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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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Tourist road circuits in Verdon Gorge Part 1

​The doors of the Verdon

It is high time, now, to discover these impressive gorges and enjoy a journey of wonder in the heart of the pastoral Symphony in emerald green, high place of World Tourism: the Verdon.
To discover the Gorge there is no route "à la carte". Alone, three cities give access to the circuit: these are Castellane (to the northeast), Moustiers Sainte-Marie (North-West) and Aiguines (to the South). These three cities are seen is awarded the title of "Gates of Verdon". Both sides opposed fiercely from side to side, overlooking the chasm gaping, and roads that allow a nearly comprehensive sites, for a journey loop of 130 kilometers. Between the doors East and West of the Gorge, only two structures facilitate the passage of one bank on the other, either a distance of 45 km:
•    in the pre-Canyon, Pont de Soleils - to the Pas du Galetas, at the outlet of the Lake of Ste - Croix,
•    the Pont de Galetas (still referred to as the new bridge of Aiguines).
Whatever may be the choice of your final destination, the discovery of the Gorges du Verdon, either by the right bank, either by the left bank, your memories will mark your stay, and this trip to another geological time, you provide to intense unforgettable moments. The course of the torrent with predominantly an East to West direction, hold only before your trip, the shore right des Gorges is North of the Verdon, while the left bank is South.

The great game of nature and harmony of spaces

Traditionally too, meeting with "the monster in the green dress" by the tourist roads is carried out from East to West, from Castellane to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, obligatory by the Lake of Sainte-Croix - du - Verdon and the cities on the edge of the blue expanse, reaching Aiguines and balconies of the Mescla by the Corniche Sublime.
The choice of this direction is / West is favoured by the fact to ride on the mountain throughout the ride side. Then, this allows visitors who depart relatively early, not having the Sun in the eyes on the way back, at the end of day. The 130 kilometers of this circuit requires a vigilant attention to driving on often narrow and winding roads. In addition, 60 km loop circuit around the Lake. Add to this distance, 23 km from mountain road by completing the "Route des Crêtes" loop at the start of La Palud-sur-Verdon.
The lookouts offer dramatic views on the Gorge and the surrounding mountains. Breaks made during these landscaped stops should bring you great caution.Indeed, a void which separates the fitted platform and the riverbed up to 700 meters, permanent attention is recommended. People who suffer from Vertigo, the young children and pets, must stand away from the vacuum, even protected by a safety barrier. Due to the presence of hikers on the trails of the gorges below, near the Verdon, stone-throwing are strictly prohibited. Compliance with certain safety instructions to avoid accidents in the Verdon often due to unthinking acts or unconscious. Respect Nature that still enjoys here a precarious balance. Do not pick flowers. Win your trash and empty packagings. Containers are provided for this purpose in the towns and villages of the Verdon. Above all, that these recommendations do not prevent you to prepare your trip, whose first goal is to take you to meet magical and haunting of this unique natural Monument.
These recommendations, some binding and more footprints of civic-mindedness and respect than anything else, you are in fact given to facilitate your stay. So you can fully enjoy each of your many escapades.
You need a good day to accomplish the journey described herein. Remaining of course, that if the visitor has two consecutive days, the course can be split into two stages, what is more rewarding and more rewarding for those who come in the Verdon Gorges for the first time. Our first step will naturally be Castellane, ideal starting point for the conquest of fabulous sites.

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De Castellane to Moustiers Sainte-Marie by the right bank of the Gorges du Verdon


The valiant Castellane, dominated by its rock limestone of 185 meters high, door of the Gorges du Verdon, located at 725 meters above sea level, is a milestone on the Route Napoleon» and «the road of lavender.
At the top of the limestone pavement which overlooks the city, stands the chapel of Notre Dame du Roc. A trail allows to reach this high point and enjoy the panorama opened on the pre-Canyon since the religious building that culminates in 903 metres above sea level. On the side opposite to the Chapel, can be found a very old place of settlement who founded Ducelia, then Salinae, then Petra Castellana, in turn, and over the centuries, and finally, Castellane. This Rock also served refuge for these often threatened populations in history, at the same time as the most important observation post.
The men of the first time, certainly during the Neolithic, occupied the balms open sky and shelters that dot this territory. In addition to a secure habitat, they found on places of natural elements favorable to their development: a course of capricious water but still in water, Verdon, cropland, and spaces to raise their herds mostly composed of sheep and goats, as well as many sources of water near their ancestral habitats.
Castellane is a very ancient city which is the sum of two strongholds, before even the Roman conquest: the Oppidum de Ducelia, built at the top of the Roc, and Salinae, built more towards the plain, formed Petra Castellana that would develop later defence walls.
Formerly famous due to sources of natural salt water which flowed on its territory, the town enjoyed some privileges on the part of the counts of Provence, but also the Kings of France.
She escaped the Gabelle, tax on salt, while having the faculty to tap this water without constraint. Before this state of facts, the authorities in the 17th century decided to permanently plug the sources!
The ruins of Petra Castellana are still well visible even if decades vegetation has decided to impose. Some remains of the Watchtower walls emerge from the imposing scrubland covering the site.
To access to the ruins of the ancient city, should take the path that leads to our Lady of the rock. The departure is set next to the rectory of the parish church. Will take 3/4 of hour to achieve. The current city comes alive around the place Marcel Sauvaire and the pedestrian street of mid-life. The parish church Saint-Victor proudly wears its bell tower from the 12th century. A tower to spur and machicolation, Tower Pentagonale, dating from the middle ages is visible North of the city. Approaching the building along the trail that leads to our Lady of the rock.

The heroine of Castellane

The city has its heroine in the person of Judith ANDRAU. This castellanaise who cultivated his fields one morning in the year 1586, was the first to see the troops coalition of the Baron of Germany-en-Provence and Duc de Lesdiguiere, favourable to the Huguenots, and eager to seize the city. Rioting populations, she allowed the city of Castellane to organize and operate a counter-attack that mit fleeing attackers this morning from January 31, 1586.
She did not, forget in passing, to pay them on the head from the top of the ramparts, a cauldron filled with boiling pitch, which gave to the 9th verse of the song dedicated to him this aspect:
This brave Judith, arming his courage by its value challenge full of rage enemy; "La Mothe is crushed under the blazing pitch of a heavy machine, then raising the voice, they say once: the sky exterminate us...".
Now, tribute him is paid all on 31 January, near the door of the Annunciation, during the 'Festival of the French", also called"feast of firecracker. (the Petardiers being the soldiers who were skipping bombs. On would appoint them today of artificers or the Blasters).

Castellane today

Sub-Prefecture of the Alpes de Haute - Provence, which now has 2,000 permanent residents, Castellane is today an important tourist centre, at the same time as a crossroads of great importance. Between a portion of the Riviera which stretches from Nice to Fréjus-St-Raphaël, via Grasse, Route Napoléon"is the obligatory towards Digne and the"Route of the Alps". The Verdon home tourist information agency has an office in Castellane and updates available to the public the information necessary for the proper conduct of a stay in the Verdon. Places to discover, include our Lady of the rock bases of the foundation dating back to the year 840; Saint-André-du-Roc Chapel lying among the ruins of Petra Castellana; the Church Saint-Victor, classified a historic Monument in 1944, and the parish church of the sacred heart; the chapel of our Lady of the Plan; the clock tower which is a typical monument of Castellane at the outlet of the rue Saint-Victor; the door of the Annunciation; the Pont Napoleon at the threshold of the rock, built on a Roman seat underwent significant tra - vaux restoration in 1408.Site since 1940, it is desor-but banned the movement. He is often mentioned as the bridge of the Roc; the convent of the Augustinians; the former residence of the Barons de Castellane; the former convent of the visitation; the fountain of lions, built in the middle ages, in the street of mid-life.
Finally, the plaque of the Rue Nationale, indicating that the Emperor Napoleon I well stopped at Castellane, on March 3, 1815, on his return from Elba, before returning to Paris. Not to mention, in this enumeration of picturesque and characteristic places, the provencal market which is held every Saturday morning.
Note, the unusual visit to the Museum of the sirens, site in the open air, to visit must be in the company of a guide or a head of Museum (home of Sirenia which opened its doors in 1998 and which is attached to the Reserve Naturelle Géologique).
Finally, for the anecdote, often talked of Castellane in recent years, because of the sect of the Mandarom led at the time by fire Gilbert BOURDIN, guru disappeared cosmoplanetaire in 1998, the Hospital of Grasse. The sect (or ashram, whichever you want to give it) is installed on the territory of the village of La Baume, North of Castellane, overhanging of the Castillon Lake, on the right bank.
Castellane deserves that it devotes an entire book, both the events and the history of this city were numerous and important for more than 3000 years.
This summary presentation should not make forget the prestigious past of this city on the banks of the Verdon, Coast 730 of the torrent, and it is not for nothing if it was named after the valiant Castellane! Its slogan is not the less illustrious, either, then it suggests: "Napoleon is stopped, why not you?
Castellane is without possible dispute, the starting point for all indicated from which to discover the Verdon and its famous Gorge, the right bank along the Departementale 952.
This will be more downstream in deck-chairs that visitors can, if they wish, change its circuit addressing Aiguines (Verdon Rive Gauche) and Moustiers-Ste-Marie (Verdon Rive Droite).

From Castellane to Pont-de-Soleils

Leaving the city in the direction of the Gorges du Verdon, the Departementale 952 runs along the course of the Green torrent on its right bank, and exceeds the neighbourhood of the Sadh, said in memory of salt water sources.
The ride is narrow and winding in places. He accompanied the meanders of the river entering the pre-Canyon site. This well-appointed track to reach the districts of La Colle. The dirt road continues (at the same time), and becomes less passable. It however allows to reach the hamlet of Villars-Brandis (1.004 m). Further, only GR 4 allows access to the hamlet abandoned Brandis (1.061 m).
The road then passes along the houses of Brans, address new landscapes. The geology of the site is very characteristic and significant erosion in limestone terrain.Strata, folds, fractures and geosynclinal are sometimes adjusted vertically, as the wave St. John overlooking the Glue of the same name (clue: natural barrier on the bed of a watercourse).
Like the bow of a ship launched in the conquest of the skies, this geological specimen is phenomenal. Atop this rocky outcrop seemingly emerge from Earth, nestles the Templar of St John chapel that we tackle a trail starting from the village of Chasteuil.
On the left, a recent book allows to cross the Verdon and get to the hamlet of Taloire. The old wooden bridge was demolished in the years 1982 to the benefit of a single arch concrete structure.
The story does not say that it is the result of a compromise when was envisaged the construction of a dam in the middle of this site, in the early 1980s. The folder was named 'Chasteuil dam project', as we will discover later in this book.


Taloire is a soulful village that seems to live by the rhythm of the seasons, apart from any hustle and bustle of modern times. A few typical houses provide a serene logis inhabitants. The Chapel and some buildings would be original Templar. Sheep, goats and horses graze freely in the large meadow which overlooks the village. Another field in the village, named strange land of Grail...
Overlooking the hamlet, stands the Pic Saint-etienne, which it is almost impossible to reach the Summit if there are no passages appropriate to access. This small mountain is at its peak remains dilapidated of the Templar of St. Stephen Chapel.
Since this enchanting site populated by a handful of residents (from diehard Verdonniens...»), headquarters of the Association of friends of Verdon natural Park Regional, a hiking trail to reach the Signal of Robion (1659 m), rightly considered the pyramid du Verdon. This very characteristic mountain is visible from many sites in the Gorges du Verdon, that it is located on the right bank, or, on the left bank of these. Returning to the pre-Canyon at the height of the Taloire bridge, on the right flank, gigantic dolomitic rocks overlook the parade. These are the famous and legendary Cadieres Brandis (cadieres: chairs, in Provençal). Colossal rocks resembling a strong natural Castle Peak at 1545 m. that we imagine arise from another time, with its towers, its columns, its ramparts. (a trail, departing from the Col of delegates, North of Castellane, allows to access the Brandis Cadieres).
Exceeding the Clues of Chasteuil, Verdon was unable to drop the rock barrier and bypasses the rocky outcrop. The route reaches at the intersection with the road leading to the village of Chasteuil (2.5 miles by D 2). Right, a first Campsite is placed on the banks of the Verdon at the place called the ballast.


The village of Chasteuil (848 m.), composed of confined housing to other, crossed by the Flouent Creek, dominated by another natural curiosity «the Chasteuil organs», offers of the dominant views over the surroundings. A handicraft was revived successfully to revitalize the village. A couple now dedicated for a handful of years to this economic activity of the village. Let us hope that others follow this valuable initiative. Nevertheless, the chapel which dates from the 12th century would deserve that was granted rehabilitation work if you want to keep and preserve it longer.
Before reaching Chasteuil, at a bend in the road, a trail passes through the Plateau of the Sueches, (or Plateau of fossils, yet written Suech), on the route of an old Roman road which leads directly to Rougon. The former village of Chasteuil, located northeast of the current, was destroyed in the 18th century by an earthquake. The epicenter in was probably located in Manosque.
A trail (on a portion of the GR 4) begins northeast of housing is to go to the ruins of Chasteuil and Brandis and the hamlet of Villars-Brandis. At the edge of the Verdon to the Clot of Aremus found a second camp. The two complexes are a perfect place to stay in the middle of a very pleasant.
Leaving behind us the Clues of Chasteuil, circuit discusses the site of the "watchers". The three demi-tunnels under which winds the Ribbon of asphalt, have faces of stone carved in the rock and seem to control the passage of the parade. One of the caryatids strangely resembles the Sphinx of the pyramids of Egypt. In the legend of Merlin, there is mention of the vigil that could be those of the Verdon. The caryatids are natural and have not undergone the intervention of the human hand. From the village of Chasteuil, if eyes are to the Southwest, you can see clearly both sides opposed the mountain facing and, declining, forming two giant faces stretched to 45 °.
The Verdon flows at the threshold of these walls was custom of naming "the mountains of Merlin". Past these natural curiosities, and a site that succeeded popular by the anglers, the journey manages to "bridge of Suns' Coast 652 of the Verdon. The Pont de Soleils is located 12 kilometres downstream of Castellane, and it will take 15 to 20 minutes by road to achieve.
It is at this point that the visitor can, if it wishes, permanently fasten the choice of its route shore right or left bank of the Gorge:
•    Verdon right bank, in the North, in the direction of Sublime Point and the Samson corridor; then La Palud-sur-Verdon, Moustiers-Ste-Marie and the villages of the Lake of Ste - Croix;
•    Verdon left bank, in the South, in the direction of Suns, Trigance, La Mescla, the bridge over the Artuby, horsemen, Aiguines by the Corniche Sublime, the Lake and the villages of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, Les Salles-sur-Verdon, Bauduen, and Baudinard.

Pont de Soleils to Moustiers Sainte-Marie

The tour continues on the right bank of the Verdon which prepares to enter the site of the Gorge. The rock becomes darker and the cliffs are close. The bends of the road leads to Carrejuan (or Carejuan, Carrajuan or even Carejuan which means the stone of John).
Successively found a campsite (opened in 1988), the confluence of waters Jabron-Verdon (Jabron, flowing downhill of Trigance, is one of the main of the Verdon River tributaries), a stone arch bridge double (refurbished during the winter of 1998) which crosses the torrent. Then there are the Carrejuan falls. Above the Rapids, release water kayaks takes place during the course of international competitions, such as those that take place annually, and usually the first Saturday and Sunday of the month of July. The origin of the Gorge was truly formed Carrejuan. It was from this site that Verdon will present his true face, that of a torrent furious, destructive but also Builder, by delivering his original creations to the audience that we are. The Rocky walls that overlook the road get tighter still and the road enters the Salpêtrière parade. The Verdon Meanwhile seems to accelerate his race to rush towards the corridor Samson. At the top of the parade stands the village in Rougon Eagle's nest, dominated by the ruins of his Templar fortin.
18 kilometers from Castellane, the visitor will discover one of the most fabulous views offered on the Gorge. The route is air. It dominates the whole of the Salpêtrière parade that Verdon illuminates green waters.
Before the Gloige Tunnel, we guess, just below, right, Pont Romain de Tusset including the single arch spans blithely Emerald torrent.
This book allows hikers to the cliffs of Encastel, on the left bank, by a path. A bridge out of the past that supports two thousand years of history of the region of the Gorges of the Verdon. Probably, originates, mule, that time forgot and access which makes now the joy of hikers. In the climb that leads to the tunnel of Gloige, a French of insurance mutual company, realized, now a few years ago an advertising sequence that could be seen on the small screen, about a truck with a loading above normal, crates of vegetables perched just above, coming against the roof of the building. After crossing the tunnel, both directions offer excursionists:
•    by continuing straight, the path leads to the Sublime Point,
•    taking the small road which starts on the left the motorist joined the edge the Emerald torrent that thunders of the ardour of its waters. The gigantic cliffs rise above the contemplative faces.

The Samson corridor

Taking the D 236 visitor arrives directly at the entrance of the corridor Samson. 10 meters, little more, separate the two opposing sides. The cliffs are so close together that all everyone has the strange feeling to be able to touch the tip of your fingers.
The Verdon is facing a real bottleneck to which he rushes. A huge boulder weighing hundreds of tons ran aground in the middle of the course of the River: the Solitaire.
Once, a (hike) gateway was based on this huge rock and allowed to pass from the right bank on the left bank to extend the route. Access on the left bank has been invaded by vegetation. Today, kayakers will bypass to continue their descent of the waters. Only remaining gateway used by the GR 4, on the right bank, which crosses the Creek of the leases (pronounced baou) who comes to mixing its waters in the Verdon, below the car park open. At the top of the bridge two trails offer opposite directions: continuing to the right, the marked trail leads to La Palud-sur-Verdon. in pursuing all right, the hiker is preparing to perform the most famous Gorge Trail: trail Martel.
The path of reference for hikers from around the world. This is from the Samson corridor that Edouard Alfred MARTEL, August 11, 1905, in the morning, was lunging with his team in total exploration of Gorges and the Canyon du Verdon, aboard three boats made of wood and canvas... Quaking the contemporary kayakers!
If you have taken care to bring a flashlight, you can still perform a few steps on "the Martel" who borrows at the beginning of route tunnels that burrow under the mountain from side to side.
A stop is recommended near the "Pigeons balm", high natural cave more than 60 metres overlooking the Verdon. This huge arch was dug by the waters of the Emerald torrent over the millennia. It embodies and represents a characteristic place of the Gorges.
From the corridor Samson, and on a distance of 21 kilometres, Verdon will remain prisoner of the cliffs to the open air, to the Pas du Galetas. It is also the route most fascinating to which it is possible to attend.

The Point sublime

Back on the departmental 952, it then reached the site from Sublime Point. First great stop of the circuit that should be missed under any circumstances! It was really difficult to find an another qualifier both vision that can have site is poignant, startling. A panorama of breathtaking. Landscaped belvedere which juts like the bow of a ship above the Verdon, a barrier protects a vacuum of more than 300 metres this high point of the shores of the Emerald torrent. The entrance to the corridor Samson overview here overhanging is Dante. The Hall owes its name to the immense formed Caryatid with a round head, two arms glued to the body, and both legs slightly folded on themselves. The whole gives the impression that the figure will depart the cliffs. 'Samson' stands on the left bank, on the vertical wall of the huge limestone Encastel pad, at the level of the market for access to the tunnel, but at a much higher height. Difficult to ignore, the subject in the greyish rock measures nearly 40 meters high...
Note that this sculpture was not conducted by the hand of man and it is a natural masterpiece. Some say that behind Samson, stands Dalila. Actually, with a little imagination, an other Caryatid, appearing to be draped a long and interminable skirt, unfolds more down the hallway, still on the left, at the same height as the first Caryatid, slightly indented.
The hotel-restaurant from Sublime Point is a place much frequented on the circuit of Gorges. The story of the journey of MARTEL in 1905 is available to the public. It must be consulted on-site, there is no reproduction.
The stele, erected in memory of verdonniens who accompanied Martel in his mad expedition, stands on the highest Knoll from Sublime Point. It has an impressive Medal of Isidore BLANC. A discovery trail has been built on the site of Sublime Point.
Given the tens of thousands of visitors who travel each year to admire the gaping flaw that opens before them, there are a quantity of drailles that scatter in all directions but that lead all or almost at the same point. Vigilance is rule, because apart from the landscaped panorama and protected by barricades, the other paths lead to a vacuum of 300 metres. It should be noted the greatest caution, especially in the company of children or pets unattended. Here, it should be noted that André MONNIER of Rougon mit site from Sublime Point value. Guide to the Verdon, he was also at the origin of modern tourism in the country of the Verdon.


The Sublime Point, D 17 led by a steep and winding road in the village of Rougon. Borrow it stands to be aboard an airplane. Landscapes seem to stand out, and taking of the height, the impression of flying at the top of the mountains is real. Rougon, camped on the edge of the vacuum on a rocky promontory at an altitude of 1900 metres offers breathtaking panoramas across the Gorge.
Geographer and humanist French Elysée RECLUS, seized by the vastness of the show before him couldn't help this now famous phrase: "-it is hardly more notable example on Earth of giant taps carried out by water over thousands of years...". It is true that when you discover this panorama, all the ingredients came together for a formidable outdoors geology course! The city has retained its character typically Provençal with its narrow streets, its clay-tiled roofs, and its houses clustered around the plot.
The remains of a bunker Templar of the 12th century, which can be accessed by a steep road, dominate the town sage. From the ruins, a vision is remarkable on the Plans of Provence, arrested just north of the village by the bar of Catalans (1333 m.) and crossed by a high voltage line cables.
Has a Rougon, was once a tradition today disappeared which was called "the return of the Eagle. This symbolic event held usually at the end of the winter (in February), and was to release a Golden Eagle (sometimes a pair of Eagles), so that it then nestled in the mountains of the Verdon. The Eagle fled the Verdon, it is perhaps also, and why, this custom died out!
Rougon is dominated by the plateaus of Sueches (or Suech, plateau of fossils) and rules, of which the highest point stands at 1447 metres, forming of high mountain pastures on which the herds of sheep, graze nearly six months of the year to more than 1,000 meters above sea level, out of any pollution, in a preserved environment.
The Rougonnais were the precursors of the explorations in the Verdon, some of them having accompanied by e. A. MARTEL in his crazy adventure in August 1905. Include in their ranks, Camus, AUDIBERT, HONORAT, COUPPEY, and Isidore BLANC, teacher in Rougon, who did not hesitate to unleash its white chalk to sign his presence in the Canyon du Verdon.
Many hiking trails leave from Rougon: Chanier Mourre, Suns, the plateau of fossils (Suech) bridge, and by the GR 4 and the peaks are reached in Chasteuil.
Taking over the course of the route, departing from Rougon and Sublime Point, the road starts a slight descent to achieve in the depression of Pierre Grosse. To the right of the Grey Ribbon, a few buildings occupy the plateau. Among them are the building of Falcon of Father Guy GILBERT, that the press and the media did not hesitate to baptize the parish priest of the punks. The farm welcomes young offenders come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Plan and education which their are given in the open air to perform a successful reintegration.
Guy Gilbert dream of being able to achieve another ambition: build in the coming years, on a promontory near the farm, an interfaith space of 300 m2 bringing together the four main religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The architectural project is the work of Béatrice MARTINET.
Passing off the coast of a ranch, near which horses rest in the meantime their riders, the road rises to La Palud-sur-Verdon, 10 km after the Sublime Point.


Built on a vast plateau, at an altitude of 960 metres, dominated by k. Mount Baker (1,560 m.), climatic health resort and tourist esti-vale, the village of La Palud-sur-Verdon is rightly, the "Centre des Gorges du Verdon". Craft village, seat of the Bureau des Guides of the Verdon. Jean-François Bettus, attendant D.E., has installed more than 25 years and its privileged guests to discover the trails he only the secret. He shares with visitors, his sincere and true love of the Verdon. The Castle (end 17th), has been renovated from 1988. It once belonged to the Lords of places, the most famous of which was Jean De La PALUD. Left more or less abandoned since the Revolution, the building was very dilapidated before its recent restoration.
The castle of La Palud was initially host an eco-Museum of the Verdon. Now will create the Environment House to inform the public about the Gorge in general and present it in one purely tourist another aspect. This achievement should see the day soon under the leadership of P.N.R Verdon. And, to welcome in the year 2000 a beautiful exhibition on the water in general and the underground, a bit in line and in the spirit of Martel. This company can only testify beneficially of the heritage of the countries of the Verdon and highlight the strengths of this region.
The Church of La Palud supports a Romanesque Bell Tower from the 11th century and its architecture looks like, in more modest, in the Basilica of Saint-Maximin (Var). Once very prosperous, campaigns were more populated with, among the occupational categories that could meet, many potters. PEISSELON, was the last La Palud Potter who has maintained an oven. It was grandfather (mother's side) of Georges GIBELIN who, with Dr. Gilbert BLANC (himself grandson of Isidore Blanc, who accompanied Martel in 1905) uncovered various bones of the Palaeolithic period North of the village. The village was once very prosperous but this prevented not like other cities of this country to hit the rural exodus of the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.
Now essential activity is sheep farming, cultivation of herbal fragrance (Lavender), and the local production of cheeses. Let us hope that the European directives do not put a brake by imposing a new compliance rules for-truction of such cheeses made from milk produced on the spot. Recreation (hiking, climbing, green tourism) tourism is one of the brightest among the new activities. It is on the site of La Palud-sur-Verdon had been identified one of the oldest traces of this region stands Gorges, Neolithic,-6.000 to-2,500 years.
Nowadays, the village of La Palud turned to tourism activities by offering visitors to places of quality hospitality: restaurants, hotels, campsites, farm holidays, farm...
Ensuring its reputation as Centre des Gorges, the village is a basis for recreation for many outdoor sporting activities: horse riding and excursions to horse, whitewater, mountain biking, climbing, canyoning, Rafting-rodeo, hiking...


They are also the Paluards (inhabitants of La Palud-sur-Verdon) who helped e. A. MARTEL in his expedition by providing in addition to their experience of places, food, ropes and significant logistical support. La Palud became over the years 'Mecca' climbers and the rallying point for all climbers of the world. Nothing in the world they would not change of homeport! The proximity of the famous and prestigious cliffs of the stopovers have contributed to this reputation. The camp Bourbon", at the Western exit of the village, is considered to be the most popular climbers camp.
Many hiking trails were starting point for La Palud, in the direction of the Jas of Aire (jas: the bergerie in Provençal), collar Barris, Baker, or the hamlet of Châteauneuf-les-Moustiers.
In the centre of La Palud, D 123 allows to reach in the North, after 7 kilometres and crossed the vast Alpine plateau of the Col de Croix de Châteauneuf, the ruins of Châteauneuf-les-Moustiers village. This hamlet, attached to the municipality of La Palud-sur-Verdon, retains its cemetery, whose graves are still maintained by the families of the deceased buried in the enclosure, identified high grey stone. Once very prosperous, the village fell victim to the massive rural exodus, but above all, the departure of his children during the 1st World War. This is certainly the village of Gorges region which has paid the heaviest price in this conflict. The village is literally emptied of its inhabitants. Sign of the times, and vandalism, I've known houses still in good condition, as well as the Church of the village, in the 1980s, who was still wearing its bell tower and bells. Today, these buildings are really hard to see. Vegetation resumes its rights. The communal bread oven which had been spared, now merges with Brambles...Life returns, only and partially, when a shepherd, his dog and his flock of sheep come and invest temporarily places. Sometimes, a couple of Eagles draws in the air from wide circles before mounting even higher than the clouds. Northwest of Châteauneuf-les-Moustiers, is the markup that indicates the path of the Templar Notre Dame du Roc Chapel (not to be confused with the chapelle Notre Dame du Roc de Castellane). One can reach this small building, built in a large balm trapped under the cliff, walking about 15 minutes on a stretch of an old Roman road.
I would suggest that this historic building is restored by the will of a public or private entity, and that access to this Chapel be ordered to avoid any degradation that would prove fatal. It nevertheless emerges from the site of Châteauneuf, calmness and an extreme solemnity. A loan of nostalgia, and although curiously feeling be, touched down on this village asleep in its abandonment.
From La Palud-sur-Verdon is undertaking the tourist circuit of the "Route des Crêtes", air and masterful, which leads to the site of Trescaires, the stopovers, and the cottage of the Maline.
The Maline is originally hiking trails which lead to the bottom of the gorges, and in particular those of the Martel Trail and the Imbut.

The route des crêtes

To perform in good conditions this tour loop of 23 km / D 23, we strongly recommend to address "in the sense of a clockwise", departing from the Valdenay, i.e. from the peaks Hotel which is located 1 km before reaching La Palud, at the crossing of two roads D 952 and D 23coming from Castellane or Sublime Point.
In the opposite direction, La Palud-sur-Verdon at La Maline, the road is closed to traffic between the Maline Chalet and the viewpoint of the stopovers. Note as well that this circuit is forbidden to traffic, between the stopovers and the Maline, from November 15 to April 15 (sometimes as early as October 15 according to the climatic conditions of the time). The construction of the Route des Crêtes has proceeded in several stages between 1948 and 1972, on the trail of a pre-existing, open trail at the beginning of the 20th century by the Touring Club de France disappeared, replaced by the F.C.A., or Club Alpin French.
Sixteen major points of view have been constructed to allow visitors a vision global, majestic and grandiose sites. Huge panoramas, to loss of views of the mountains and massifs of the Verdon, and if the Mistral invites himself, only of 50 kilometres as the crow flies, the Mediterranean Sea, remote offers its blue reflections.
Are successive viewpoints of Trescaires of the Arif of the stopovers of the tooth surface pitch the Baou, Linden, of the throat of Tosks, of Eycharme, coolers, of Tosks, Maline, of Mann, of Styx, L'imbut, Gaston Armanet and, finally, of the Baoucher. The name of this last belvedere baptism may seem odd since it was not a place name, but that of a physical person, simply by the fact that Gaston ARMANET was one of the engineers who participated actively in the construction of the Route des Crêtes.
Other assigned designations come from places or features of terrain, on which, and above which, the panoramic road schemes sometimes have been made. 23 kilometres from a mountain road, sinuous and tortuous, built on the side of the cliffs, which deserve a vigilant attention on the part of motorists. Landscaped views provide powerful eyes on this geological evidence, while 800 metres below, at the bottom of the gorge, the Verdon continues at the threshold of the Rocky bars.Need to count two hours if you want to fully appreciate the performances on this routes, and take the time to enjoy the encounters with these places.

Belvedere in belvedere to admire the Verdon

To synthesize the account of this journey, here's the brief description of the Route des Crêtes, belvedere after belvedere, in the direction indicated at the start of the Valdenay:

Site of the Trescaires

Site of the Trescaires, the Arif, and the stopovers: after going through the depression of the large field of la Palud, the course rises in the Jas of area composed mostly of softwood. Lookouts, beautiful views beads on the South side of the parade of the corridor Samson, the villages of Rougon and La Palud-sur-Verdon;the Signal of Barbin (1561 m.), Monts de Chanier Mourre (1930 m) to the North, and the Chiran (1.905 m., which supports at the top an Astronomical Observatory).At the bottom of the Gorge, near the Verdon, on the left bank, a natural curiosity, the towers of the Trescaires stand (trescaires: the three sides, or, the three valleys, those of Encastel, stopovers and Rancoumas).
These huge dolomitic rocks amounting to more than 40 metres above the course of the Green torrent resemble Cambodian pagodas. The Freddie and the stops, it is here that climbers face walls amazingly smooth and steep to the famous Cliff of l ' Escalès (or Escalez). More than 450 meters of absolute verticality overhanging of the course of the Verdon... Tracks, with the number 2000, of which 450 are equipped, are amazing nicknames for beginners: «Mangostin Scathophaga», «Armoiraprods», «Toujourjamé», «Miskatonic», «Pichnibul», «Pitoncondrope»...
The cliffs of the stops, this is a Mecca for climbers from around the world! If it is the British who were the precursors of the climbs on these rocks towering in the early 1960s, is a team of five climbers from the French Alpine Club (BODIN, CORDIER, LOTHÁRD, MOCH, and RICHARD) who, in August 1968 (from 16 to 24), opened the first way real climbing in the wall of the Duke. Share with them the great thrill of vacuum... Thrill you definitely met! The brothers GORGEON (from La Palud), Patrick BERHAULT, Jean Claude DROYER, Françoise QUINTIN, Simone BADIER and Patrick EDLINGER, have somehow popularized these cliffs by discover the world. Of other climbers, also among the most experienced, have embarked on vertical exploration cliffs obnoxiously smooth and limestone of the stopovers.
For the anecdote, a few years ago, viewers could hear this reflection during a television report of climbers French who climbed a way in the Rockies (in the United States) when one of them exclaimed: "-they did not need to come so far, we had what was needed in the Verdon...".(sic). Dear travel... Like what! There, it is not always useful to cross the Atlantic from East to West... Already, in the middle-ages, the Lord de Trigance wanting to attack one of La Palud, by surprise, built ladders and wooden railway sleepers of boxwood, planted in the rock (Carelles) to cross the wall limestone at its lowest point, and go and make war against its neighbour. The name has remained as the escal root means cross and gave stopovers (in Provençal: scales) but also, stairs, climbing, climbers!
In the years 1985, the acrobats-voltigeurs, and other stunt performers, took the cliffs of the stopovers as a springboard, to throw himself into the void, and landing parachute deep gorges, near the Martel trail. Thus, one of the most famous was the late Alain PRIEUR who, launched at full throttle on his motorcycle, flew a prodigious leap above the gaping for to land smoothly near the Trescaires fault 700 metres downhill from the belvedere. Recently, in the summer 1999, it was the turn of Stuntman Jacques MALNUIT (the lining of James Bond) soar above the gaping chasm, with for one parade to his dizzying downfall as a paraglider.Against these views, stand on the opposite left bank, the drop of Rancoumas, also, known as the cliffs of Irouelle, dotted with numerous balms open to the sky.The Baou of the OWL, characteristic natural Caryatid, is none other than the Summit of the rocky spur of Rancoumas. A hiking trail leads there.
This walk can be taken from the corridor Samson, either from the left bank, at the start of the hamlet of St-sector (again spelled St-Maimes or St-Maime, i.e., in Provençal, St-Maxime).

Belvedere of the tooth of Air, the the Baou and the Linden

Viewpoints of the tooth of area, the the Baou and the Linden: beautiful and surprising views are offered from the tooth of area (area: wood, forest) while the road will reach an altitude of 1300 metres.
Balms Feres Parade (feres: proud, wild, boorish men) in which runs the Verdon, the Brei's Signal (1.279 Mr.), the sites of La Mescla, Fayet, the great Plan of Canjuers, and the secondary of the Artuby Canyon reveal themselves in turn on the opposite shore, leaving guess off the Massifs of Maures and Estérel.
Point of view the pitch of the Baou is mentioned under the name of the belvedere of the Abauc No. His original name is the pitch of the Baou. It is from here that the Mediterranean is clearly visible when the weather is favourable. Occasionally found some wild goats, lost, or escaped from their pens a long time ago.
The belvedere of lime is the highest of all with a high point at 1300 metres. The horizons are broad and generous to the South, from East to West between the Sublime Point and the cottage of the Maline leaning on the edge of the gaping chasm that dominates the Verdon. Pretend to deal with the old building of the T.C.F., on the left bank, you can see the hotel from the Grand Canyon, perched on the fact of the Falaise des Cavaliers, starting point of the famous Gorge Trail, the trail of the Imbut.
The road, reached its highest point, will now back down with a nearby slope of 15% inclination.

Viewpoints the Groge of Tosks, Eycharmes, coolers and Tosks

The circuit takes two tunnels to live through the limestone rock. Panoramas open Plan de Canjuers, the Artuby secondary Canyon, the site of La Mescla, the Tunnels de Fayet, the Falaise des Cavaliers, the bridge over the Artuby and air site of La Maline, opening to the West, the Plateau des Amandiers. Under the Gorges of Tosks, began the parade of the Baume aux boeufs (that one discovers from the Martel trail), and extends up to the close of riders. Along the Emerald torrent.
Below the point of view of coolers, detaches, lonely in the middle of a large formerly cultivated lawn, the sheepfold of Tosks. Coolers come from what elders kept in huge circular wells more than 10 meters in diameter, height from the ground, ice for the year. The manufacturing process was very rudimentary, but worked. The ice was recovered in winter, laid on leaves and straw, and are thus alternated ice-sheets and straw up to the attic to the roof. Walls, thickness exceeding one metre could thereby retain the ice that was consumed during the hot periods of the year. The panoramas are air, and cliffs seem so close by places that the course of the Verdon sometimes escapes from the looks.

Viewpoints of the Mechelen, the Mann and the Styx

These parks balcony cars dominate the Canyon du Verdon area and to locate trails Martel and the Imbut who take randon-coach at the bottom of the Gorge.The Chalet of Mechelen, also known as La Maline, was built by the Touring Club of France in 1928 during the creation of the first path Gorges, baptized in 1930 the Martel trail. Gîte de La Maline is now managed by the Club Alpin French and represents the point of departure or arrival according to the meaning given to hiking, hiking routes to the course of the Emerald torrent. It takes 3/4 minimum walk to access near the banks of the River (with the 4 GR). The viewpoint of Mann (the bad Ford) is built at the base of the ledge of the Mann below, lying on the bed of the Verdon (vire: elbow, turn on the bed of a river). It goes the same for the river Styx, renowned place of the gorges, whose site was baptized by Martel when he explored the canyon in 1905.
Since these latest viewpoints, it is easy to see that even when the Sun is at its peak, in June, its light rays are struggling to reach the bottom of the abyss.
Some places, near the Verdon, receive annually only a very small amount of light. It is said to be fresh in the background, even in the heart of the summer.Therefore, also, this inversion of plant species that occupy the Gorges.
The particular climate phenomenon recurs at several other sites in the canyon and will be developed in a later chapter, the explanation of this phenomenon.

Viewpoints the Imbut, Armanet and the Baucher

The mountains were closer and the road is to the verticality of the abyss. Striking panoramas are worn in the direction of the Canyon and the meander of the Verdon. The cliffs of both banks are narrowing. Their curves are so regular that they are imbriqueraient to each other if they joined. Two departments are facing and their territorial limits are minute, separated only by the Emerald torrent.
Although the course of the Verdon is located 400 metres below, dull and incessant hum rises along the steep limestone walls.
From the viewpoint of the Imbut we guess at the bottom, the Chaos of the Imbut which marks the end of the Gorge, the trail area, and actually announces the Canyon area.
The route now leaves the vertiginous chasm and the gaping along the ravine of Mortmain, dominated by a rocky outcrop supporting the remains of a very ancient Ligurian habitat.
A point of the circuit share a route in balcony, the trail of the Bastidon (or Mayreste trail), which overlooks the Canyon area. In the thalweg of Mortmain, flowed and flows intermittently, a spring, whose waters end up in cascade, at the bottom of the Canyon, near the divine site of non less famous Emerald Vault.
A few detours on the Route des Crêtes and the circuit leads to the village of La Palud-sur-Verdon, stretching at the threshold of the Signal of Barbin.

Saint-Pancrace - Digne
Bléone Valley - Digne

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