Verdon Gorge (Gorges du Verdon)
Whether you're after adventure or relaxation, the Alpes de Haute Provence region has it all. The stretch of the Verdon River that flows between Castellane and Chasteuil boasts Class I-IV rapids, making it an ideal place for thrill-seeking rafters. Hiking trails abound, with the 9-mile (14-km) Sentier Martel trail ranking as one of the country's top treks, while the emerald waters of the Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon lake, nestled deep within the limestone canyon, prove the perfect place to swim or sunbathe. For rock climbers, the gorge provides ample adventures with its 15-mile (25-km) network of climbing routes.
Experience the best of Provence (Verdon Gorge included) on a day trip tour from Cannes, Aix-en-Provence, or Nice that also visits the picturesque pilgrimage site of Castellane and the medieval village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, famed for its pottery industry.
Things to Know Before You Go
The majority of tours departing from Cannes, Aix-en-Provence, and Nice provide hotel pickup and drop-off.
Choose between a group or private tour, both available with half- and full-day options.
Outdoor activities include rock climbing and kayaking.
Remember sunscreen, hiking boots, and appropriate attire for outdoor Verdon Gorge adventures.
How to Get There
A couple of hours' drive west from St. Tropez, the right bank of the Verdon Gorge is easy to reach from the north (on route D952 from Castellane to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie) by car. From the south, it's better to follow its left bank (on routes D71, D90 and D955 from Aiguines to Castellane). The Verdon Gorge is more difficult to access via public transport.
When to Get There
Summer is the perfect time to visit the Verdon Gorge. Reliable sunshine makes all outdoor activities possible, while warm temperatures also allow visitors to camp throughout the region. During summer, tours usually visit the scenic Valensole Plateau and Grasse to see the blooming lavender fields.
Wildlife in the Gorge
Natural beauty is not the only reason to visit Verdon. The area is a cornucopia of wildlife, attracting birders and flower fanatics alike. Expect to see griffon vultures, the goat-antelope-hybrid chamois, and hoopoes, birds known for their striking striped pattern and eccentric crown of feathers. Turn your gaze downward to admire the lush flora; orchids, hawthorn, and yarrow are among the most prevalent blooms.
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