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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 2

​La Palud-sur-Verdon to Moustiers Sainte-Marie

Leaving the site of La Palud, the tour extends West to the belvedere of the Col of Ayen (1032 m) which will still provide stunning panoramas beads on the Canyon and the opposing banks of the Verdon. The road is winding and crosses Lavender fields, near the farm cash, close to the point of view of Ayen. The vegetation is dense and green. It is not uncommon to meet sheep and a few goats that graze in the green meadows. The road along the site of high, and then the bass Gabrijela (or Grau), and the Relais des Balcons offers the famous Gorges honey. In regularly maintained hives are high of bees which promote the development of this tantalizing craft.
On the left bank opposite, emerges the long journey of the Corniche Sublime, drawn at the drop of the precipice. 7 km downstream from La Palud, a brief stopover will perform at the Mayreste viewpoint (written Maireste on some maps) which overlooks the canyon. Site of the Verdon is here at its most narrow point gorges, and it tries well to touch fingertips the cliffs of the opposite bank so they seem so close! Close campaigns, some fields are covered with lavender and thyme. This is Mayreste what the trail of the Bastidon that takes its starting point north of La Palud, near the ravine of Mortmain. Below from the point of view on countryside bottom stands Mayreste farms. The building on the edge of the abyss (sometimes called the Mayreste domain) is an old original Templar construction. Now, an independent breeder occupies it. Later, at the pass of the olive tree (711 m), sign he had formerly cultivated nearby olive trees, the road declines and surrounding vegetation gives way to new species. It is also envisaged to symbolically replant an olive tree at the pass that bears this name, a ceremony also symbolic in the year 2000.
Since the collar of the olive tree car park, Mayreste trail to down at the bottom, near the banks of the Verdon, in addressing the water Street site.
At the bottom, between the two banks, a gateway once allowed to cross the Verdon, gateway Mayreste, and extend a trail on the left bank. This book has disappeared, probably swept away by a flood in the years 1975, and there are more now than a stack of the stone bridge which arises out of the bed of the Emerald River.

The cascade of Saint-Maurin

Brightness which now floods the site is more frank, cliffs depart and the environment seems more airy. Opens the parade du Galetas, marked his term by Pas du Galetas, tight and narrow place after which was built the new bridge of Aiguines, still called the Pont du Galetas.
Any visitor will be surprised to see on the riverbed green boats and pedal boats engaged in the past.
At the bend of a turn, any Crystal waterfall lets out a stream of fresh and translucent beads: the Cascade de Saint-Maurin. Profile, Tuff stone and the appearance due to the antics of the rock draw a face whose traits are Greeks or Persians.
This fall is the result of multiple sources which are formed on the Plateau of Baker and that lead to the big day to offer us this refreshing curiosity. St-Maurin waters continue their mad dash in the direction of the Verdon that they will join downstream Galetas parade. Pedal boat, or by boat, since the Lac de Sainte-Croix, it is easy to be approached. It will then become the secondary Cascade of St-Maurin. On the opposite bank, in the South, the ridges of les cretes de vernis varnish seems hack the blue sky both their tops seem to be chiseled and sharp.
A steep path left of the fall provides access to the upper caves of St-Maurin. These troglodytes, carved in the tufa, habitats have provided refuge to the monks of Moustiers Ste. Marie, in the 8th century of our era. It is also said that the Templars would have occupied a time. What is certain, is that these remnants of the past, once still suffer damage and the ravages caused by irresponsible visitors in need of destruction.
These caves, in precarious habitat by humans since the dawn of time, turn over the years in veri-tables public dustbins Gorges, and tuff stones which com - pose the walls are increasingly prey to unconscious bipedal predators, this prestigious site inherited from the past.

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The Summit's full show

Near Cascade de St-Maurin, sports trail allows to reach in height, the view full Summit which dominates all the lower gorge and Canyon, between the sites of Mortmain and the Garret. And more in the distance, the Lake of Ste-Croix, Aiguines, cities on the edge of the Lake and the lavender, Valensole Plateau.
The cliffs of Barbin and beards outrageously dominated the road and clientele overhang parade all, huge open salient cirque on the sky.
In the street of the water parade, the waters of the Lake of Ste-Croix back in the canyon. The Verdon just interfere in order to accentuate the tones of blue and green. Belvedere Galetas, the last of this road on the right bank of the Gorges du Verdon, dominates the Lake of Ste-Croix-du-Verdon geusement outra.
Very large panoramas are offered in a direction of Aiguines, Valensole, the Prealps of Digne, and Mont Ventoux. The foothills of the Luberon stand on the horizon.
On the left bank, huge spur limestone of the Garret, by-sown gigantic balms, such a huge wave which openly dominates the past, launched the assault of the azure of the Provençal sky.
Garret would be from the name of a tribe leader, Gauls, which bore the name of Galata, or even Galeteas, who had established his camp in these places.
These brave warriors Gauls had good reason to establish their huts in this area because many benefits available to them. For water, they took advantage of that taken from the Verdon, or cascade of St-maurin; their herds could Frolic freely in the great plain of rooms (the Lake being at this time far exist!); in front of them, they had a vast depression that they dominated outrageously and, in case of danger, these last pou-could take refuge in the balms of the cliffs and find a safe refuge. They were really not crazy these Gauls...
The road that we borrow now was to be originally a simple sente borrowed by shepherds. To the Galetas ends the territory that we have used to call "Gorges du Verdon". Later, lies in the Lake of St. croix and begins the region of Bas-Verdon, with first site, the low Quinson Gorges and Baudinard. The forest crossed so far was that of the Gorges du Verdon. She became now, the forest of Mount Denier.
The road the right bank route ends at Carrefour St-Clair, now leaving Castellane more than 45 kilometers behind us.
The crossing allows two new directorates:
•    right: by D 952, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, city of Faience (Art, and the villages of Riez, Valensole, Puimoisson;
•    left: by D 957, the Lake of Ste - Croix - du - Verdon and the villages on the shores, Les Salles-sur-Verdon, Bauduen-surVerdon, Baudinard-de-Verdon, and finally Aiguines and then the left bank by the Corniche Sublime (or still in the direction of the Haut-Var).


Many olive trees along the road that leads to this quoted igieuse prest which resembles a Nativity scene village. Less than 700 meters above sea level, many species of the Mediterranean flora thrive here freely.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is the international capital of the earthenware of Art, at the same time that it belongs to the prestigious club "most beautiful villages of France", huddled at 630 metres above sea level, the provencal town is laid at the feet of two huge limestone rocks. Gateway to the Gorges du Verdon, to the West, seat of administration of the Regional Natural Park of Verdon since its inception in March 1997, Moustiers is a city that has charm and character. The vision of a string bearing in its centre an ouvrière star stretched between the mountains subjugates over a host of the site.
The city of potters named prestigious Monasterium (Monastery), thanks to the Bishop of Riez, Maxime, who in 432 a.d. decided to install at this point a large colony of monks from the Abbey of Lérins. The Lérins Abbey is an imposing monastery still in operation on the island of Lérins, off the coast of Cannes, in the Alpes-Maritimes.
The typical Provencal town is composed of two separate main areas by the ravine our Lady at the bottom of which rushes bouncing the Mayor River.
The history of the city was eventful and episodes of wars, famines, of invasions, were most numerous between the 6th and the 10th centuries. Of the 'naughty' (looters) performed many abuses. They were not the only ones because in turn followed the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths, the Franks, the Lombards, the Celts, Saxons, the Saracens, the Moors... From the 12th century, the Knights Templar will be well represented at Moustiers, and strengthen by helping the religious presence of the monks. The city will retain this religious prosperity until around the 15th century, to which the new activity of tra-work art fine soil, i.e. pottery, will take precedence over the activities. Which did not prevent the city to remain over the centuries a religious centre with the edition of many pilgrimages, supported by another Bishop of Riez, Clement, who granted in 1335 "his favors and support" to the city. It is used to say that "Moustiers was the Lourdes of his time".
One story even told that in the year 1669, 30,000 pilgrims would come in one day to pray at Moustiers. The religious fervour is such, at that time, pilgrims make number to pray to our Lady of rocks, or even our ladies of mountains, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The building which overlooks the ravine is known as Notre Dame de Beauvoir.
The term Sainte-Marie, in honour of the Virgin Mary, was hung on the behalf of Moustiers as early as the 15th century. The Virgin was a very important place, also for the Templars they honoured in their prayers.

The chain of Moustiers

What may surprise by visiting Moustiers-Ste-Marie, is the presence of a huge chain is tensioned between the mountains, above the roofs of houses and the chapel nestled in the hollow of the rock walls. Another famous Provencal city. Our Lady de Beauvoir is enhanced with a huge collar called the string of Crusader Blacas of Aups.
The origin and the presence of this chain prompted good captions. All retained only one, that of Félibre Frédéric MISTRAL (in "Calendal', 1885), which gives us this:".. .the cross Duke of Blacas, Blacas of Aups, prisoner of the Saracens in the Holy land during the sixth crusade (in the 13th century) fit the background of his Dungeon, this vow to our Lady of rocks... "
«At your Virgin feet (A ti ped Virgin Mario.
I will suspend my string my penjarai cadeno
If ever I return Se jamai turns may
At Moustiers in my homeland... ". A Moustiers dins my patrio...)
Released, returning to his homeland moustierenne, our Crusader kept his promise, he handed a string between the mountains...
This achievement fell several times in the ravine, but she was always put in its place. Several stars have followed since the 13th century. Destroyed or broken, removed by the revolutionaries in 1792, the avant-avant-last was restored in 1882 by J. MARTIN, which is climbed his initials and the date of his replacement.The chain was 227 meters long and weighed 400 kilos.
The star was meanwhile ten lines, 80 centimeters in diameter and weighed 14 pounds. Falling once again, a new star was carried out in nickel by Aimé BOURJAC, the last blacksmith of the city and replacing on August 18, 1957, 250 metres overlooking the ravine Notre Dame. Consequence of the wear of time and weather of winter 1994/95, the chain broke again on 27 April 1995.
The ironworker HONNORAT, Puimoisson, and the Gilder Christian James, Lorgues (Var), the volunteer handed in State. A month later, on May 27, 1995, the chain and the star were put back in place.
This Companion 5-spoke star shining brightly above the roofs of the Provencal city such a sign or a guide, leads the visitor along the paths that lead to the great pilgrimages...

The bell towers and chapels

Redescendons now to the heart of the village, cited in the Art of earthenware, above which rises the belfry of the Collegiate Church of Sainte-Marie, who is also the parish church of Moustiers, built in the 12th century. Of Provençal Romanesque style, it is flanked by a lombard square steeple three-storey. The bell tower houses a Bell dated 1447, one of the oldest of Provence. In 1708, a land earthquake shook the region had the effect of destabilizing the building. The Bell Tower had the curious distinction to tremble when the bells carillonnèrent. To avoid any risk of collapse of the campanile, it avoided sounding the hours of the mass for some time. Restoration work began in 1972 and made it possible to update the vestiges of a pre-Romanesque chapel of the 12th. The chapel Notre-Dame de Beauvoir, high at the bottom of the ravine Notre Dame, was built in the 5th century on the foundations of a Marian shrine. Dedicated to the Virgin, pilgrimage to the 15th due to 'processing' and miracles that occurred to, the monument is in the purest Romanesque style, even if in 1880 openings have been made to admit more clarity. A 800 kg Bell, mounted by the way of the cross on back of mules and men, takes place in the square bell tower. Two great cypresses, symbols of hospitality and friendship rise before the entrance of the building. Wooden, dated from the 16th century, the gate seems according to some, the Templars signs bear. Known until the 15th century under the name of Notre-Dame of mountains, or that of our Lady of the rocks, it now bears the name of Notre Dame de Beauvoir. It is to this Chapel, with the Virgin, the Crusader Duke of Blacas made the wish to tighten its chain. Below, the cave dedicated to Mary Magdalene is accessible from the route, and the well of the fairy. A nickname was also attributed to Moustiers, the country of the FAE. The provencal setting of this city with a thousand faces is really enchanting and charming, not to say charmer!
The Sainte-Anne Chapel, built in the 11th century (integral with the enclosure of the cemetery) is worth a detour. Many hikes depart from Moustiers. Northwest of the city of faience, in the direction of the ancient walls (fortified gate of Riou), may marvel at the waterfall of Riou which plunges its in the thalweg. A path element ionne Majastre directions and the farms of Bex. This route in the Highlands borrows, in its terminal phase, a portion of the Roman road which linked between Castellane and La Palud-Moustiers.
The high plateau, near Bex farms, was conducted during the summer 1997, many sequences of the film 'One Chance' directed by Patrice LECONTE, with Alain DELON, Jean-Paul BELMONDO and Vanessa PARADIS, in key roles.
The Museum of earthenware made in the old house Claustrale. Very nice collector coins are exposed that some belonged to Marcel PROVENCE, the man who restored vigour to Moustiers Ste-Marie, at the beginning of the 20th century on an old Potter oven heated to the wood, which was cooled long.
One of the most beautiful villages of France, capital International's the Art of earthenware, Porte des Gorges du Verdon, currently 19 workshops which extend this artisanal tradition to matchless and incomparable know-how. 25 world famous boutiques present the creations of master Faïence, heirs of the greatest creators of all time. Moustiers is a city that remains lively even in the heart of winter.
The history of the earthenware of Moustiers is not as idyllic as the current face of the city was willing to let us glimpse. However, events had started well.Contemporary celebrity of the Provencal City went through painful phases before becoming what it is.

A short history of the earthenware of Moustiers Sainte Marie art

"A tradition lives only evolving. '' Marcel PROVENCE (1892-1951)

In 1672, King Louis XIV is looking for new recipes to replenish funds of the Kingdom and pursue its expansionist policy. He decides to impose a tax on the decorative pieces, and on dishes, gold and silver. At Moustiers, in 1679, on 24 April to be precise, the notary of the city registered for the first time to pen registers: Pierre CLERISSY "Maistre Faienssier. In 1689 Louis XIV prescribes to the Royal Mint gold and silver dishes to make it melt. COLBERT, keen to work for the development of the established industry Manufactures. A Sevres for porcelain workshops opened in 1663. Roy Sun, wishing to give the example, encourages the use of earthenware at table. In the aftermath of Sumptuary edicts of Roy (1689, 1699 and 1709), the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie of French mimics Versailles and overrides the dish of gold and silver, faience. Was told that Louis XIV had wished to compete with the porcelain from China, and had wanted to create a typical national handicraft in France to use tableware and ornaments produced in the workshops of the Kingdom. It may be true, in part, but it does nothing away at Moustiers faience history.
The potters of Moustiers, grouped under the protection of St. Claude, know the art and the way of producing tiles since the end of the 16th century...
The origin of the word 'faience' is twofold:
•    "Faenza", city of Italy made famous by the productions of its workshops in the 15th century,
•    «Fayence», city of the Var, renowned at the time for its ceramics of art.
The custom is that an Italian monk of the monastery of Servites, which have been entrusted to Pierre Clérissy the secret and the method of manufacture of earthenware. Some have said that he would have learned this art by working in a Royal factory in Nevers. Moustiers, it installs Maistre Faienssier with his son Antoine.tres quickly, other potters began to manufacture tiles and this new activity exceeds widely all others. Clerissy, not wanting to lose his fame, committed François VIRY, master-painter at Riez.
Pierre Clérissy, son of Antoine, is at its peak the school of Moustiers. His workshop became quickly the largest city. And its activities are so successful that they allow him to acquire the lordship of Trévenans, the Charge of Secretary du Roy in the Parliament of Provence (Aix-en-Provence), and land of the fief of Roumoules. The Clerissy sets are characterized by productions of blue camaieu with different colours on white background and light great email. Pierre Clerissy, sells its workshops at Joseph FOUQUE in 1783, his four sons did not want to continue the family work. Joseph Fouque, after an apprenticeship at the OLERYS family, is associated with Jean-François PALLOQUIN. The descendants of folic will maintain the ceramics tradition in the family until in 1852. There was, of course, many other 'potters' who became at Moustiers "Faïence" when this activity took its rise.

The development of faience

Joseph Olérys (born 1697) made his debut in Pierre Clérissy. In 1723, at the request of count ARANDA, he went in Alcora, near Valencia, Spain, to create a factory. It is almost certain that it is there that he will learn the secrets of the polychromy as it will introduce then to activities of Moustiers Ste. Marie.
He takes his art with him, and when he returned to his hometown, he hires Jean BÉRAIN, painter, Decorator to the great talent, who introduced what is still called "the decorations to the Berain. The production of the parts is marked by mythological scenes inspired by the engravings of Antonio TEMPESTA. The factory (no one spoke even factory) Olerys prosperous quickly and meets the requirements of the moment through polychromy. His son, Joseph Olérys, is associated with Jean-Baptiste LAUGIER. Their descendants will not have the talent of their fathers and then Jean-Baptiste CHAIX-led workshop will close its doors in 1790.
The many talented artists who have distinguished themselves in the design of the sets of tiles, include Jean-Baptiste NIVIÈRE, Jean and Paul ROUX. At faïence, Gaspard FÉRAUD, created at Moustiers new manufactures around 1779. He teamed with Joseph - Henri BERBEGIER which he disbanded in 1792 by pursuing only his work. Jean-Baptiste FERRAT, nephew of Pierre 1 Clerissy, Consul de Moustiers in 1732, produced tiles since 1718. Ferrat brothers introduce the small fire or fire of snatch, technical technique developed at the time, in Strasbourg and Lunéville (Alsace). Joseph FOUQUE and J.B.. THION will be main faïence inspiration from this method. The Abbot Henri shark, historian of Moustiers, but also an art lover, estimated about 30, the factories which in the middle of the 18th century, are established at Moustiers. He counts the total production of approximately 10 million pieces... The profession had hardly any women in its ranks. Even less numerous were those elevated to the rank of master Potter.
Hélène FABRE is certainly one of the few women to have this privilege. Daughter-in-law of J.B.. Ferrat, she assured the prosperity of the workshop until in 1761. The decorations created over the ages were many. Sources and various inspirations, and the general themes found most often in blue generally, monochrome and polychrome, can be summarized in the following ways:
•    Blue shades: inspired originally by the influence of the factories of Nevers and Rouen,.
•    the coat of arms and heraldic insignia and coats of arms,
•    mythological or religious scenes
•    the decorations to the Berain: personal interpretations of grotesque decor known since antiquity and handed over to the taste of the day by the Renaissance,.
•    the decorations garlands and medallions: drawings which include characters, flowers, ornaments,
•    the decorations to flags: the drawings represent trophies with weapons and emblems relating to hunting, fishing, or music. It is said that they have been created in 1745 after the battle of Fontenoy,
•    the revolutionary decorations: the drawings depict Masonic regalia and today inherited from the French Revolution in 1789.
The cooking modes: two mainly were practiced, the great fire, and fire of muffle or small fire.
•    the great fire: after being out of the mold, parts are dry. Then, cooked in an oven to 1.000 ° centigrade. Removed from the oven, they are subsequently submerged, in a large bath with white enamel. The decorations are painted with attention to detail because alterations are impossible. The piece, or biscuit, passes back to the oven for a second firing at more than 950 °. Once out of the oven, the piece of earthenware is definitely over.
•    mitten (*) or small fire fire (fire of mitten: part refractory oven in which are placed the items to be treated to protect either the direct effects of home or the oxidation of the air.): after harvest, drying, and a first passage in the oven, the piece is immersed in a bath of white enamel, and then delivered to the oven.The decorations are painted on the already baked enamel. This method has the advantage of touch-ups if the artist is wrong. The painted decorations, are handed over for the third time the room in the oven for a final and last cooking. Out of the oven, the piece is finished.
Potters kilns were operating at firewood. If two cooking processes have been widely used by masters Faïence, the second, the small fire, was subsequently abandoned. Its use became more and more expensive because asked a huge consumption of wood. Today, the Faïence furnaces operate on electricity.
Initially, the production of earthenware at Moustiers was especially destined to the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. Custom commands were passed to factories by privileged clients. Specialty merchants, in the neighbouring cities of Provence, but also the coastline, offered their customers of the earthenware of Moustiers.The 17th and 18th centuries were times of major fairs and markets Street. Half of the production of earthenware flowed well. The most important was for long the Foire de Beaucaire (Gard). It came from all over Europe, sometimes even to other continents, in order to place orders. It is probably thus, sailing on the seas of the globe, the earthenware of Moustiers fame has made around the world... A gift from the fairies. Three main elements helped to develop earthenware: water, wood, and fine clay. Water came from nearby sources and the Verdon. Wood, the boxwood essentially, Gorges of the Verdon. The clay as she was extracted from the quarries of the region and succeeded in Moustiers in the form of compact boulders. These blocks were crushed upon arrival, and then rendered friable they were screened, to finally be trampled underfoot to obtain a homogeneous paste.
This paste was subsequently beaten to eliminate gas that it could contain. Rarely used raw, it succeeded to potters, then to the Faïence masters that they had become, then for the production of earthenware pieces. Their skills, their know-how, their imagination, gave birth to productions that they fashioned by hand, modeled on a powered Rotary lathe of the foot.
When carried out parts were completed (plates, dishes, jugs, snuff boxes...), these were to dry for several days, sometimes up to three consecutive weeks, then passed to the oven according to the different cooking modes. It then remained for the artist to express his talent in drawing the decorations inspired by the moment, or those derived from his fertile imagination.
The decline. At the end of the 18th century, Faïence moustierens last suffer competition from English, Chinese porcelain, but also French. Majolica workshops already knew a certain decline when the 1789 Revolution broke out. The restrictions imposed by the Revolution, the blockade imposed by Emperor Napoleon, set designer imposed and carried out on parts becoming increasingly long to paint, privileged called customers who had promoted the development of the activity was no longer, or practically no (reverse of fortunes, exile, bankruptcy...) in the aftermath of the revolutionary period, passing modes, the Faïence de Moustiers suffered consequences events.

End of the manufactories of faience

The years 1830-1840 marked the end of the earthenware of the Provencal city manufactures and the almost generalized judgment of productions. Pierre autumm FERAUD will be the last master Potter de Moustiers to close its doors in the aftermath of the Second Empire, in 1874 very precisely. Thus, Moustiers Sainte-Marie, which had been under the reign of Louis XIV, one of the greatest centres faïence from all over Europe and the world, lived from the second half of the 19th century turn off one by one the ovens that were used to produce notable earthenware produced so far on part worldwide.
Half a century had elapsed and Moustiers had not produced a single piece of baked enamel, when a lover of art and history (of earthenware...), rekindled an old wood-burning oven. Came so far from 1926 during which Marcel PROVENCE (1892/1951, journalist, poet and playwright) was going to restore life and hope to all a canton which had fallen asleep one day in 1874...
September 15, 1929, helped by a group of friends also lovers than him, but also lovers of ceramics, Marcel Provence created the first Museum of the earthenware of Moustiers. Creator, and generous donor, many pieces from his personal collection to the Museum, and with the idea of restoring force and force in an old oven from Potter, he helped resurrect the large chain of masters Faïence d'Autrefois.
It is in 1929 also that Marcel Provence founded the Academy of Moustiers, in the form of a centre of studies of pottery old.
The second world war came curb efforts by the patron and faïence. Need to abandon the goals it had set itself, Marcel Provence entrusted to Ms. Simone GARNIER (not the presenter of television from the 1960s and 1970s, alongside Guy LUX and Léon ZITRONE, but his collaborator) the heavy task to ensure his great work and carrying it out.
After the municipal premises for a few decades, July 1, 1978, the earthenware of Moustiers historical Museum was inaugurated in the crypt of the Claustrale House that had once belonged to the monks of the Abbey of Lérins. Marcel Provence had a motto: "Semper Ardens', always fire. Also, there remain some craftsmen of Moustiers, heirs of Faïence masters of the 18th century, forge and perpetuate this tradition, by contributing and continuing to make of Moustiers Sainte-Marie, the international capital of the earthenware of art.
For the anecdote, if you buy a piece of Moustiers, i.e. a faience, and if you really want to know if this piece is truly "de Moustiers', exhibit are the name of the factory and the name of the creator, followed by this short sentence"Moustiers faience. If it is mentioned "de Moustiers', then have doubts as to the authenticity of the piece...
To avoid confusion:
1.    do not confuse the terms Moustierens and Mousterian:
•    Moustierens: the inhabitants of Moustiers Ste. Marie, with,.
•    Mousterian: Moustier, Dordogne, the end of the lower Palaeolithic period-100.00 to-36,000 years. The mousterian succeeded the Tayacienne civilization, and foreshadows what will be the man of Cro-Magnon, which the main dominant tool is the scraper for the treatment of skin, the butchering of animals...
2. not to be confused, either, both cited: Moustiers (Ste-Marie) with Moutiers, head of location of canton, in the Tarentaise (Savoie).

Moustiers Sainte-Marie to Lake Sainte Croix du Verdon

To the sides of the tiles that give Moustiers his international reputation, other specialty or artisanal curiosities complement a flourishing activity. Craft perfumeries with for main component Lavender (Plateau de Valensole is away), honey and Mead, olive oil and olive wood work, at the same time as a local crafts typically Provençal. So many that serve this medieval city and assets that make it an important tourist and economic centre throughout the year. Hub of the excursions in the direction of the Gorges du Verdon, but also to laugh and Valensole, the Mediterranean coast and the cities of the Alps, Moustiers-Ste-Marie deserves that attention of beautiful days.
Two circuits allow to tackle the Lake of Ste-Croix-du-Verdon and the villages encamped on its banks:
1.    From the North: Moustiers Ste Marie in Aiguines successively through Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, via laugh and the Plateau de Valensole (or by the "historic Route" of Moustiers in Ste-Croix-du-Verdon along cliffs above the Lake), then Baudinard, Bauduen, Les Salles-sur-Verdon to reach Aiguines. Circuit in the direction opposite of clockwise.
2.    From the South: successively visiting Les Salles-sur-Verdon, Bauduen, Baudinard, Ste-Croix-du-Verdon, Moustiers Ste. Marie (either by laugh or by the "historic Route"), reaching Aiguines, which obliges to redo the Moustiers journey / the Pont de Galetas join Aiguines, return. Circuit in an anti-clockwise direction.
The No. 1 choice has the advantage to extend the route passing not twice in the same place on the return journey. On the other hand, this route avoids any portion of the tour between Moustiers-Ste-Marie and the Pont du Galetas, since the branch line to reach Aiguines is located at the level of les Salles-sur-Verdon.In this chapter, we'll discuss the choice of route No. 2, from the South. Should be D 957, South of Moustiers Ste. Marie to reach the Lake of Ste-Croix-du-Verdon and cites leaning on the banks. At carrefour St-Claire, (right bank - La Palud-sur-Verdon Verdon), in front of the camping, take straight line towards the South. The road addresses the Lake and toward the new bridge of Aiguines, or more often called the Pont de Galetas, allowing to blithely cross the banks, while effecting a change of Department. So far, the route took place in the Alpes de Haute-Provence. It now extends in the Var. The bridge was built in 1973, to the right of the Pas du Galetas, in order to promote the exchange of communications between the Haut-Var and the region of Gorges du Verdon, and South of Basse-Provence. Is there any need to recall, that the Roman bridge of Garuby now lies beneath the waters of the Lake and needed well a new bridge to access the more northern regions. It was a new book to easily cross the opposite shores. Therefore, this bridge whose presence is essential to ensure the North/South communications was built.

The Lake of Sainte-Croix

Unlike the landscapes of the Gorges du Verdon crossed initially, panoramas are here more open and more ventilated. The vegetation also has partly changed in its varieties. The route follows, or bypasses, the shores of the vast lake expanse that covers an area of 2500 hectares. Withholding contains 770 million cubic metres of water that feed the electrical plant, in Tail Lake, for the production of electrical energy. Put water in 1973, this body of water is an ideal place for boating and other water activities that may be: windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, pedal boats, fishing, swimming...
The list is varied. On the other hand, only vessels equipped with an electric motor can venture on the wave. The movement of the gear motor using fuel pollutant
are strictly prohibited. Lake of Ste - Croix - le - Verdon is part of a political and economic line regional irrigation and catchment for livestock and agriculture. Its vocation is not only intended to perform a function of electric power via dams downstream aquatic scope.
Many campsites have been created on its edge to allow the reception of summer populations and found hotels, cottages, stays at the farm, and large beaches.
It is from one of these beaches (preferably not too far away from the Pont du Galetas reason of Mistral who rises late afternoon!), it is possible to rent a pedal boat or a boat, to try to make a comeback in the Terminal part of the Verdon Canyon and enjoy other points of view, thus making new discoveries.
With among them, a huge balm open on the course of the Green torrent, the great Baume of the Garret, a few meters to the detour of the Glue, coming from the Lake in the boat or pedal boat. Exceeding the Pont de Galetas, the circuit continues in the direction of the village of les Salles-sur-Verdon. Shortly after the book of the Garret, if the visitor wishes to the impasse on the discovery of the cities on the Lake, at the crossroads between the 957 D and D 19, is possible to directly reach Aiguines, city of Dervishes, Porte du Verdon, by accessing the Rive Gauche des Gorges du Verdon.

Les Salles-sur-Verdon

Along the banks of the lake formed by the waters of the Verdon, the visitor reaches the commune that has paid the highest price to the impounding of the Plaine des Salles. The municipal territory there were 1,400 hectares before 1973. Into account longer than 400... The Lake in having so engulfed 1000, including the old village, the ruins of the ancient castle of the 13th century. Built at an altitude of 523 metres, it is the youngest village of France, not by the age of its inhabitants, but the fact of its creation in 1973, and its inauguration the following year, in 1974. The architecture and the physiognomy of the new city are the work of architect LINOSSIER, winner of a competition which the main theme was: 'a village of Provence in modern Mediterranean buildings '.
Until the ancient village is flooded under water, the inhabitants were able to save the Bell of the Church, the fountain in the square, the wash-house and a few stones of the old mansions. The beauty of the site will allow, not forgetting what has disappeared, but take a nostalgic look at what has been a lush and fertile valley.
Since its inauguration, Les Salles-sur-Verdon expanded and perfectly integrated in the landscape. Numerous activities are available on the nearby banks, campings and hotels welcome a growing number of vacationers. Many events take place in the summer on the place Ste-Anne. Facing the village, the Coste-Belle Island, artificially created it also welcomes swimmers, pedalos and windsurfers.
On the heights overlooking the rooms one can see Aiguines and its Château in the characteristic round towers which can still reach using D 71, at the crossroads right out of the village. This small road will cross places so-called evocative names: 'Turks', 'counsel', 'guns '...
Leaving les Salles-sur-Verdon, the route follows the banks then detaches from them to reach, always by the D 957, Bauduen. There is still no more direct road access between Salles-sur-Verdon and Bauduen since the creation of the Lake, forcing motorists to make a detour of 21 km to reach the city. The project of a direct route back to the years 1934-1948, but it was never materialized.
At the intersection of St-Andrieux, then turn right, D 49, in the direction of Bauduen.


The path follows the curves of the shores of the Lake of Ste-Croix and let you discover the town as if it had been raised gently at the water's edge. In fact, Bauduen, was, before 1973, located 1000 meters from the course of Verdon... Due to the reduction of the maximum side of the waterbody, Bauduen escaped total submergence. Formerly and well before the creation of the Lake, precisely Benduenglum was located on the Roman road that connected Forum Julii (Fréjus) to Riez and was, therefore, a passage on the route.
The evidence of a flourishing past remain. Narrow and shaded alleys lead to these witnesses of the time once. These include the remains of a feudal Castle which there is more than the sunset gate and gate nine. The Saracen Tower provides its latest ruins. However Casteu, ancient stately 17th century, occupied since 1904 by the Town Hall, presents a beautiful Provencal architecture.
Bauduen is exposed South-facing and gives the impression of a triangular architecture which the top of the Bell Tower form the tip high. Nestled against the hillside, the village is situated at an altitude of 500 metres, and many panoramas opens towards the Lake range, Baudinard and the village of Ste-Croix-de-Verdon, located across the Lake.
It is impossible to mention the site of Bauduen without mentioning the life of St-Lambert, a native of Bauduen who was Bishop of Vence (in the Alpes-Maritimes), whose life story is traced in a book from the sanctuary of the parish church.
Bauduen, quoted Lake tourism and summer offers many facilities delivered to the nautical pleasures: beaches, inviting banks, Marina...
An astronomical centre, 'Astro-land', opens its doors and allows to study the sky and stars. But also other activities such as the geology and geography of the region are proposed to the visitors. Trades of Art and craft fair is an original, colourful and scenic event that stands at Bauduen, usually towards the end of August. Walks and hikes are offered from this charming town of the southern shores of the Lake of Ste-Croix. The road around the Lake ending in cul-de-sac, should retrace its steps to retrieve the 71 D, 2 km from Bauduen, and turn left on route that leads in the direction of Baudinard-sur-Verdon. The course, shaded, follow the curves of the banks of the Lake.


Road winding makes us discover Baudinard situated 700 metres above sea level. Its location allows a panorama overlooking over the range of the Lake of Ste-Croix. Even if it seems to be held away from the others, the village fits into the circuit from the around the Lac de Ste Croix Verdon Gorges. He keeps his past important archaeological discoveries. During excavations in the caves that have made its reputation, the scientists have been able to update of painted ceramics from the CHALCOLITHIC period (period of transition between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, with the appearance of the first copper objects), and various graphics of this period. Traces of Gallo-Roman occupation have also been identified, and Beldisnar, mentioned for the first time in 1113, is at the origin of the Foundation of Baudinard.
The imposing Castle of SABRAN (large family the Provencal nobility who has counted in its line of Kings, Queens, Princes, and counties), it remains today as a rectangular Dungeon from the 14th century. The parish church St-Jacques is dated from the 17th century. Typical village of Haut-Var, Baudinard has on its territory, a building raised in the title 'Monuments and Sites Classes', the Abbey of Valmogne, built between the end of the 10th and the 12th century, has been the subject of major restoration work. The visit of the Priory is now available.
The chapel of our Lady of the Guard (11th and 16th centuries), is included in the title of the 'Sites Classes '. With the proximity of the Lake, numerous activities are offered, apart from Petanque, horseback riding or tennis. The route, on the lands of the municipality of Grande hiking trail, GR 4, sees a large number of visitors. Canyon de Baudinard was flooded by the waters of the Lake during the creation of the latter in 1973. Nevertheless it is possible to make a few walks overlooking the canyon, by trails that run along the top of the cliffs that point 150 metres above the bed of the Verdon.
Many caves pierce the limestone as the balm of the Church (occupied by the men of the Neolithic period), or la Baume in Pastels that are best-known.
From the small city Provençale perched in the blue sky, it is possible to rally Riez, Montagnac, and the Plateau de Valensole, by departmental 9.
Leaving Baudinard-sur-Verdon, should resume the D 71 and arriving at the crossroads, turn right the 111 D which leads to the village of Sainte-Croix-de-Verdon, which gave its name to the Lake.
Ste-Croix dam-plant allows the passage from one bank to another, changing once again of Department. Leaving the Var, the host site regains the Alpes de Haute-Provence. Leaving Northern Lake of Ste-Croix, the Emerald torrent undertakes now on a new journey in the area of the low-Gorges du Verdon.


Bank right by the Lake, perched at the drop of a bar rock, 525 metres above sea level, its dominant position provides beautiful views of the Lake range. If the village gave its name to the Lake, it is because the mill dam which was built on the territory of the commune. On the opposite bank, stands Bauduen that you visited previously. The site features a zone of major geological studies of the Quaternary period, here with countless "asphalt rollers" that appear on the big day.But also by the presence of ammonites, belemnites, and of other sedimentary rocks of this period as well as of the marnocalcaires sands. The ruins of a church dedicated to the Holy Cross (celebrated on September 14), remnants of the former Priory dependent on Abbey St-Victor de Marseille, and a castle from the 18th century, property of the Bishops of Riez, whose ramparts are interconnected with the walls of a medieval origin Templar Chapel, are still visible, but in a sad state of disrepair.
During the construction of the dam and the birth of the Lake, in 1973, a few houses have been taken by the waters. In fact, the village today has feet in the Lake!The recent tourist boom participates in the economic development of the city that fiercely guards its Provencal traditions. The artisans of St. Croix animate their work and their works the streets of the village, and perpetuate the legacy of the trades of yesteryear.
Sainte-Croix-de-Verdon was the subject of many controversies, since the late 1980s, and visited famous in regional and national press. Indeed, was born at this time, a draft German for the creation of a large tourist complex, named after the name of the place where it was to be built, the complex of la Louvière. It was originally planned to build an establishment of cure with a capacity of 400 beds, a 400-room hotel, a golf course of 18 holes, a subdivision consisting of a hundred pavilions, pools, tennis, a sports center... A kind of Las Vegas to the American in the heart of the Provence!
This project, even if regretted by some, eventually fell in the water of the Lake. So, really, this complex had promoted a both or little economic activity in the region in general, and Sainte-Croix-de-Verdon in particular, there are many who 'forgot' in this colossal project, account for hundreds of thousands of metres of water necessary to power the Spa daily golf lawn watering (and God knows if here the summers are dry!), and supply of infra and superstructure, subdivisions... at the expense of farmers and breeders in the region already dependent on water and who, moreover, sometimes suffer from the effects of drought to irrigate their land. Okay, there is St. Croix Lake nearby. But the primary purpose of Lake is to provide water to produce electricity via dams-plants. Irrigation of crops are not considered a priority, and coming after the regulation of the flow of the Verdon, of maintaining the level of Lakes depending on rainfall and snow melt, etc...
Fortunately, it was rejected and abandoned in March 1990 to the great relief of the defenders and protectors of nature. The Committee for the realization of the complex of la Louvière is being scuttled itself!
Leaving St. Croix-de-Verdon, in the Northwest, the route to winning laugh and Valensole, the plateau of lavender by the 111 D. It is also possible to regain Moustiers Ste-Marie, a roadway, narrow, winding road but how quaint to perform a complete tour of the Lake by the Route history. This route runs along the ridges and offers beautiful views on the crossed sites.
Can as well by the 111 D, join D 11, and perform a hook by Riez, Puimoisson, and the Plateau de Valensole, before reaching to Moustiers Ste-Marie.
Or, instead, retrace its steps, and Ste-Croix-de-Verdon regain Les Salles-sur-Verdon and borrow the direc-tion of Aiguines 71 D.
We should mention that the full turn of the Lake of Ste - Croix - du - Verdon and the visit of the cities bordering it requires a good day trip, for a ride on a loop of approximately 60 kilometres.

Aiguines to the balconies of the Mescla by the corniche Sublime


City of the dervishes of boxwood, Porte des Gorges du Verdon, built amphitheatrical way 820 metres above sea level, Aiguines is the northernmost town of the Haut-Var, hung on the sides of the large margins (1577 m.).
The etymology of the name probably comes from the Aegospotami Ina Greek which means the country's goats. Proof, if it were needed, the long tradition of farming in the territory.
Called Castrum de Aquina under Jules César, this oppidum was built near the Roman road which linked together the current cities of Grenoble - Digne - Fréjus.The Roman pont de Garuby, bore the name of 'old bridge of Aiguines' into the 1973 years. The pont de Galetas also bears the surname of "new bridge of Aiguines.
Second common to one of the largest in France in the years 1950, the city lost 7500 ha. the area of its territory for the benefit of military of Canjuers, and 150 ha Camp. during the birth of the Lake of Ste-Croix-du-Verdon. Traces of a sedentary population, which date back to 2500 years BC, have been updated. It would probably be occupation of a people of origin Ligure, the Albiacoei, who settled on this high point. Then, the Phocians (of the Greeks), and then the Romans, in turn annexed the country.
With the proximity of the Canjuers Plateau on which were stationed the Roman Legions, an oppidum was erected. Julius Caesar made of Aiguines, an observation point advanced on the big Plans of Provence. Belvedere located near the current place, point of view embraces a panorama wide open on more than 180 ° in the direction of the Valensole Plateau, the foothills of the Luberon and the pre-Alps of Digne, the Ventoux, the plain occupied by the Lake, and the greenhouse of Montdenier (1.750 Mr.) who stand to the Northwest, dominant today Moustiers (occupied only from the 5th century).
From the East to the West through the South, all walks of life were observed, and access from the North (currently served by the 71 D) was condemned because no road existed then, only a path was driving near the Verdon through the pass of D'illoire, for households of the village wood supply.

Religions and Lordships

From a religious point of view, Aiguines was long under the influence of the Abbey Saint Victor, then independent and connected to no diocese in particular (as is still the village of Seborga, located north of San Remo, in the Italian province of Imperia). In 813-814, a polyptych of the Bishop WADALDE, of Marseille, supported by the Carolingians, and especially Charlemagne, gives reference to the Abbey to pass under the Dominion of the Bishop of Marseilles. In fact two religious currents will oppose in Provence. Hand, found that of the Benedictine Saint Victor Abbey (from Marseille), on the other, that of the monastery of Lérins (on the Île St-Honorat) which will be very strongly implanted in the region of the Gorges du Verdon. The Lérins Abbey will be supported later, between the 12th and 13th centuries by the Knights Templar. The Templars that helped the development of the village and whose influence was important. On a political level, four families of Lords will dominate the Viguerie: VILLENEUVE in the 13th century, the SABRAN, between the 14th and 17th, GAUTHIER in the 17th century also, and the VARAGES in the 18th century (Varages is a village in the Centre-Var, deemed by its beautifully crafted porcelain).
When she married Pons JUSTAS in 1195, Béatrice de SABRAN, heiress of William IV of Forcalquier, thus becomes the niece by marriage to the County of Provence Alphonse 1. The current Castle was built between 1596 and 1599 by Balthazar de GAUTHIER, Lord of Aiguines. His son, Marc-Antoine, military under the command of the Maréchal de VITRY, stands during the thirty years war by reaching back to the Spaniards, the Lerins Islands. This is not so much its heroic past which made the fame of Aiguines, but a raw natural, usable at will, almost inexhaustible, that the artisans were able to operate without moderation: boxwood.

Ancestral know-how

Never had the hands one ball studded Buis, a Jack to play bowls, or has never seen a ball of roulette by casino games?
It is in Aiguines artisans Dervishes of boxwood have inherited this ancestral know-how. This activity took shape in the middle ages to perpetuate them, in the 20th century. Studded balls or track balls, productions have toured world! If men turned boxwood, women as they loaded of ferrer, i.e., of clouter them.
Once the balls were boxwood. The game of balls Provençal, and even the bowls to its origins (invented in La Ciotat, next to Marseille, by Jules LENOIR, in 1910), played with balls shot in boxwood, then studded, until they were cast in bronze and steel, as they are in our time. This craft has now disappeared in 1939.Albert ROUVIER, the last Turner of the village, continued his art until 1978. A Museum, the Museum of the Dervishes, is there to remind us of the richness of the past.
It is therefore to the leisure activities and tourism that the city has turned since then. It hosts an office of the «Verdon home» organization likely to provide visitors all necessary information about the Gorges du Verdon: accommodation, leisure, recreation, etc... The Chateau of Aiguines (private, cannot be visited) has been restored in 1913, and again in 1990. Its four napkin rings covered with clay tiles glazed round towers are unmistakable. Each of the towers symbolize a season of the year, and they are oriented to the four cardinal points according to the symbolism of the seasons.
The original tiles are not from Moustiers, but most certainly, Varages, or Salernes, places where it worked already terracotta and ceramics, at the same time as Moustiers.
The parish church contains a Christ life-size oak carved from the 16th century. The architecture of the building is of Romanesque style primitive, wearing an ochre-red clay tile roof. Homes are tightened to the other, and roofs, covered with so-called Roman tiles, give a traditional snapshot of Provencal villages. A well developed local crafts to maintain economic activity in the city.
To the North, Chapel St-Pierre, patron Saint of Aiguines, and the remains of the old tower keep dominate the village.

The Witch of the village

Legend has it that a witch lived near Aiguines, in a farmhouse of the district which bears the name of farm of medicine. The mother Bousquet, because so was his name, was aware of the virtues of herbs from the plateau. His concoctions were prepared with rare and unusual plants that it picked up in the Woods and the Verdon campaigns, but none of his potions was evil. Its empirical preparations were intended to treat and cure diseases of various origins. Instead said farm medicine, or district hospital, more North towards Moustiers, were sites where in the middle ages probably, care was provided to the inhabitants and the needy.The mother Bousquet farm was damaged in 1944 during the fighting between the German occupation and the resistance.

Saint-Pancrace - Digne
Bléone Valley - Digne

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