Gorges du Verdon, Provence
Discover Gorges du Verdon
Verdon Gorge truly is Europe's 'Grand Canyon' (it is sometimes referred to as the 'Grand Canyon du Verdon') and is stunningly beautiful. The canyon has been carved by the Verdon River, leaving the turquoise river now flowing at the base of high limestone cliffs, and because of its exceptional beauty is now officially listed as one of the 'Grand Sites of France'.
The Gorges du Verdon are found in central Provence, with the Var department to the south of the gorge and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department to the north.
Facts and figures
- The canyon is up to 700 metres deep and between 100 and 1500 metres across.
- It has taken approximately two million years for the river Verdon to carve the gorges.
- The Natural Regional Park of the Verdon was created in 1997 to protect the unique environment
Exploring the Gorges du Verdon
The canyon is extremely popular, both with those who choose to drive around the top - 130km drive on roads that are often slow moving, but have great dramatic views - and those who kayak, raft or walk along the river itself at the bottom of the cliffs.
The path called the Sentier Martel passes 15km through the canyon, between the Point Sublime and the Chalet de la Maline, and for those who are not scared of heights, makes a fantastic walk. Common sense, walking boots, food and water are essential. Taxis and minibuses will escort you back to your car when you emerge.
If you are in the canyon rather than at the top, the Styx du Verdon is a particularly attractive section.
Canoeing and rafting:
There are various places where rafting, kayaking and other options are available. These depend on your experience and also on the time of year:
- The section of the upper gorges between Allos and Saint André is popular with experienced canoeists in the late spring and early summer.
- The so-called 'pre-gorges' below Castellane are popular with all levels of canoeist and open all year except winter.
- The 'Canyon du Verdon' further downstream contains some challenging rapids for more experienced canoeists.
There are several lakes along the length of the Gorges du Verdon, the most important being the Lac de Castillon (north of Castellane) and the Lac de Sainte-Croix at the western end of the gorges.
The Lac de Sainte-Croix in particular is very well organised for tourists, and has several lake beaches, although it does become rather busy during the summer.
The more wild Lac d'Esparron a little further west near Esparron-de-Verdon has some exceptional scenery and is also highly recommended.
Each of these lakes offer the possibilities for various leisure activities and many visits here are based near one of the lakes because of the beaches and other facilities. We suggest you try and visit each of thes main lakes because they are all quite different in character and the surrounding scenery.
You will find numerous small villages near the gorges, typically without many facilities but still very pleasant to stroll around. The most popular of these is surely Rougon, especially because it is close to one of the best views of the gorges.
The village of La Palud sur Verdon to the south-west of Rougon also has easy access to lovely views and Aiguines is between the Gorges and the Lac de Sainte-Croix.
Rock climbing and fishing are also major activities in the gorge.
Some photos of Gorges du Verdon kindly contributed by Amanda Mc Hugh
Map of Gorges du Verdon and places to visit
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Address: Gorges du Verdon, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Provence, France || GPS: latitude 43.829, longitude 6.4277
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Barrage de Chaudanne: site of natural beauty (10km)
- Lac de Castillon: site of natural beauty (10km)
- Barrage de Castillon: site of natural beauty (10km)
- Moustiers: most beautiful village (17km)
- Verdon: regional natural parc (18km)
- Lac de Sainte-Croix: site of natural beauty (21km)
- Seillans: most beautiful village (28km)
- Tourtour: most beautiful village (28km)