Grand Canyon du Verdon Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Grand Canyon du Verdon
The Verdon, 175km/109mi in length, is the most important tributary of the Durance. Between Castellane and the man-made Lac de Ste-Croix it flows through the Grand Canyon du Verdon, a 21km/13mi series of magnificent wild gorges in the fossil-filled chalk beds of Haute-Provence. At their deepest they descend to 700m/2,297ft, the water of the river falling 153m/502ft over this stretch.
Verdon - Grand Canyon du Verdon Driving Tour
The best starting-point for a circular tour of the Grand Canyon du Verdon is the little town of Castellane on the Route Napoléon.Take the road D952 in a southwesterly direction downstream through the Defile of Porte St-Jean and Clue de Chasteuil. At the fork (in about 12km/7mi) bear left on the D955, cross the river (Pont de Soleils; signposted "Rive Gauche") and continue south over attractive uplands. Some 6km/4mi beyond the fork, near the picturesquely situated village of Trigance with its dominating castle on the right, take road D90 as far as the D71 which is followed north-west.
Useful tips: The round trip is about 120km/75mi long. To have sufficient time to appreciate to the full the numerous scenic beauties, at least six hours should be allowed, and if possible a whole day.
Balcons de la Mescla
The Balcons de la Mescla (mescla=mixing, referring to the nearby confluence of the Artuby with the Verdon), provide the first high spot of the drive through the Grand Canyon du Verdon. Here there is a fine view into the gorge 250m/821ft below. A little farther on cross a boldly curved bridge over the Artuby, which joins the Verdon at this point.
While on the drive through the Grand Canyon du Verdon the road, the Corniche Sublime, continues from Balcons de la Mescla, along its winding course, with breathtaking views high above the Verdon and through the Tunnels de Fayet (views between the tunnels).
Falaise des Cavaliers
After passing the Corniche Sublime on the drive through the Grand Canyon du Verdon, there is a viewing platform near the restaurant at the Falaises des Cavaliers, then the road continues along a 10km/6mi long magnificent stretch up to 400m/1,313ft above the river as it rushes along the ravine.
Lac de Ste Croix
On the drive through the Grand Canyon du Verdon, after driving round the impressive cirque of Vaumale and crossing the 964m/3,164ft high Col d'Illoire, the road winds its way down to the deep turquoise-green Lac de Ste Croix (about 2,500ha/6,178 acres), a lake formed by the damming of the Verdon. On the shore of the lake is a popular leisure center (sailing, wind-surfing, camping, etc.). Here the D19 joins the D957 which is followed to the right. At the point where the Verdon leaves the gorge and enters the reservoir cross the river by the bridge (fine view of the gorge on the right).Some 7km/4mi beyond the junction of the D19 with the D957 the D952 bears right just before Moustiers. This road borders the northern (right) bank of the Verdon. Passing the Belvédère de Galetas (viewpoint) and crossing the Col d'Ayen (1,032m/3,287ft) we reach Palud-sur-Verdon.To drive along the winding Route des Crêtes first continue along the D952 and then turn right on to the D23; part of this road is one-way and can only be used in this direction.
Route des Crêtes
The 23km/14mi long Route des Crêtes draws close to the edge of the Grand Canyon, and on its course passes several viewpoints - the Belvédère de Trescaire, the particularly impressive Belvédère de L'Escalès and the Belvédères du Tilleul, des Glacières and de l'Imbut before leading back to La Palud.
Point Sublime is probably the finest viewpoint on the drive through the Grand Canyon du Verdon. From the parking lot it is about 10 minutes' walk to the viewing platform, from which the visitor can enjoy the classic view of the Gorge of the Verdon. The platform stands 180m/591ft above the confluence of the Baou with the Verdon; there is a magnificent prospect of the resurgence of the river near the Couloir Samson.Passing below the "Eagle's Nest" of Rougon, with the romantic ruins of a castle (rewarding detour) and through the defile of the Clue de Carejuan we reach, about 5km/3mi beyond Point Sublime, a road junction near the Pont de Soleils and return to Castellane.
Verdon - Sentier Martel
The Sentier Martel is named after the great French speleologist Edouard Martel (1859-1938) who was the first in the 20th century to explore the entire length of the Gorge of the Verdon. The path runs along the bottom of the gorge and can be reached from the road at Point Sublime or at the Chalet de la Maline on the Route des Crêtes.
Useful tips: A walk along the entire length of this section is not particularly easy and will require from six hours to a whole day. Stout footwear, provisions, drinking water and suitable clothing (including a sweater and a waterproof of some kind) are essential; a flashlight is desirable, as in places the path leads through tunnels. Loitering in the immediate vicinity of the river is dangerous, as depending on the operation of the dam and the sluices, the water-level can rise considerably in a very short time and a strong current can result. Therefore walkers should not linger in places where there is no escape path up the cliff.
Typical Visit: 6 hours
International Piano Festival, Vars
This annual two-week festival runs from early to mid-August and includes more than just piano recitals. There are usually over 20 different events organized every year, including chamber concerts, recitals, and theatrical performances as well as lectures and seminars. A summer music academy also runs concurrently with the festival.