People come from all over just to gaze at these gorgeous gorges and the pools of intensely aquamarine water that flow through them. Slicing a 25km passage through the limestone plateaux of southern Haute Provence, over many millenia, the green water of Verdon carved out the deepest gorge in Europe. The most spectacular site is the grand canyon (no, not that one!) which you can admire from your van as you meander along the Crest road (route des Crêtes). Beautiful villages like Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and Palud-sur-Verdon line the route and on the way back, you can stop off in Cotignac known for its troglodyte houses that are built into the surrounding rock faces.
Sounds good? Contact your agent who will give you plenty of tips on where to park for the night and what to do during the day throughout your island road trip.
Start your stay by taking the road to the Pré Alpes d’Azur nature park via the D6085, which is longer and more winding but so magnificent and above all free! You will discover on your route, villages like Grasse and Castellane.
In Palud-sur-Verdon, the more sporty will enjoy climbing while the others will try the
try the hiking trail such as the mythical Blanc-Martel, used every day in high season with nearly 2000 steps.
Jour 2 – Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Enjoy the magnificent village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, with its charming flower-filled streets and famous earthenware workshops. One of the most beautiful villages in France, this town is full of magnificent 12th century buildings. During your walk, linger over Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption in the centre of the village and don’t miss the Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir chapel. Above the chapel you will find a 227 m long chain stretched between two rocky peaks supporting a large gold star.
On your way down from the village you will find a picnic area and also a car park for filling up with water and emptying waste water.
Jour 3 – Lac de Sainte-Croix
You will arrive at the Lac de Sainte-Croix where all the water sports are within easy reach.
For spectacular views head for Sainte-Croix-du Verdon, from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Sainte-Croix has superb views over the lake and has beaches, picnic areas and a range of water sports facilities (canoes, kayaks and pedalos for hire). You can park on the right or left bank of the lake for the night or use the Park4night parking areas or the good addresses in the France Passion guide.
You can also take a moment during the day to go and pick some good apples from the many producers.
Jour 4 – Visite of the Gorges – Cotignac
Take the direction of the panoramic road of the crests where you will admire incredible points of view on the gorges as well as flights of birds of prey (eagles…) in their natural environment.
Halfway between Moustier and Castellane on the D952, this road offers magnificent
views of the grand canyon, of which it follows the most impressive section. It is a 23km loop from La Palud. From the town centre, follow the D952 in the direction of Point Sublime and Castellane, then the sign for the Route des Crêtes (D23). This road climbs gradually and reaches a series of 14 lookouts, all of which offer breathtaking views. The “Pas de la baou” at 1285 metres reaches its highest point: the Verdon flows 715 metres below. The road then twists and turns to reach the south bank and its narrow roads. Memorable!
Go back down to Barjols to admire the surprising village of Cotignac, listed as a historical
historical monuments and the troglodyte houses.
Labelled a “village of character”, this small town is nestled at the foot of a majestic cliff. The coastline of Cotignac never stops climbing. Take the opportunity to buy rosé wine from the region in the many vineyards of the village and especially, if you have the opportunity, at the Tuesday market.
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