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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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Walks in the Verdon Regional Nature Part 1

Top of Agra (Lakes and mountains of the Verdon)

Flowers for rock gardens

This ride largely shaded offers a superb panorama on the reliefs of Provence, great opportunity to discover the geology of the region. On crete develops an interesting flora of plants in rock gardens.
The Agra Summit marks the northern end of the Montdenier, first relief of the pre-Alps.
•    From the parking lot of the Col de Saint-Jurs take left on 150 m track, then follow the trail to the right, marked in yellow until you reach a track. Left take the track to the pass of the cabin.
This shady track is drawn in a mixed pine forest deer, indigenous pine and black pine used in reforestation (but who naturalise easily). The first recognized by their short needles and the trunk to the pelades orange. Black pine, meanwhile, has longer needles and a grey trunk. Both are exploited; ' paper industry constitutes the bulk of the outlet. In June, the forest tracks of this sector are attended by the great Apollo, a rare and protected Butterfly-winged the white marked of a red spot.
•    At the pass of the cabin, take the right track. She stops at the level of a forest cabin; a trail continues.
•    Follow the trail: it along the Ridge up to the lookout tower that you entrapercevrez between the trees.
•    The orientation table presents main reliefs on 360 °.
This overview helps to distinguish three entities corresponding to three major episodes of local geological history. The Lure mountain and Luberon back you at the end of the secondary era, there are some 80 million years ago, when a MOP Africa just DAB the South of Europe. This collision folded land to it forming the East-West oriented reliefs bordering the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees until the Alpilles, the Luberon and the Lure mountain. The first foothills of the Alps are mainly oriented, North-South.
To the East, in the foreground, like a train of waves on the verge of crashing: cuestas ("sides") of Beynes mountain and neighboring peaks. Here, the period and the actors are different even if it is always the movement of tectonic plates sliding on the Earth's mantle. This time, it is the Italy that sinking corner into Europe during the era tertiary (from 65 million years ago), pushing before it the land forming the bulges of the Alpine arc. In Haute-Provence, the thrust of the Italy is from East to West, and in response, folding, perpendicular to the thrust, is oriented North-South. At your feet, the Valensole plateau is the result of the last episode of this geological history, there are 5 million years. Here, alpine thrust (the sinking of the Italy in southern Europe), creates to the lands that it distorts (the procession of reliefs pre Alpine) a wide basin in which come to throw the first streams from these reliefs brand new. In other words: the ancestors of the Durance and the Verdon fill with alluvium what will become the Valensole plateau, before continuing their journey to the Mediterranean.
This geological crossroads superimposed is a climatic transition between sea and mountains which explains, as geology and climate are two determining factors, at least in part (other human and demographic factors have also played a remarkable role), the significant biodiversity of Haute-Provence.
•    Go down to the first small col o in the undergrowth to take on the left the trail that leads to the starting point.
In the Rocky passages at the beginning of the descent, are looking for a sample of the flora rupicolous (literally, who lives in the walls) with rosettes of the saxifrages. They are recognizable by the limestone crystals which crénellent the leaf margins. Hung in the middle of nowhere, the purple saxifrage is facing two challenges: find a little water in a dry wall and withstand temperature variations to which it is exposed in the mineral world (60 ° C in the Sun summer, - 20 ° C in the wind in winter). An original mechanism allows it to resolve these two issues at a glance.

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Imagine a little experiment. Separate a basin into two compartments with a membrane allowing water molecules, but not dissolved mineral salts. Put one side of freshwater and the other salt water. Little by little the compartment: fresh water level drops while that of seawater rises. This means that fresh water migrates through the membrane into the salt compartment. This osmosis tends to balance the concentration of both compartments. The phenomenon stops when the weight of the difference in level between the two compartments equal the force that migrates the water through the membrane. Applied to plants, this mechanism allows to extract a maximum of soil water. Purple saxifrage pump dissolved limestone and stores it in the leaf cells, which increases the concentration of these.


In may, on the lawns, flowers a small Tulip yellow, rare and protected, the southern Tulip. It is considered to be the only Tulip naturally present in France.
The area under the col de Saint-Jurs is classified in National Biological Reserve. These lands, properties of the State, are managed by the NFB. The management of the forest is oriented (under the control of a Scientific Committee) to maintenance, or even an enrichment of biodiversity.


•    From Manosque and A 51, cross the Durance and take the D 6 Valensole then laugh. From there, follow the D 953. Just after Puimoisson, right take the 108 D to reach Saint-Jurs. At the entrance of Saint-Jurs, on the left opposite the Town Hall, a small road shows 'Col de Saint – Jurs'. Follow the 8 km (approx. 25 minutes), it is first paved and Earth, then attention to the numerous potholes. Park your vehicle at the pass (Panel).
•    You start from the col de Saint-Jurs via the forest road of the Montdenier. Allow 2 hours for this long walk of 4 km (altitude 220 m). The route is feasible from spring to autumn.
•    See: Sainte-Croix Lake

Top of the Pavilion (Lakes and mountains of the Verdon)

Pastoral Symphony

The top of the headliner of Moustiers, demonstrates the long history that closely binds the pastoral activities to the evolution of landscapes and species they host.
The Montdenier, whose flag is one of the peaks, is the first relief of the pre-Alps, marking the boundary between geological alpine and Pyrenean influences.
•    After access to Moustiers through Roman, 100 m, leave the track and take the footpath left through field, towards the 'flag' and the 'pass of the Abesses"(yellow markup). After a short climb, reached a replat and a last field, turn right into a trail along the plot and threading in the middle of the pines. Past two poplars, the trail continues between the broom before reaching a col. Continue to mount road located just above the runway.
•    Leave the track, turn right at the small Trail towards the ravine of the Cine. The trail leading to the Pavilion goes upstream of this Escarpment. So replace right bank, before changing the slope height of a source and continue the path on the left bank.
•    Out of the bottleneck, the trail continues on lawns lined with boxwood. Take left the main trail. After crossing a track, the trail goes back the Valley on its left side. At the foot of a clearing, cross the track to access and take the trail starting right in front, in the direction of the Pavilion.
•    The climb is done through pastures, on a trail amount switchbacks up to the forest track to the Montdenier (attention spaced and little visible markup).
Sheep farming
The ascent to the flag is done in a Heath of broom and boxwood from which emerge a few stunted pine. Breeding sheep, once highly developed, as evidenced by the ruins of the Clot of the lambs that you discover on the right where large farms you passed arriving, brand still deeply all landscapes (and also, of course, natural heritage) of the pre-Alps. Until the great agricultural abandonment of the 19th century, lawns, maintained by sheep, only covered these summits. In non-grazed areas, nature takes its rights following a well-established chronology. As a first step, the land is embroussaillent, this is the period of glory of boxwood and broom making up the bulk of the Moor you observe here. Away from these bushes will be able to germinate more shrubs such as Hawthorn and serviceberry. Finally, will appear the pines and Oaks that recomposeront the natural vegetation of these slopes. Therefore, the forest which covered less than 10% of the Department of the Alpes de Haute Provence in the early 19th century, now represents almost 50% of its area.
•    The trail leads to a track at the level of a pass under the O flag. You can exit directly from the enclosure to join the track (remember to close the fence), or make a round trip to the top of the flag on your right to enjoy the view.
The runway, you will discover a beautiful panorama on the Alps, and, right in front of you, two curious bowls, flat bottom and clear, which settle in the Rocky atmosphere of this ridge of the Montdenier. It comes to sinkholes, resulting in a long process of filtering water through limestone.
In rock gardens bordering the track, you can make provision of savory and fine Lavender. If, in the spring, your eye is attracted to the armoury of the Wheatear, it is probably that you are dangerously approaching its laying. Fluttering block block, seems to strive to get noticed by a bouncing and jerking of the wings and the tail movements. 11 thus attempts to attract him and gradually away from the predatory potential that could find his meals in his clutch installed on the ground.
•    The path descends switchbacks for about 600 m. in a turn, the signposted trail leaves the path for a path right. You will soon earn a former sheepfold ruined. The trail continues downhill, on the left, through the garrigue. The descent joined the crossroads with the Marignol trail.
Station to the caterpillars
During your stroll, you cross a black pine plantation. Big whitish cocoons adorn the tips of the branches of some of them. It comes to chenilles processionnaires 'nest". The adult, a small moth flies and breed in summer. At the end of season, females lay in ends of twigs. In September the hatching of the eggs frees the caterpillars that will feed on pine needles before building a collective nest in which they overwinter (these are the cocoons you see). The return of the beautiful days, caterpillars emerge from their cocoons and canvass, in a procession to the queue leu leu. Finally, they bury themselves for a series of metamorphoses that lead to the flight of the adult in early summer.
Des chenilles processionnaires have a bona fide bad reputation. They are covered with stinging hairs that break off at the slightest touch and are likely to cause irritation or significant allergies. They are dangerous if swallowed by humans, but also by your dog if it comes to the nose (and the language) a procession of caterpillars.
•    Follow the trail on the left in direction of the farm Vincel, then the Valley of Bex. The end of the descent is on the left bank of the ravine. Cross camping, join the road. Follow her on the left on 800 m to reach the starting point.


On the D 952, about 4 km from Moustiers of Riez, right follow road Naverre and Venascle (takeoff paragliding area). Pass Vincel campground, and the paragliding school site. Approximately 400 m after the latter Park your car right on the median (in front of the signage of hiking).
Follow the yellow markup. Count 4:30 to 5 h to 12 km of the route. Avoid you closer to the herds that are guarded by dogs. The stroll is very pleasant in spring and autumn, a little hot in summer, often snow-capped in winter.

Massif of the Chiran (Lakes and mountains of the Verdon)

Approaching the stars

Alpine grass and snow patches are the highlight of this route all in contrasts. The important difference to discover a large part of the montane richness of the regional natural park of Verdon.
The Summit of Chiran (1905 m altitude) and Chanier Mourre, face-to-face (1930 m) are among the highlights of the Park.
•    Take the path marked by the Panel: "The Chiran, portal of Blieux".
Go, do a little walk your brain to forget the steep that awaits you. More than breakdown of species, long list as a day without bread, attach you to distinguish variations of cover that illustrate two important concepts used by naturalists. On the banks of the River, it is primarily "white body", name given to the plant formation of mountain rivers where you meet willows, poplars, hazels and white Alder.
•    After a narrow bottom of Valley grown (where you bypass a beautiful farmhouse by the right), begins the long climb.
You cross a mosaic of different vegetations, subtly determined by exposure or the nature of the rock. To juxtapose low landes, yes dominate boxwood and genet, and dense pine forests. For the botanist, these heaths and forests are two terms of the series of Scots pine. One speaks of "series" to describe the different types of vegetation which occur during the evolution of the cover in a given place. In case of reconstruction, as well as after the abandonment of the culture, for example, the evolution of vegetation is done by step. First a lawn, then the Moor, and finally the forest. Similarly, talking about the series of white Alder for the edges of rivers where, after a flood for example, the community will gradually be recolonized by "herbs" (sedges, horsetails, Joe-Pye weed...) followed by shrubs and trees.
But the vegetation also differs depending on the altitude. Monitor oak trees. Present at the beginning of the ride, you will see them become scarce eventually disappear. We are talking about floor of vegetation for each marked by a specific flora: Mediterranean Holm oak floor, floor White Oak Hills, floor Mountaineer of Scots pine or beech, subalpine with lawns.
Arriving at the pass, you may be surprised to get nose-to-nose with a herd of cows. Don't panic, if the animals you are approaching, they are happy to have the visit, but they present no danger as long as you stay calm and that your dog does not sucks them too. In the spectacular wall and its left (the small grassy ledges) transferred, chamois are many.
•    At the pass, take the track that ascends to the Summit.

Alpine plants

The lawn which covers the Summit, maintained by grazing, is, like all Alpine meadows, particularly spectacular at the entrance to the summer.
As soon as the snow melts, the Crocuses open the ball, quickly followed by a plethora of species all more beautiful than the other. The Fritillaria of Dauphiné, a kind of Tulip flowers nodding and mottled, small secured the six-petalled yellow and bright white Kuepfer buttercups or the very hairy and purple crocus are among the most remarkable. The Alpine species must solve a triple problem: survive the rigours of winter, withstand ambient drought - despite the presence of snow and rains, the air is particularly dry aloft - and optimize the short interval where conditions permit to reproduce. Following an almost general adaptation, alpine plants fall under this triple challenge by reducing their size (less than taken to the wind, cold and dry), by grouping their leaves in the rosette (same purpose) and by producing large flowers colored (to better attract pollinating insects?).

And alpine fauna

Featherweight and flyweight frequent Ridge. The Eagle is stalking the marmots, the alexanor, a big gaudy Butterfly completely "an", it flits from flower to flower. They share the sky with the Alpine swift, white-bellied, and two cousins of the crows, the Chough and the Chough which both, nest in the cliffs. As soon as you down the Summit, you associate the whistles, most unworthy that admiration from many marmots on this great slope.
The Observatory, used by scientists in the 1980s, was taken over by an association that organises exciting nights of discovery.
•    Go down by the same route.
The plan view on the due of the ravine of... the Clue offers spectacular limestone folding, result of "fit-inside" the Italy, which grows to the bulges of the Alpine arc. Crawfish white feet and trout, included in most of these small streams and rivers of head of watershed, are still a testimony to the good state of health of the nature of the Park. Open areas of the banks will brighten in May and June of flight hesitating three other rare species of butterflies, the great Apollo, the swallowtail and the mnemosyne.


Three species of "racks" frequent the meadows of the Verdon the flamed, swallowtail and the alexanor are large butterflies (7-8 cm wingspan) who fly from May to August. With almost 200 species, the Park hosts 4/5 of the butterflies of France.
The inula, one yellow cousin Marguerite, is deemed to be sovereign for bruises. But it is in fact a confusion with arnica which looks like two drops of water, but which is significantly more montane.


•    From Digne, join Blieux by N 85 (Napoleon road) towards Castellane. After Barrême and Sandra, take D 21 right up to Bilious.
•    From South (exit Cannes of I - 8), take the 85 N via Grasse and Castellane, then in the direction of worthy. Between Castellane and Senez, D 21 left leads to Bilious. Cross the village and continue until the low-Chaudoul. You will find parking at the end of the paved road. Initially in 'Y' of two tracks.
•    The ride begins tens of metres before parking. Follow the yellow markup. A "big" ride for experienced hikers. A 12 km long and 950 m in altitude route. The trail is passable from May to November.
•    A Bilious: medieval ruins, the old bridge on the Asse, two churches from the 12th century, many others walks.
•    A Castellane: Geological site landscaped the Lèques-necked and Sirenia at the village Museum.
•    Senez: a Romanesque church.

The Chalvet (Lakes and mountains of the Verdon)

Harvest and forest treasures

At the north end of the Parc naturel régional du Verdon, the Chalvet hosts one of the most beautiful forests of the territory. At its feet, mountain farming still preserves some rare plants of the harvests.
The Chalvet is the northernmost of the pre-Alpine mountains of the Park.
•    Out of the village from the North (marked yellow). Take left at the first crossing of track (pylon EDF).
The track runs along the classical cultures of these low mountains of Haute-Provence: wheat hard, lavender, sainfoin, meadow mowing... They still host species messicoles (literally, living harvest), in sharp decline in areas of intensive agriculture. You can easily locate Blueberry heads punctuating the wheat fields. Need you a little more attention to identify discrete, but common here, bupleurum leaved (glaucous green leaves, rounded Cone, sheathing the stem).
Strict messicoles have a size secret, that of their origin. Indeed, you don't ever see outside cultures. Need yet although they come from somewhere! Because, even though they are probably a little adapted over time, it is known that a significant development requesting a longer delay than the few thousand years of the development of agriculture. Therefore, should a messicoles, or their close ancestors in natural environments. But where to look? And in what medium?One or two reflections can put you on the right track.
Numbers of plants messicoles are not native to Europe, but were imported at the same time as the cultivated species. It is therefore in their land of origin need to flush out them. With respect to the environment, it will seek conditions resembling those prevailing in a cultivated field: a loose soil (as a result of ploughing) and rich (as a result of fattening), a "zeroing" regular to each crop cycle.
So, in your opinion, where can you find natural conditions which remind them? The most likely hypothesis is that the ancestors of the messicoles develop in the alluvial deposits of the rivers and rivers regularly subject to flooding.
•    Just after crossing a ravine with a captured source (small concrete building), take the path on the left.
You walk along a field of fine lavender, prior to a passage in the understory. Then the end of the ascent is done in a Heath broom.
•    When you arrive at the Ridge, the walk on the left until the orientation table. Join the paved road and start the descent.
The forest, very rich, in which you enter is home to a small population of black grouse.
•    In a left turn, locate "Paragliding" Panel on the right and follow the trail that leads to the take-off area. Continue down a path to the right.
In the middle of the descent, a short round trip to discover the Chalvet hole, formed of the excavation of the furniture land under a cover of limestone. You can also enjoy a beautiful view on the Lake of Castillon, the withholding of the Verdon the most upstream. Northeast, enjoy the entrance of the Valley of the high Verdon and the peaks that line.
•    Moriez-Saint-André road, take the path that the lanyard up Moriez.

The ocean

"Robines", which give their name to the small pass, are the ravines of black marl you discover on the left. This geologic formation tells a story. There, on the surface of the Earth, two major types of rocks. Limestones, all or almost of biotic origin (manufactured by living organisms, plants or animals), and siliceous rocks, such as granite, constituent of the eruptive crust (from volcanism). Over time, the l' erosion erosion attack these rocks which, in the form of alluvium, eventually settle in the lowest points, the seas and the oceans. The marls are a mixture of clays (of siliceous origin) and limestone. First teaching, their presence testifies to a geological era where the region was covered by an ocean, and it was lined with volcanic landforms. This was the case in the middle of the era secondary (there are more than 120 million years). Now things get complicated a bit. When pressed into the depths of an ocean, the physical and chemical conditions change. Without going into detail, simply hold that the limestones are quickly dissolved and therefore cannot settle beyond a certain depth. At the same time, organic debris (containing carbon) are more recycled when oxygen disappears. They then settle in form non oxidized usually black.As the amount of oxygen decreases with depth, the presence of marne (i.e. limestone) and material organic black indicates that we are above the limit where the limestone is completely dissolved, but below that where there is more oxygen. Do you follow? That is why, you can deduce that if the machine to go back in time brought back you 150 million years, you would be trying to drown you at 500 m depth!


Paradoxical situation than that of messicoles plants, closely dependent of agriculture which waged them a war without mercy. The 1976 Act, Foundation of the French legal protection does not apply to cultivated fields. Therefore, turning to voluntary agreements or European texts to try to save this flora.
If you want a little lively conversation, talk the grouse, which both to disappear because nobody protects it, or the Wolf, who is from back and unleashed the passions.


•    From Digne, take the N 85 South to Barrême and N 202 to join Moriez (at 10 km of Barrême). From Nice take the No. 202 northward via Puget-théniers, Annot, Saint-André-des-Alpes.
•    Moriez is still accessible by the "train des Pignes", initially from Digne to Nice. Park your vehicle in the village (or exit the station and join the heart of the village)
•    The departure is in the village by a street Northeast. Follow the yellow markup. This hike is long (12 km) and difficult. Count at least 4:30; There are 650 m of height difference. Prefer spring or autumn. In summer, the ride, largely overshadowed. Can be done early in the morning.

Ravine of the gravel pits (Lakes and mountains of the Verdon)

Old walls and beautiful mountains

It is the discovery of the flora, the fauna of the lower mountains of Provence, but in our history, also invite you this wild and peaceful route dominated by spectacular limestone folding.
The ravine of the gravel drains the Tang portion of the limestone hinge between the departments of Var, Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
•    You leave the highway in the middle of the village, opposite the hostel by the arrow trail "Soleilhas – the Tang".
The first part climbs the hillside well exposed to the South. Walls that border the path or support the terraces, now fallow, recall the time, not so long ago, where a small mountain farming modelled the outskirts of villages. The flora that grows is a mixture of opportunistic species. Small ferns colonise crevices of walls. Plants like thyme and broom occupy abandoned crops. Weeds (Brambles, Thistles, achillees) that were conducive to agricultural work, are also present. In winter, the Robin, will be a long way with you, fluttering of Bush in Bush.
At the top of the ascent, the trail enters a Scots pine forest. Woodland, it allows the development of an understory shrub species-rich, varied. Boxwood, omnipresent, is accompanied by Hawthorn, the white rose and several species of Wild Roses - there are half a dozen. Look at the shape of the spines, scrunch and feel the leaves. Smell of resin? Green Apple? Or no odor? Observe the colour of the flowers and the form of the sepals, the green "petals" that form the chalice in which is placed the flower.
•    At the crossing of tracks: right by following the yellow markup.
Out of the forest, you change of scenery with a crossing on a hillside on a more or less stabilized scree. This somewhat sorry landscape, with its scattered tufts of grass, is a mine of original species who share to grow in the soil dry, coarse and moving. In the spring, you'll find the large pink flowers of a few feet of Peony.
Observe, when you cross the Creek, a large Thistle entire leaves and small purple flowers, real magnet to butterflies at the time of its flowering. End of may, guests will surprise the apollon, protected species, next to the more traditional melitees and tobacco to Spain.
•    30 m after crossing the Creek, turn right, following always the yellow markup and the Panel "The guard – chapel Saint – Martin". Left you can reach the top of the Tang. The detour is worth, but beware, it's a long round trip (count 3 hours). On the lawns of the Tell. Ion, the herds are protected by (large dogs that live with the herd) patous. They will pose you no problem as long as you do not pénétriez in their security perimeter (a few tens of metres around the flock).
You will find a mixed pine forest. Its cool location (it is located at the ubac, North side) actually a habitat for one of the more discreet nocturnal raptors, boreal OWL. This is also where you considerate small tits grouse, gregarious (and loud!) troops in winter. The beginning of the passage of the ledge is marked by a spectacular limestone blade which dominates the guard. On the other side of the Valley, you discover Sainte-Anne Chapel covered Tower of green tiles, strangely lonely at the top of her nipple. In the cracks of this mineral landscape, some specialists cling. Next to the discrete ferns, you may more easily small bells of the Bellflower root, large stalks of white flowers of purple saxifrage, or the little blue balls of the Globular.
The Red-billed Chough plays with the thermal currents that generate the cliff, so the Eagle royal, this year-round, sharing the sky of summer, with the short-toed eagle for which the Rocky hillsides where bask vipers are a pantry of choice.
Early in the morning, Marvel's always acrobatics of the chamois that seem to play gravity.
•    At the bottom of the descent, when the trail joins a road, a short round trip on the left to discover the small chapel of Saint-Martin, humbly nestled at the foot of this oppressive geology. Just after the passage of the national, you cross an interesting wetland.
This soggy shallow is colonized by the reeds in which can nest the Marsh Harrier.
At the edge of the rose garden, you discover the classic procession of plants of this environment with a great Mint, to the terrible odor, weed to hemp, the large Thistle of Montpellier or the Colchicum of autumn leaves, species dominated by willows and ash trees. This small haven of peace no is troubled only in the spring when, in an incredible cacophony, toads and frogs croaking compete to attract their beautiful.
The end of the route in the village streets reveals the more old-fashioned charm of old walls still colonized by the parietaria officinalis and the stellar, and where flemmarde the favorite Drudge of the kittens, the small lizard.


Myth or reality: rare, harmless and fully protected, the Orsini Viper is known only in a few massifs of Provence, mont Ventoux and Lure mountain mainly. It is mentioned here and there by literature, like here on the slopes of the Tang. It has however not been (re) found when specific research in this sector for the implementation of the Natura 2000 network.


•    From Digne, follow the 85 N (Napoleon road) up to Castellane. Continue for 5 km on this road in the direction of Grasse-Cannes to join the guard.From Grasse and Cannes, La Garde is just before Castellane, after La Bâtie. Park your vehicle in the village.
•    The ride begins in the middle of the village, above the N 85. Follow the yellow markup. Count 3: 30 a.m. to make this long trip of 6 km, with a significant elevation of 350 m. Attention, the route has a very steep and stony crossing; good walking shoes are essential. The route is passable from May to November.
•    Guard: chapel Saint-Anne.
•    Castellane: opportunities for whitewater sports.

The trail of fishermen (gorges du Verdon)

In the secret of the gorges

It is a dive into the secret of the gorges of the Verdon that this circuit invites you. The bottom of this Valley cashed, fresh and Woody, is framed by the austere but original cascades of tuffs illustrating the geology on.
•    Follow the trail upstream (side La Palud).
The steep descent is done on a hillside well exposed to the Mediterranean atmosphere. Green oak dominates. On the outcrops are aromatic species. But it is the understory, in the fall, will hold your attention with a riot of colors to make dull the most colourful carnivals of Rio. Three "self-important" compete more garish adornment. The Dogwood, which is not his qualifier at random, explodes into its young shoots. Maple, characteristic five-lobed leaves, disclaim any palette of yellows. Leaves the skumpija, in addition to their bright red color in the fall, are also distinguished by their oval regular, worn by a long petiole, and the smell of mango (for those who know!) that they give off when it offends. It owes its other name of tree wig to the appearance of its pyramidal and feathery inflorescence that recalls the "sauerkraut" that adorned the heads of the Court under Louis XIV.
•    Hunters, fishermen or boars trails - it's crazy the world as there are in these gorges! -cross the main road. Make sure good to follow the yellow along this route.
The trail passes a wall. This vertical and mineral world hosts a rare but remarkable flora and fauna. Peregrine falcons are nesting, the tichodrome are met.This beautiful bird, about the size of a Blackbird, is grey-black with the edge of the wing with a broad red band. He tirelessly surveyed the cliffs to search, its long and thin, spout cracks looking for insects. Some of the Phoenician junipers, stocky tortuous, who cling to a slot could be older than 2,000 years, according to initial estimates of a specialist. Caulescent cinquefoil, another scholar of the walls, to recognizes the persistence of the faded parts, which gives the impression that it develops on a cushion of leaves.
At the bottom of the Gorge, you access the Verdon which Pebble floor, strewn with boulders, is home to the apron. This small fish, long of 15 to 20 cm at adult size, was once present throughout the basin of the Rhône. It is now in sharp decline and seems more present than in the Durance river and its tributaries.
The grey wagtail streams, little troublemaker to the long tail with jerky movements earned him the nickname of "hoche-queue", and Thistle (totally harmless) snakes, lurking at the bottom of a water hole, are other hosts frequent and more readily observable locations.
•    The ascent from the bottom of the Gorge is done on a trail near waterfalls. Exit the main trail is prohibited inside the nature Reserve of Saint-Maurin.
Travertine, another name for the Tuff, is a characteristic and specific limestone terrain. It all starts on the plateau overlooking the Gorge. Rain, falling, takes care of this carbon dioxide in the air, which acidifies it. These precipitation attack and dissolve the limestone (as vinegar dissolves scale). Over millions of years, this dissolution form surface lapiaz, dolines or sinkholes, characteristic of karst landforms (from the name of a limestone massif of Central Europe where all these phenomena have been studied). Water, limestone, infiltrates until it encounters a watertight clay layer it follows, forming a true underground drainage network that eventually find the open air at the level of a source. The physical and chemical conditions (temperature, pressure, oxygenation...) then suddenly change which causes the precipitation of limestone dissolved (like Tartar around the nozzle of a faucet). This "encroûte" then the vegetation splashed by the flow. The tufa or travertine is the result of this phenomenon: Brown soft and porous rock formed from plant remains "engangues" of limestone. Tuffs are a help valuable to archaeologists that dating and identifying fingerprints from the leaves, can reconstruct the evolution of vegetation and hence climate.
•    The end of the ascent leads to a plateau.
The bottom of the tray (beneath the road) presented by the Brachypodes of Phoenicia lawns and are rich in orchids.
•    The end of the route is under the road, parallel to it.
Looking at the slope across the River, you give problems to see three different green corresponding to the three dominant vegetation of the Verdon. Tender green for the beech forest in the shadier areas, glaucous grey-green for the green oak on the slopes the driest and warmest, Frank green for the pubescent oak between the two.


The regional natural Reserve of Saint-Maurin is home to many remarkable species on the plateau of travertine: hart's-tongue fern, for example, rare and protected in the region; a wide variety of species of bats also. These mammals live in the crevices and caves. Be careful not to disturb as this can be fatal.Travertine is a very friable rock, don't get out the trails at risk to modify the flow of rainwater and thus disrupt an ecosystem.
Boxwood has played a major role in the economy of the Verdon and allowed, thanks to the large size that it reached into the bottom of the Gorge, the development of an entire small industry of a fine and dense wood. Climbers tell that it is not a sector of the Verdon whose walls have been equipped by collectors "voltigeurs". The turned wood craftsmanship is still well present Aiguines, on the left bank of the Verdon at the exit of the Gorge. It is said that es studded boxwood balls manufactured in this village were the first petanque balls.


•    From Manosque and A 51, by the Valensole plateau, take the D 4 then D 6 to laugh then follow the D 952 to join the gorges du Verdon via Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. From the South and the A 8, join Aups and Sainte-Croix Lake. Bypass the Lake from the East and take right towards la Palud-sur-Verdon by D 952 parking your vehicle in the parking lot of the neck of the olive tree.
•    From the car park, take the trail upstream. Follow the yellow markup. Allow 3 hours for the 7 km of this route altitude of 100 m). The best time to discover the site goes from spring to autumn.

The round of Breis (Gorges du Verdon)

In the land of vultures

On the heights of Trigance, this route runs through the hinge between the Haut - Var Verdon. Stunning views of the latter and the contrast of the vegetation contribute to the interest of this hike.
•    Enter Trigance to square with the bar and bakery and left Mount for the road under the Castle. Take a left out of the village by a trail westward (the general Council signpost). Take to the right, between two villas, a trail marked in yellow. Attention, there are many crosses and branches, watch the markup.
The trail climbs and crosses the Rocky bar which marks the crest. In this passage between limestone walls, you discover, at the height of the eye, all the small world of the crevices. Three species of sedums and four of ferns compete for moisture of cracks. With an equal happiness, it seems, these two groups have developed different strategies to withstand summer drought. Ferns are the big back. They perform their cycle from autumn to spring and survive, all stunted in drying out the summer. Sedums, or fleece, small Succulents, engorged their sheets of water, which then resemble small boudinaged fingers, and live on these reserves.
Just after the crest in front, on the left, exceeding of the slope where the trail is committed, locate the Eagle bar. It is in this cliff first reintroduced in the Verdon vultures have been released. This bird is one of the largest raptors french; It can reach 2.80 m wingspan. Exclusive scavenger, he long took losses of sheep farming. But everything changes with the implementation of mandatory rendering which, by prohibiting the abandonment of the corpses of sheep in nature, heavily hairline the contents of the pantry of the vultures. At the beginning of the 20th century, poaching and poisoning finish the job and the vulture disappears from the sky of the Verdon between the two wars. In the 1990s, the "Vultures in high – Provence" association, in partnership with the town of Rougon, the NFB and the Park, reintroduces the first couple. The "winner" reintroduction (reproductions are quickly observed), was followed a few years later by the monk Vulture. To date, one hundred of these joined vultures (of course) by the Egyptian vulture, regularly flying over the site.
•    The trail crosses the slope on a hillside.
At the beginning of this journey, you can see many pines died or began. This phenomenon reflects the severe drought prevailing since the beginning of the 2000s. In less favourable areas for him, like here where lean and stony soil retains bad water, pine barely find its sustenance. If it can withstand a dry diet a few years, he however eventually succumb if drought continues too long.
Down, gradually, things are arranged. The ground becomes deeper and you then jump around a beautiful mixed forest of oak and Scots pine. In the fall, these forests are a boon to mushroom pickers. Caution however, on the one hand the abuse of some (which literally plunder the undergrowth) have led some municipalities to regulate the harvest and, on the other hand, you find next to the delicious blood, spectacular, but formidable amanita muscaria.
•    The trail connects a forest track. Follow the left uphill, then take a trail in crete. Front, on the left, locate the Breis you bypass by a small col.
The edge of the forest, on the edge of the runway, is lined with small shiny leaves, dark green, bearberry. With uva ursi, its other name, nothing to throw! The leaves are deemed as a urinary antiseptic, fruits are edible (but a bit bland and astringents) when they are raw, and you can still use the twigs in dyeing.
Arriving on the Ridge, you discover, on the right, the village of Rougon supported on a rocky outcrop and the grand canyon of the Verdon which it overlooks.
•    Past the pass, the trail leads to a 'plan'.
Vegetation, shaved grass dotted with "refusal" Thistles and gorse, indicates that you are in an area of farming, grazed the half-seasons.
•    The trail connects with a track that you follow pass a hamlet, before taking another track to the left then, right, a trail which descends to Trigance.
In the downhill final, exposed South, note the difference in vegetation with forest covering the ubac. Here, it is the field of Mediterranean plants. Thyme and savory colonise crevices,


Remnants of pitted cones at the foot of a pine are the most common index of the presence of the squirrel, but discreet Acrobat. Active year-round, the squirrel is rather solitary outside of the reproduction. It is present in all forests up to 2 000 m.
Selfish, stupid and vandal. How otherwise qualify the attitude, yet unfortunately too frequent, which is to tear or crush any unknown or non-edible fungus?And if it merely the pleasure of discovery and observation?


•    Trigance is located on the left bank of the Verdon. From the coast (' exit ' Le Muy "A 8). Follow the N 555 to Draguignan and the 955 D up Comps-sur-Artuby. From here continue on the D 955 in the direction of Castellane. Watch left the small D 90 leading to Trigance. Parking is located at the entrance of the village.
•    Enter the village up to the place with the bar and bakery and mount to the left until the road under the Castle. Follow the yellow markup. Allow 3 hours for the 7 km of this route (350 m of ascent). The ride is pleasant throughout the year. Warning, the route is snow a few days by winter.

Verdon, an exceptional and fragile territory

In order to preserve it, but also for your safety, follow these tips:
•    at the edge of the Verdon, beware the abrupt changes in water level related to the releases of hydroelectric dams and do not cross the river.
•    Fires threaten the forests of the Verdon! Do not fire light in natural areas (smoking, campfires, BBQ, etc. penalty: €135). In case of fire, alert the fireman.
•    Wild camping, in any form whatsoever (tent, caravaning...) is prohibited on the banks of the lakes and in the gorges. Outside areas where camping is regulated, need you the permission of the owner.
•    In the mountains, as in the gorges, the weather is changing fast. Attention to storms and the rise of the waters! Find out the Alps of Haute Provence.
•    In the natural environment, stay on managed areas, paths and trails!
•    Bring your waste! Leave as clean places that you would like to find them arriving. Toilet paper is more than 3 months to deteriorate, a plastic bag up to 800 years!
•    Be careful driving. It is dangerous to shoot while driving or to stop on the side of the road to admire the scenery, this can cause plugs, and even accidents.
•    Do not collect plants, even Lavender (it's agricultural production, ask permission). Many wildlife species are protected. Extraction of fossils is prohibited.
For a respectful discovery of the heritage resources of the territory, we are counting on your citizenship!

Saint-Pancrace - Digne
Bléone Valley - Digne

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