is derived from the Provençal mauro, a word applied to dark forest.) You pass above the hamlet of Capelude (not on map Michelin 340).
Back to the D14 and turn left. Notre-Dame-des-Anges dominates the landscape as a hovering spaceship. 3 km from Collobrières, take on the right the D39. The heavily wooded road winding uphill to forks pass, with a brief to La Sauvette on the right - the highest peak in the massif (Var) and 779 m / 2555 ft. Just before the pass, turn left for Notre-Dame-Des-Anges.
The old Priory of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, remodeled in the 19th century, was instead overshadowed by the huge nearby radio relay.
Back in the D14, turn right. Chestnut trees surround Collobrières (168km), a city which has for specialty chestnut and especially the "marrons glacés".
•    Let Collobrières on the D14 to Pierrefeu. This road crosses the broad Valley of Real Collobrier, with views of vineyards on a background of dark green trees. About 10 km from Collobrières, look for a sign on your right: Pierrefeu 2 km.
You pass through vineyards and orchards, cross the Real Collobrier and then cross the hamlet of La Tuilière. Just outside La Tuilière, start on the left (unmarked, but do not go right to the Davids). At the intersection, turn left (where the Portaniere is shown to the right). After crossing the Real Martin, turn right onto the D13 to Carnoules, Pignans. Slopes covered with oak trees of the massif des Maures now give way to the vineyards of the Valley of the Real Martin down on your right, dotted with fruit trees. Turn left onto the D13 to Carnoules. Pass under the highway, then stay on the right for Carnoules.
•    Carnoules (191km), pass under the railway and turn right on the D97, then turn left to downtown. The extremely narrow streets of the centre of the village follow Besse-Sur-Issole.
Cross the DN7, after the Abbey of le Thoronet. The DN7 was the old Via Aurelia linking the Italy in Arles. Continue on the D13 towards Carcès. Soon, the Lake of Carcès, very appreciated by fishermen is in sight.
Of Carcès, continue on the D13 in Cotignac. The road crosses the river Argens, then the Cassolle River. Enter in Cotignac, keep to the right (in all Directions). Then take the direction of Aups on the D22. After 5km turn right to Aups on the D560.
Sillans-la-Cascade is a charming tourist village. Sillans take left towards AUPS on the D22. Soon a straight stretch of the road offers views brilliant, to the walls of the Grand Canyon du Verdon gold. Turn left onto the D31, return to Aups (243km).

Tour 10: Ste-Victoire mountain

AUPs • Ste-Croix Lake • taverns • Rians • Bimont• Pourrières dam • Tholonet Aix-en-Provence
164km / 102mi; the 5-hour driving. Map Michelin 340.
The road over the Montagne des Ubacs is very narrow, but not dizzying.
Of all the painters and subjects related to the South of the France, it is Paul Cezanne that comes to mind first. Cezanne was born in Aix-en-Provence, and soon he was attracted by the art (at the expense of the right, as wanted it his father). He interrupted his studies to join Emile Zola, an old schoolmate, in Paris. Zola introduced him some of the leading impressionists, which inspired his earliest works. But he never felt 'at home' in Paris, nor to the Impressionist school. He returned to Aix and develops his own style (the development of geometric plans light to express the shape - a precursor to Cubism). Montagne Sainte-Victoire became an obsessive topic, and he painted it more than 50 times.


Leave Aups northbound on the D957 (Les Salles, Moustiers). 8 km from Aups, take the D49 left to Bauduen. All of a sudden, you arrive at the magnificent view of Ste-Croix Lake. Turn left onto the D71 for laugh.
•    Now, along the Lake of Ste - Croix, you will identify small belvedere at the Notre-Dame-de-Baudinard Summit on the Hill on the left, by a farm. When the road forks, do not cross the dam to round the Lake; stay left on the D71. After 2km, your road joins the D9: continue. You are in the heart of the "lavender Route. The road passes through the alleys of Baudinard-sur-Verdon, a pretty village. Continue straight on the D71.
After a ranch, turn left towards Montmeyan. Now the road is straight for approximately 7km, and there may be military vehicles. As the Plan de Canjuers, this area is used for army maneuvers. After crossing the D271, you arrive at a crossroads with the D30, turn right at Montmeyan. On the outskirts of Montmeyan, you join the D13: stay to the left for La Verdière, Rians, but only 400 m further on, turn left for Le Logis, taverns.
You pass the castle of the Eouviere turret with glazed roof tiles.
Maintain the direction of taverns on the D71. On the left, the castle of the Curniere stands in the middle of vineyards.
•    At the roundabout opposite the petrol station (your last chance for gasoline for more than 100 km) go right onto the D554 for Varages. Let taverns, then Varages continuing to follow Rians. At Esparron, continue straight on to Rians, from the façade rose faded of the old cooperative cellar. Just outside of Esparron, stop at the chapel of the cemetery of our Lady on the left, covered with Ivy and flanked by cypress trees.
Let Rians West of the D561 for you towards Jouques. The Canal de Provence is now on your right. After crossing the canal, you pass a beautiful farm, the Mas Saint-Maurin.
The approach of Jouques, turn left on the D11 to Vauvenargues, Sambuc. Bifurcation, stay left on the D11. At the junction of the D10, turn right. You pass above Vauvenargues.
7km after the Cabassols, turn left on the D10 for the dam of Bimont. This immense reservoir, fed by the Canal de Provence, provides water to 22 locations around Aix and even some districts of Marseille.
•    Let the dam and turn right on the D10. Beyond Vauvenargues and D11 of the mountain of the Ubacs, continue on the D10 for Claps.
About 4km further you pass below the Citadel on the left. Now, the peak of flies (1011 m/3320 ft), the highest peak on Ste-Victoire rises on the right.
Entering the Var, the road is numbered D223. At a junction outside the well-de-Rians, go right on the D23 to Pourrières. The mount Aurélien appears, the little brother of Ste-Victoire. Let Pourrières on the D623 to Puyloubier. You travel through the plain, where Ste-Victoire rises above a carpet of vines. It's a beautiful race late in the afternoon, when the low Sun highlights the nuances in the limestone sides of the mountain.
From Puyloubier take the direction of le Tholonet on the D17. Arriving at Tholonet (158km), there is ample parking in front of the Castle. Continue straight on to Aix. This road takes you directly in Aix-en-Provence (164km). Plan to spend a few days in this beautiful city, visit museums and spend the evening walk fountains in fountain along the Cours Mirabeau in the vaults of plane trees. Join the students of the University for an aperitif in one of the many cafes open air facing the elegant mansions from the 17th/18th century.

paddle boat in the Lake Sainte-Croix
Climbing tree
Pont de Galetas
Pont du Roc

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