gorges of verdon

During one of my many trips to Provence, we went to discover the Gorges du Verdon, a spectacular area located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur department.

From the most elegant French village to the discovery of a scenic canyon

I had decided to take a romantic trip with my partner and after evaluating some solutions, we agreed to discover the South of France by car to enjoy every possible panorama.

Sweet Provence, I confess, won me over with its soft colours and the small but colourful village of Valensole, which many have described as one of the most elegant villages in all of France.
I had the good fortune to go there at the end of June when the lavender plants show all their splendour, especially in the area called plateau de Valensole, where the flowers display all their beauty and the thousands of shades of which they are capable.

I thought that after seeing the boundless expanses of lavender, the naturalistic excitement had reached its peak, but other surprises awaited us in this wonderful region just a few kilometres from Italy.
Determined to continue our exploratory trip beyond what we had already planned and hearing about the Gorges du Verdon, Ornella and I extended our holiday to get to know another reality of the Provence region.

Verdon Gorges - Canyon
Gole del Verdon – Canyon – Photo credit: Paolo Bertinetto on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

Idea immediately accepted also because of the proximity to Valensole. In fact, via the Route Départementale 562, it was possible to easily cover the almost 130 kilometres in just two and a half hours to enjoy the landscape we were passing through.

Gorges du Verdon, a summer holiday destination

During my stay in Provence, I had read about the Verdon gorges, Gorge du Verdon in French, and thanks to a series of articles I found on the web, I knew that they are formed by the Verdon river which, after travelling less than one hundred and eighty kilometres, flowed into another river and then into the sea.

Gorges of the Verdon where they are

Verdon France: The Verdon area is located in the Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur department on the border with the Var and Alpes de Haute Provence departments. This territory, thousands of years ago, was practically occupied by water and only in the Tertiary period did it form together with the Alps.
The gorge consisting of corals, fossils and limestone, have been shaped over millennia, especially during the Ice Age, while the erosion that formed the gorge is due to the continuous work of the river, which, flowing powerfully down the valley, has managed to carve the high walls into real gorge worthy of a canyon of Colorado

Gorge du Verdon Video

Verdon Gorges by car

The perfect way to visit the Gorge du Verdon is by car, but two-wheelers will also have endless thrills riding this scenic road full of bends to savour.
As I was driving approaching the gorges, the overriding sensation was to find myself surprised by the incredible vegetation I could admire from the scenic road: colours ranging from the bright green of the plants to the grey colour of the rocks to be framed by the deep blue of the sky.
The advice I can give the reader is to visit the Verdon gorges by car or motorbike, taking advantage of one of the two routes that can enchant any tourist: that of the Northern Route, where there are plenty of areas where one can stop to appreciate the picturesque landscape, or to take the Corniche, which is on the southern side of the crevasse.

Verdon Gorges what to see

After visiting the Verdon gorges for a couple of days, I can suggest that the most impressive area is the one between Castellane and the Pont du Galetas on the Sainte Croix lake where the Gorge du Verdon flows.

Lake Sainte Croix France
Gorges Verdon – Lake Sainte Croix France

This area can be subdivided as follows: the Canyon from Pont de Galetas to Imbut; the Gorges from Imbut to Pont de Soleils and the Prégorges from Pont de Soleils to Castellane and this area is part of the Natural Park of Verdon.

Lake Sainte Croix – Holy Cross Lake

I must say that taking a swim in the lake of Sainte Croix was a really nice experience, but above all refreshing.
Temperatures in Provence in the summer are always very high during the day, so if you have the chance during your trip, I highly recommend stopping and taking time for a rest and a swim in the turquoise waters of the lake.

Verdon a paradise for sportsmen

It is good to know that the gorge They attract water sports enthusiasts, especially in the summer, and not only because of the emerald green colour of its waters (a characteristic resulting from the presence of micro-algae) but because of the configuration of the Verdon, which makes it possible to carry out many activities.
On the Verdon, you can go rafting, canoeing, experience canyoning in the crevasses, water rambling or, serenely explore the calmer parts using a pedalo.

Gorge du Verdon, the activities to do

In addition to water sports, the Verdon gorges are also popular with free climbing and climbing enthusiasts. The canyon walls, in fact, offer over 800 routes covering all types of difficulty and climbing. Their depths range from 250 metres to 700 and the most popular locations are the Paroi Rouge, Baume aux Pigeons, Escalès and Dérobée.

Verdon Gorge Trekking

Those who love trekking will also find here some very interesting and organised paths through which to explore the Verdon gorges, such as the scenic GR4, which starts at Point Sublime and ends at the entrance to the gorges.

Trekking sul Verdon
Gole verdon Francia – Photo credit: HerryB on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

Of course, if you are venturing out for the first time, remember to use sportswear and suitable footwear, and to equip yourself with a detailed map of the area and the practicable trails, although my suggestion is to start with the easy Couloir Samson, which starts from the viewpoint of the same name.
I have experienced the trek and I can assure you that it is a way to discover every hidden side of this valley, starting with the beautiful panoramic view from the top and, as you descend into the gorge, discovering every feature of the vegetation present.

You have to think that your path will unravel among woods that anticipate the high limestone walls and the white cliff walls, where it will not be rare to see some climbers.

Visit the Gorges du Verdon

I chose to stay a couple of days since it was a stop added during the trip and not planned, but a more in-depth visit is the suggestion I can give you.
There are many villages with Provençal architecture that seem to have stepped out of some 19th century painting such as: La Palud sur Verdon (a paradise for paragliders), le Castellane, Riez, Trigance, Moustiers Sainte Marie and Aiguines.

Regarding the food and wine offer, one can find the genuine one made with only local products that are used for the preparation of traditional dishes, but also the gourmet one.
You can find a wide range of tourist venues where you can eat on a budget while maintaining the authenticity of the products.

FAQ on the Gorges du Verdon

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Le gole del Verdon
Verdon Francia
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