Located in the south-east of France in the heart of Provence, the magnificent Gorges du Verdon will amaze you. Not far from the emblematic Côte d’Azur, the Gorges du Verdon are popular with tourists. It is the perfect place to spend a sunny day.
The history of the Gorges du Verdon
The Gorges du Verdon have such a fascinating history. When the region was underwater for 250 million years, corals and seashells accumulated and were compressed in limestone. As the plates moved, the seabed rose and limestone peaks formed. When the ice age arrived, the glaciers mixed with the limestone and created the spectacular cliffs. The place takes its name from the magnificent turquoise water flowing through the gorge: “Verdon” means “green-don”. The Gorges du Verdon are right in the center of Provence, and it’s a day trip from the Côte d’Azur. However, although you can get there and back in a day, it is recommended that you stay in the area to fully enjoy the scenery. The closest town to the entrance to the lake is Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. To rent a boat, just go to the bridge. Visit the Gorges du Verdon in summer.
Zoom on the Verdon river
The Verdon is the river that originates in the southwestern Alps and flows for 166 km before joining the Durance near Vinon-sur-Verdon. You will be mesmerized by the emerald green waters of the Verdon! This unique color is not due to any magic or your imagination. The waters are emerald green thanks to fluoride and a certain type of micro algae present in the river. All the beauty of the Verdon region is not natural, man has also helped to enhance the landscape. There are five artificial lakes built on the river, the most famous of which is Lake St. Croix. The latter appeared after the valley flooded following the construction of the Sainte-Croix dam. Construction started in 1971 and ended in 1975. Besides being one of the largest artificial lakes in France (about 10 km long and 3 km wide), it is also one of the most recent. He has been there for just over 40 years now. In addition, being a reservoir of fresh water for all of Provence and securing electricity for the region, the lake has also become a tourist attraction. There are many sandy beaches on the turquoise waters of the lake. It is very popular with water sports enthusiasts. The beautiful turquoise color of the lake is due to the deposits of clay.
What to do in the Gorges du Verdon?
The canyon of the Gorges du Verdon is easily accessible by car. You can hike, which will take a full day, as you will have to travel about 100 km. There are two options: you can either take the south bank first anti-clockwise, or clockwise starting from the north bank. You can start this trip where it suits you based on your departure location. If you start in Aiguines, you should stop in this small village to enjoy a 360 ° panorama of Lake Sainte-Croix. Do not miss it! Head from Aiguines to the left following the D71 road until Pont de l’Artuby. Along the way, stop at Col d’Illoire for a beautiful view of the Verdon from an altitude of 967 m, then continue through the Fayet tunnel to the bridge over the Artuby river. The bridge is 182 m high and is the highest place in Europe where you can practice bungee jumping. Follow the road for even more beautiful views at the Balcons de la Mescla, the place where the Artuby river flows into the Verdon. After Les Balcons de la Mescla, you can either continue on the D71 to Comps-sur-Artuby, then take the D21 and the D102 to Castellane, or turn right on the D71 to the D90 towards Trigance, then on the D955 and the D952 to Castellane. If you choose the second option, you will travel twice per part of the D952 on the way back to Moustiers.