1 week in the Gorges du Verdon= 2 campsites to discover the richness of this incredible site
Find out more
1 week in the Gorges du Verdon= 2 campsites to discover the richness of this incredible site
Find out more
Essential sites of Verdon Gorge
The canyon of Verdon"Nothing more romantic than the mixture of these rocks and these abysses, these green waters and those purple shadows, similar to the Homeric Sea Sky and this wind that speaks with the voice of the gods died..."
From the first vision of the Verdon, one is surprised by its color from a deep, surprising Green by his variations. Nature has enriched its waters of a large quantity of fluorine that acts on microalgae and causes this unusual colour whose intensity increases with depth. This gift of nature earned him his name.
The Verdon takes its source at 2150 m above sea level in the mountains of Sestrière, near the col d'Allos. He is captured by the hydro-electric dams at Castillon and Chaudanne then he rushes inside the fantastic gorges, that he has dug into Jurassic limestones, taking advantage of the pre-existing cracks. The most spectacular part of its course lies between Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where he ruled the plans of Canjuers offering a unique site in Europe.
If adventure you go through the gorges du Verdon, here are some ideas for your days unforgettable journey. If there are many sites to see in this region rich in Gorges, we in discuss some well-known, to show you a preview of this wonder of nature.
Left bank - Corniche Sublime81 km from Comps-sur-Artuby to Aiguines. half-day.
• Comps-sur-Artuby: this old picturesque village is perched on a hill in the Plans of Provence, near the gorges of the Artuby. It is dominated by a small Gothic chapel from the 13th century.
• Trigance: The view widens on the Prealps of Castellane and worthy. The small village of Trigance appears, dominated by its medieval castle now turned into relais gourmet. Not far away, the castle of Valcroze hide, seems a treasure...
1. The balcony of the Mescla: this balcony the view is remarkable on the Mescla or 'mixed' waters of the Verdon and the Artuby. It offers aerial views of the Emerald torrent, 250 m further down, wraps around a narrow ridge knife in describing a beautiful meander before joining the Artuby.
2. The Artuby Bridge: Bridge, point of view on the narrow canyon of the Artuby consisting of a succession of erosion wells. This work of art in the concrete crosses the Artuby of a single 110 arch canyon m range, launched 180 m above the precipice. It is the highest in Europe where you can practise the bungee jumping.
3. Tunnel du Fayet: managed windows and the exit of the tunnel, magnificent view of the curve that describes the Verdon, some 300 m lower, at height of the Strait of the riders.
4. Les Cavaliers : After deviated from the Gorge, the road along the cliff of the jumpers. On the right, a small junction leads to riders hostel and the hotel of the Grand Canyon. Free access to the terraces to admire the extraordinary Cavaliers Cliffs. Behind the hotel lies the point of departure of the left bank trail which descends deep gorges, until the Imbut.
5. Baouchets (access Vidal outlet): the route runs closely along the canyon. Several lookouts offer a vision of enfilade gorges, in particular that of Pas de L'imbut which plunges 370 m on the Maugué narrow pass.
6. The margins and the Vaumale: the road deviated gorges, discusses the Vaumale Cirque by a bend on the left. Share and of the source of Vaumale, new aspect of the canyon invaded by the waters of Lake of Sainte-Croix which shows a Verdon chastened, cluttered nautical gear. The road reaches its climax over 800 m above the river.
7. Rock of the mallet: Very nice overview of the release of the Grand Canyon of the Verdon and the Verdon greatly expanded by the waters of the Lake.
8. Col d’Illoire (965 m): the end of the grand canyon opens on the Lake of Sainte-Croix and the vast Valensole plateau.
• Aiguines: This village is wonderfully located, embraces the region of the Verdon and the Lac de Sainte-Croix. In the 16th century, its main activity was the filming of boxwood to make balls of wood and various books. Its very nice Castle, built by Baltazar de Gautier at the beginning of the 17th century is flanked by 4 towers in pepper shakers to glazed tiles.
The road descends into laces, offering lovely views of the Lake. Possibility of taking either the D19 towards Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, either the D71 road halls, two streets joining the D957.
Pont de Galetas: the waters of the Lake of Sainte-Croix invade the end of the canyon and allow pedal boats and canoes to go back deep into the Gorge.
Moustiers-Sainte-MarieThis little town owes its name to a Monastery established by Saint-Maxime, Bishop of Riez. To 435, this former abbot of Lérins Island hides in the natural caves and there built a temple to the Virgin Mary. The exemplary life of the saint and miracles of the Virgin make, very early on, a high place of pilgrimage: Sidonius Apollinaris, Gallo-Roman writer, would be rendered in 470.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is also known for its special earthenware, the charm of its narrow streets and mysterious star suspended above the traditional houses.
The Church of the 12th and 13th century: it is built on a first building in the 8th century which few vestiges remain. The nave is Romanesque and the Gothic choir. Its very beautiful Bell Tower, arches, is typical of lombard Romanesque. He had the particularity to move whenever its bells were ringing. This somewhat disturbing fact was known throughout the Haute-Provence until the 17th century where it was consolidating.
Right bank, Route des CrêtesThe route des Crêtes describes a 23km loop that runs along many lookouts with impressive in-peaks, reaching 700 m. We enter the sacred domain of falaisistes.
From the viewpoint of the Galetas, the road rises quickly to valance home of Saint-Maurin.
• Mayreste: After the neck of the Olivier, the belvedere of Mayreste reveals a vision beads of the Verdon at the bottom of the canyon.
• Col of Ayen: A trail along the lavender led to belvedere where the seesaw of the grand canyon is particularly noteworthy. This is the part the narrowest and deepest gorges.
• La Palud-sur-Verdon: this village became the sports centre of the gorges. Climbers, canoeists and hikers there are to tell their exploits. This "international" ethnic group gives the village a new soul whose canyon is master and King.
• Saint-Maurin cascade: A Saint-Maurin, a waterfall water filter on all sides. Inexhaustible source, it has always attracted men. Above on a mountainside, range caves which would have housed monks of Lerins, brought in the 5th century by Saint-Maxime.
• Viewpoint of the Trescaire: in the first corner overlooking the Samson corridor where the Verdon disappears under the vault of the Baume aux pigeons.
• Belvedere de la Carelle: this cliff of 500 m of height has retained the name given to the freight elevator used by cutters of boxwood and the shepherds.
• Belvedere de l’Escalès: at the top of the cliff, seen dizzying on the Verdon and the Martel Trail running along the foot of the cliff.
• Belvedere de la Dent d’Aïres: extraordinary overview of this viewpoint which was used in the 5th century BC, Observatory for the celto-Ligurian tribes.
• Belvedere du Pas du Baou : the drop of more than 700 m overlooks the wild parade of the Baumes Feres.
• Belvedere du Tilleul : near the great cliffs of Dent d’Aïres and Escalès, this point of view extends to the Bay of Saint-Raphaël.
• Belvedere des Glacières : Special flight over the canyon and the Artuby Canjuers plan... to the sea.
• The Guègues Belvedere: View the Mescla and parade riders as well as the pretty medieval “jas” Guègues.
• The Chalet de la Maline: this hotel-restaurant is the point of departure or arrival of the Martel trail. The road circuit along several points of view meriting a stop before reaching the Imbut.
• The Imbut Belvedere: views on walls vertical and polished from Baou Béni and chaos where the Verdon disappears, on nearly 150 m. After the viewpoint of Baou Béni, revealing a particularly narrow canyon and that of Mortmain where the view takes more than 300 m at the bottom of the Gorge, the road dates back to the ravine of Mortmain and reached la Palud.
Take D952 via Castellane. The village of Rougon, perched in Eagle's nest, is now visible.
• Point Sublime: there's the great scar of the Samson corridor which marks the entrance to the Grand Canyon. Lovers of quiet belvedere will borrow the D17 reaching Rougon. At this altitude, the hack practised by the waters of the Verdon appears more fantastic even.
• Bridge of Suns: The road sneaks into the Carajuan clue to the amazing colorations. It happens instead of junction of the two sides (right, the D955 returns to the rive gauche by Comps or Trigance). Continue to follow the D952 that crosses the clue of Chasteuil then the Saint-Jean gate before reaching Castellane.
Castellane, important crossroadsCastellane, city stage, is located at the crossroads of the Napoleon road and the Valley of the high Verdon. The proximity of the Lake Castillon and the Grand Canyon makes a sport tourism centre: sailing, canoeing, hiking... Ancient city of the tribe of the Suetrii then Gallo-Roman city, Castellane becomes the 5th century the seat of a bishopric. In the 9th century, the barbarian invasions grow the inhabitants to fortify himself on the rock where they create "Petra Castellana".
In the 14th century, to protect themselves from the "road" who sacked the Provence, Castellane locks himself in new ramparts.
In the 16th century, the wars of religion cause many disorders, such as the siege of the city by Lesdiguières.
Siege of January 31, 1586: that day, Castellane is his salvation to the only courage of Judith Andrau. The intrepid young woman goes to the besieging to go, she said, kissing his nephew. She learns that the attack will take place by the door of the Annunciation. In the evening, as soon as the attackers approach to place mines firecrackers, it puts them into leak spilling on them boiling pitch. Since then, the French Festival : la Fête des Pétardiers commemorates, each 31 January, the heroin. A song reminds his courage...
Interesting sites• The Church Saint-Victor, 12th century, classified historic monument, with its bell tower of lombard style.
• The donjon Pentagonal, 14th century, classified historic building, remnant of the ancient walls.
• La Tour de l’Horloge, listed historical monument, with belfry and campanile in bulb.
• The fountain of Lions (rue du Mitan).
• Pont-du-Roc, 15th century.
• The town is dominated by a gigantic rock on which is built the chapel Notre-Dame-du-Roc. It is reached in 20 minutes by a trail behind the parish church.The way of the cross rises above the roofs of the city and discover a magnificent panorama. The domed Chapel of a large stone statue of the Virgin, was rebuilt in 1703.
Right Bank - trail Martel (GR4)14km, 7 to 8 h walking.
Needless to remind that of good walking shoes are essential. Excursions should be undertaken in good weather. Provide a flashlight through the tunnels, and a sweet.
The Maline - Point SublimeThe description of the circuit is in this sense, to cross the steep passages in downlink and thus avoid unnecessary fatigue. It is better to provide two vehicles which one of them will be left at the point of exit of the trail, however there are shuttles and taxi companies.
• Starting from the Maline
The trail descends quickly switchbacks below the Chalet of the Maline and past the ravine of beetle. A staircase allows you to take the plunge to Issane, with beautiful view on the steps of the Estellié. We gain little by little the bottom of gorges, 40 m above the river.
• Crossroads of Issane: 2km - 20 min
The right lane leads in 10 min at the gateway of the Estellié that helps Hôtel des Cavaliers or walk along the left bank road, to the Imbut back. The left track down to the Issane meadow, green oasis: bivouac and possible bathing, but attention to the invisible eddies.
• Etroit des Cavaliers :
A narrowing announces the impressive passage, dominated by cliffs of 300 m. The gorge widens and the path plummets the Guègues slope to reach the huge Cave of Baume aux Boeufs, ideal for the bivouac. Crossroads of the Mesca (trail to the right, 30 min return).
• The Mescla
This place is particularly grandiose: the Artuby fate of its canyon wild while the Verdon bypasses a ridge knife, both enfolded by vertical cliffs.
The Brèche Imbert : after the detour to the Mescla, the trail rises in switchbacks up the view-point of the Imbert breccia which is other than the spur at the Mescla: splendid views of the Baumes Fères and the stopovers. Then metal ladders (6 scales, 240 markets), to descend the rocky outcrop.
• Narrow pass of Baumes Feres
The path enters a parade consisting of wild caves which would have housed unsavory men...
And according to the legend, these men, uninviting appearance, were counterfeiters, wanted to be hung in the public square. Clever but illegal they would have been done by artisans, operate furnaces to melt money, still visible in the Argentina Baume in the canyon of the Artuby.
The track runs along the Baume des Hirondelles, the Baume des Chiens then the Rue d’Eau of Verdon. Still 2 miles of lush forest and arrive at the Trescaire Chaos, dominated by two towers of dolomitic appearance.
Road wins last tunnels that need to borrow. The first, Trescaire tunnel, is long by about 100 m. At its exit you can see the tightening of the gorges form the corridor of Samson. The following tunnel, tunnel du Baou, (along the 670 m), is pierced by several windows. The first, a metal ladder descends to the Baume aux pigeons. Each opening offers bird's eye views of vertical and polished of the Samson corridor walls.
7 tunnels were dug out the cliff face. They were intended to drive the waters of the Verdon to the exit of the canyon. The project, of which half was executed between 1902 and 1912, remained unfinished. During the establishment of the trail, the Touring Club de France used two of them, to the crossing of the Samson corridor.
Exit the tunnel du Baou: A staircase goes down to the Verdon. There, left, the trail of the Baou which dates back the right bank of the torrent and won the route de la Palud-sur-Verdon (D955). After the bridge, a short climbing to reach the point of arrival or parking of the belvedere of Samson.
Trail of the Imbut (GR99) – Left Bank5.5 km 2 h to 2 h 30 the go.
Behind the Hall of the Grand Canyon, a steep trail descends through a forest of boxwood tree, to the beach, then gateway Estellié (ability to trace the Maline in 1 h 30).
Continue on the left bank and follow the path which winds through mixed forest of boxwood, oak and beech trees. The canyon Narrows before reaching the Baouchet meadow.
• The Styx: River of the underworld
In the middle of the fallen rocks, the Verdon worked a new route, by digging a small canyon in the grand. The fault, composed of numerous wells of erosion, allows just the passage of kayaks.
• The Maugué
The trail, carved corbelled in the rock wall, to avoid the dangerous passage of Maugué ("bad Ford"). He reached access Vidal (steep exit). Finally, it crosses a pretty glades of boxwood and arrives at the Imbut.
• The Imbut
Under the huge blocks, the Verdon dug three galleries of 20-30 m deep, separated by narrow gullies. In 1928, Robert de Joly crossed for the first time the Imbut, using a Diving Bell. Nowadays, the penetration of the Imbut is dangerous because the vortices of absorption, the siphonnante output and unpredictable water releases.
The Bastidon trail - trail from the edge of the LakeThe Bastidon trail connects the route des Crêtes (at the level of the belvedere of Mortmain) to the road to the Gorge (at the level of Mayreste). Three security access come join in this circuit:
• Gratte loup, to the Voûte Emeraude
• The Rumi, after the Quille monolithic
• La Carelle, corresponding to the Cavalets.
Lakeside trail along the waters of the Lake of Sainte-Croix, dating back deep into the Gorge. The trail is accessed from the neck of the Olivier. Numerous hairpin bends, the path plummets to the junction which leads to the left, to the old Mayreste bridge. There, turn right to follow the edge of the Lake. The way back then and leads to the gorges road, Saint-Maurin valance home.
The GR4 by ridges: the Palud-sur-Veron-Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
The former GR4 (marked in red)A little more monotonous and easier (4 h) that the new route, it borrows the Roman road by the collar of the Croix de Châteauneuf, the Clue and Venascle.
New GR4 (red and white)6:30, walk
It is more difficult because it borrows the ridges, and therefore is more varied and more enjoyable. The start is la Palud-sur-Verdon on 200 m following the road of Châteauneuf-les-Moustiers. Then take the left path that climbs to a small wood. The travels follows the South face of the Barbin on a hillside, and there's a dominant view of Ayen the and the road of the gorges.
• Avoid the plain of Barbin taking the left track, which descends into a forest of pine, spruce and larch.
• The GR4 reached the full show pass which offers a remarkable view over the Lake of Sainte-Croix, the mountain of Lure and clear weather on the Luberon, Sainte-Victoire massif and Mont Ventoux. It runs along the ridges to the col de L'Âne (1095 m), and the Signal de l’Ourbès (1216 m). It remains only to descend to reach the gorges road at the crossroads Moustiers-Sainte-Marie - Castellane by a few shortcuts.
The Lake of Sainte-Croix and its villages60km, half day.
When we admire the comprehensive plan of water of Sainte-Croix and its procession of nautical pleasures, we forget the tragic reality of the impoundment of the dam: Lake has engulfed the village of rooms, drowning forever ancestral homes and memories!
Today, if there is more the charm of the old stones, the village has the comfort of the modern. Beautifully situated on the edge of the Lake, it is an important centre of nautical activities.
Other treasures have disappeared under the deep waters: the canyon of Baudinard, with the source of Fontaine-l ' Evêque, and several caves inhabited from the Palaeolithic to the 16th century or the medieval Aiguines and the cave of the Church bridge, closing drawings primitive, similar to those of the famous "Valley of marvels" above Nice.
• Pont de Galetas
The waters of the Lake of Sainte-Croix invade the end of the canyon and allow pedal boats and canoes to go back deep into the Gorge.
• Carrefour to Bauduen
Let the D957 which continues to Aups, and take the direction around the Lake, dam D49 and Bauduen.
Bauduen is an old village in which nothing is missing: ruins, Dovecote, Castle, beaches, port, narrow streets and old tiles... It is also very advantage because of its position "feet in water".
• Balcón de Fontaine - L'Evêque
This viewpoint has retained the name of the fountain, now swallowed up to 70 m down to the Lake. It offers a view on St. Croix water beads.
• Sainte-Croix dam
The Lake of Sainte-Croix covers 2500ha, or 767 million m3. It feeds the St. Croix plant, which can provide 162 million KWh/year. This deduction allows to irrigate four departments and also regulates the release of water from dams Castillon and Chaudanne, making the course of most regular Verdon.
• Sainte Croix du Verdon
Originally located in the plain on the passage of the Roman road, the village is perched in the 16th century to its present location. With the rise of the waters of the Lake, it now has a vocation boating, while retaining its village belvedere privilege.
• The Valensole Plateau
At the exit of the village, follow the road that runs along the Valensole plateau, the vast expanses of lavender. The road away from the Lake and addresses a series of switchbacks. Then there's the delightful village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, nestled at the foot of the rocks under his lucky star.