Great 5 Stars Hotel Close To The Lower Gorges
For several years now, Le Verdon has had some good places to stay in exceptional places. Lets start with the Couvent des Minimes in Mane. This five-star hotel located near Forcalquier and Manosque is a good starting point for visiting the Verdon Gorges and the Luberon. The only drawback is that you need an hour to reach Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
Activities At The Lake
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With more than 1,500 hiking trails and more than 600 square miles of lake surface area, there is plenty to keep you busy for several days, though a lot of people stop here on a day trip. This is a popular summer destination, with guests bringing picnics and coolers with them to stay for a while. Water activities on the lake include paddle boats, sailing and swimming. You can rent equipment when you arrive, paid for by the hour.
If youre looking for adventure, head to the Gorges du Verdon, where you can do canyoning, rafting, rock climbing, hang gliding, kayaking, canoeing, biking and even aqua trekking where you float down the river in a wetsuit. Fishing is also popular here, with anglers reeling in Carp and Trout most commonly.
Be aware that not all activities are offered on all days. When I got to Castellane, I planned to kayak down the Gorges du Verdon but found that it was not available.The tour providers only offer certain activities on set days of the week, and there can be closings of parts of the river. I highly recommend researching this ahead of time and booking before you go so there are no surprises on your trip.
What To Do In Gorges Du Verdon
The magnificent Gorges du Verdon are also called the French Grand Canyon. And rightly so.
The national park is one of the largest canyons in Europe and part of the Verdon Regional Nature Park. The gorge itself extends from Castellane to the Lac de Sainte-Croix reservoir and is crossed by the turquoise Alpine river Verdon.
It has long been a paradise for nature lovers and active holidaymakers not just in summer, not least because of the pleasant climate in Provence.
Water hiking to discover the Grand Canyon of the Verdon, or canyoning to explore the Notes area . You will surely enjoy the best canyoning trips with experienced and state-certified guides.
Kayak & watersports
As a water sports enthusiast, you can sometimes go whitewater kayaking on the Verdon itself. However, the water level and flow speed vary and depend on how much water is let into the gorge. When the water is fast, inexperienced water sports enthusiasts should better not venture into the river that flows into the Durance.
A canoe, whitewater kayak, pedal boat, rowboat, or electric boat can be rented near the Pont de Galetas bridge to explore part of the gorge over the Alpine river.
Another less crowded reservoir than the Lac de Sainte-Croix is the Lac de Castillon above the town of Castellane, where you can also go boating. You can fish wonderfully on the Lac Chaudanne reservoirs rocky banks, which lies below Lac de Castillon.
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Where To Eat In The Gorges Du Verdon
The Gorges du Verdon region has a good selection of fine restaurants, créperies and bistros, many of them sourcing their ingredients locally. The Auberge du Teillon on the Route Napoleon near Castellane is a popular establishment with a gastronomic menu. Hotel La Bastide De Moustiers in Moustiers prides itself on having one of the regions few Michelin-starred restaurants and serves typical Provencal cuisine. Foodies may also want to chase down master chef and king of truffles Clement Bruno at Chez Bruno in nearby Lorgues his restaurant is considered one of the finest in France.
For spectacular views while you eat, check out Auberge du Point Sublime, perched at the edge of the Sentier Martel hiking trail near Rougon.
Specialties of the region include artisanal goat cheeses, truffles, lavender products, honey, olive oil, wine and many of the other mainstays of traditional Provencal Mediterranean cooking. There are weekly farmers markets in Castellane, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and Bauduen where you can buy local produce.
Where To Stay Verdon Gorge
The area around the Verdon Gorge is geared towards tourism. Accordingly, a lot of hostels can be found around the gorge in almost every direction. Whether it is a hotel, holiday home, or Airbnb, all your wishes can be fulfilled in the Verdon Gorge area.
There are various campsites near the nature park, from which you can go on excursions into the gorge and the surrounding area.
Here are some most splendid villages in France to check and stay when in the Gorges du Verdon:
- Moustiers-Sainte-Marie: The idyllic mountain village is four kilometers above the lake and is one of Provences most picturesque places.
- Castellane: The mountain village with its Notre Dame du Roc church is beautifully situated.
- Saint-Julien du Verdon: About 12 kilometers north of Castellane on the Lac de Castillon.
- La Palud sur Verdon: A village on the north route can be easily explored as part of a car tour around the Verdon Gorge.
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Where To Stay By Gorge Du Verdon In France
When traveling in the South of France, its easy to get lulled by its beautiful coastal towns, never venturing inland. But just two hours from Cannes, lies the wildly impressive: Gorge du Verdon. Known as the French Grand Canyon, its the deepest gorge in France, with incredibly turquoise waters ~ & its set in the region known as Provence-Alpes-Cote dAzur. Because accommodations can be a little confusing here, in this post Im covering where to stay by Gorge du Verdon ~ even where to save money & camp!
The incredibly turquoise waters of Gorge du Verdon ~ often called the Grand Canyon of France.
Map of Gorge du Verdon in France
The Gorge du Verdon makes an ideal road trip from Cannes or St. Tropez ~ two extremely popular destinations in the South of France. My friend & I rented a car in Cannes, then drove up through Mougins & Grasse on D6085, eventually coming to D71 ~ a spectacular route set right along the edge of the Gorge. I highly recommend taking this slightly longer, more scenic route.
And in case youre wondering: the best way to see the Gorge du Verdon is to rent a car. Theres no public transport to get here, so renting a car is a must. My friend & I found a great deal through Auto Europe, spending less than $40/day on a rental. Well worth it to see the Gorge!
About Gorges Du Verdon
This area has such a fascinating history. When the region was underwater 250 million years, seashells, coral, and the seafloor built up and were eventually compressed into the limestone rock.
As plates moved, the seafloor rose up and the limestone peaks were formed. When the Ice Age came along, glaciers wore away further at the limestone and created the dramatic cliffs that you see today.
The place got its name from the gorgeous turquoise water that flows through the gorge. Gorges du Verdon means gorges of green in French.
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Rent A Kayak Or Paddleboat In Gorges Du Verdon
On both sides of the bridge Pont du Galetas, youll find plenty of hire companies where you can get your kayak or paddleboat. There are also motorboats on offer if you want to see more of the lake and Gorges du Verdon.
We paid 20 euros per hour for a 2 person paddle boat. However, there are bigger options available for various prices. Note that there are no guided tours at Gorges du Verdon, so its a good idea to chat to the staff at the hire shop about the route to take, and how far youre allowed to go.
Exploring The Gorges Du Verdon
The most impressive part of the gorges for visitors lies between the towns of Castellane to the east and the Lac de Sainte-Croix south of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to the west. The canyon is extremely popular, both with those who choose to drive around the top and those who explore by kayak, raft or walking along the river at the bottom of the cliffs. Rock climbing and fishing are also major activities in the gorges.
The canyon of the Gorges du Verdon is up to 700 metres deep and between 100 and 1500 metres across and 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
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Verdon Gorge France: Where To Stay What To Do And More
KLM and Delta offer one-stop flights from Washington Dulles to Marseille, France, with early June fares currently starting at $1,380 round trip. Moustiers Sainte-Marie and the Verdon Gorge are about 75 miles northeast of Marseille.
Chalet de la Maline
On the D23, outside La Palud-sur-Verdon
Basic hostel-style accommodations in a bunkhouse perched on the edge of the gorge. About $16 per night about $49 with dinner and breakfast.
Chalet le Refuge
A more off-the-beaten-path location outside town. Stay in cabins, teepees or yurts. Rooms from about $75, including breakfast. On-site bakery and restaurant with such regional dishes as rabbit flambe in cognac and beef sauteed in beer.
Hotel des Gorges du Verdon
Bright modern rooms from about $240. Swimming pool with panoramic view over the village and fields. Restaurant with traditional cuisine. Prix-fixe lunch menus from about $35 dinner entrees from about $26.
La Bastide de Moustiers
The most luxurious lodgings in the area, with an herb garden encircling the building. The restaurant is run by celebrity chef Alain Ducasse. Rooms from about $330 fixed-price meals about $79 and $98.
For self-guided hikes, pick up an English-language guide called Canyon du Verdon: The Most Beautiful Hikes, which costs about $6 and is available at most tourist offices and newsstands.
Canyoning and aqua-trekking
Roadbook For The Route Round The Gorges Du Verdon
The pleasant small town of Castellane is dominated by a 184 metre / 603 feet high rock on which a chapel, Notre Dame du Roc, perches. Castellane was once located up there before it moved down to its current, more accessible position. But you can still walk up to the chapel if you have the time and inclination.
There’s a small old town and, on the main square, place Marcel Sauvaire, an information centre, the Maison Nature Patrimoines, with displays about the gorges and information as well as temporary exhibitions. Castellane itself also has a Tourist Office on the rue Nationale.
Other than a good farmers’ market with high-quality Italian and mountain produce on Wednesday mornings and a general market on Saturday mornings, there is not much more here to detain the visitor.
Castellane is very quiet outside the main tourist season and only a handful of its many restaurants remain open in winter. The best destination for gastronomic dining is the Auberge du Teillon in the neighbouring village of La Garde, five km / three miles away, though this too closes for four months in winter.
Out of Castellane, take the D952 to start the anti-clockwise circuit around the Gorges du Verdon along the north bank. The road, pictured, runs alongside the river, before climbing to Point Sublime, a celebrated viewing point on the route.
Perched high above Point Sublime, the tiny, intimate village of Rougon is worth a quick visit if the traffic is not too heavy.
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Where Is Gorges Du Verdon In France
When looking at a Gorges du Verdon map, youll see that they are part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-dAzur region, in the south of France. This is actually a river canyon separating the Préalpes de Castellane and the Préalpes de Digne.
On the map of Gorges du Verdon , you can see that they form the largest canyon of Europe. The canyon itself is about 25 kilometers long, but with the many lakes, there are around 100 kilometers to explore. Yes, you wont get tired of it soon enough!
Is a Gorges du Verdon day trip worth it? Absolutely! Even if theres loads to explore, youll still get a good preview of its vertiginous cliffs and blue water in one day. However, it depends where you come from. To give you an idea of how big France actually is, Paris to Gorges du Verdon is a 9 hour ride and Gorges du Verdon to Nice, another 2 hours and a half.
Water Sports In The Gorges Du Verdon
White-water sports on the Verdon River
The Gorges du Verdon are the perfect place for those who love water sports. The choice is great: you can do kayaking, canoeing, rafting, hydrospeed or take an air boat. If you love water adventure you can go for water rambling super fun as you will float down the river.
Verdon is popular among the whitewater sports fans for the various activities that you can do rafting, canoeing, kayaking and many more. If you love water adventure, this region is just right for you.
Lake of Sainte-Croix
Water sports on the lake are less dynamic. You can hire a canoe, kayak or a pedal boat. You can also wind-surf in the lake or sail. Motor boats are not allowed on the lake.
We hired a canoe near Pont du Galetas and went all the way from the lake into the Gorges du Verdon. We enjoyed immensely the ride, but it can be overwhelming if there are too many people and you have to watch out for the traffic.
Rent a canoe at Lake of Sainte-Croix and head to the entrance of the canyon. To the right at the bottom you see Pont du Galetas, behind there starts the most famous canyon of Europe.
The entrance of the Gorges du Verdon from the Lake of Sainte-Croix as seen from Pont de Galetas. Take a pedal boat or a canoe and get into the Verdon River.
How To Get To The Verdon Gorge
The Verdon Gorge is located in the South of France, not far from Nimes, St Tropez or Nice. It’s easy enough to find if you’re driving and it’s pretty well signposted. We popped it into our motorhome sat-nav and the route was quite straightforward.
We were coming from Pont du Gard and Nimes , so this is the route we took
1- Leave the A51 at Cadarache and head towards Gréoux-les-Bains.
2- From here, we wanted to turn onto the D315 and do the little windy road, but there had been heavy rains and the road was closed due to rockfalls, so we continued on the main road to the overnight motorhome aire at Moustiers- Ste-Marie. We stayed overnight here for 6. Weather improved luckily!
Gorges Of The Verdon: Campsite Hotel Rental Where To Stay Close To The Activities That Interest Me
Several thousand people booked their activities on our website last summer. Many also came to see us at Moustiers Sainte-Marie. How many times have I heard: If I had known, I would not have chosen this place because we are too far away from the activities that we like the most. Of course, everything will depend on your tastes If you are with your family and are more into swimming or quiet canoeing then the best choice is not the same as if you are more into rafting or canyoning. Verdon offers all these possibilities but not everything is in the same place!If you want to find the best place to spend your holidays in order to reduce travel time depending on your activities, then this article is for you.
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What To Do At The Gorges Du Verdon
The Gorges du Verdon is a paradise for every type of traveler. You can take it easy or go hard-core. Possibilities include road trips with spectacular viewpoints, visiting small towns, hiking, rock climbing, relaxing on the shore of Lac de Sainte-Croix, and a multitude of both water and extreme sports.
A thoroughly enjoyable and not-too-strenuous way to enjoy the Gorges du Verdon is to rent a paddleboard or kayak at Lac de Sainte-Croix. Paddling through the emerald-green water and letting it run over your fingers is quite the experience. Pull your kayak up to the shore and gawk at the brave cliff jumpers. Arrive early in the day, since this is a very popular activity. Bring a picnic and relax on the shores of Lac de Sainte-Croix.
Pro Tip: This company rents kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats
Up for a road trip? Follow La Route des Crêtes , a 15-mile circuit around the canyon. It is an incredibly panoramic route with multiple viewpoints and opportunities to watch soaring vultures and peregrine falcons. Go early in the day to beat the heat and avoid lineups at the viewpoints.
If you are short on time, the view from the Galetas Bridge is breathtaking. From one side of the bridge, there is a view of Lac de Sainte-Croix, and from the other, there is a postcard-perfect panorama of the Gorges du Verdon. Here you will see all the kayaks and pedal boats making their way up the river. The parking is such that you can stand on the bridge and enjoy the scenery.
Gorges Du Verdon South Of France
Im going to St Maxine In the South of France next summer and would love a day trip into Provence and the Gorge du Verdon, but dont drive. Does anyone know any companies who do such day trips please? Or any other advice, suggestions welcome. Thanks in advance.
I have been on a coach tour from Sainte Maxime to the Gorges du Verdon but it was organised by the holiday village where we were staying , was a very long day out and was almost forty years ago. Even then there were no public organised tours in an area where the majority of visitors have their own car.
You could try asking the tourist office, they will probably respond to an email sent much closer to your visit, but I wouldn’t hold out too much hope, and you certainly won’t get there by public transport.
I would also say that forty years ago the Gorges were almost unknown and made for an untroubled day out but the situation today is very different, the narrow roads are overrun with traffic making sightseeing difficult.
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