The Fantastic Canyon of The Verdon

There Was Once a Glacier

A glacier was excavated for thousands of years in the mountain range to a depth of 750 meters. The Verdon Gorge is located west of the city of Nice. It’s one of the biggest gorges in Europe and I think it’s the prettiest. The Great Canyon of the Verdon is located 863 Km from Paris and 110 km from Nice

Verdon Canyon
Verdon Canyon


the discovery the  Canyon of Verdon - Gorges du Verdon
Canyon of Verdon – Gorges du Verdon

The Verdon river, which rises in the Maritime Alps, at an altitude of about 7,500 feets leads to a distance of more than 160 kilometers on the Durance. On its stretch between Castellane and the lake of Sainte-Croix, the thousand-year-old glacier excavated a stretch of some 21 kilometers of canyon. When the glacier fell, one of the largest gorges in Europe appeared, but also a spectacular landscape. In 1997, a national park was also created.

Lake Sainte Croix

Lake Sainte Croix - Canyon of Verdon
Lake Sainte Croix – Canyon of Verdon

Apart from the lake of Castillon, in the upper course of the Verdon is Lake Sainte Croix ,. This lake is the second largest reservoir in France. A gram drinking water deposits very attractive to look at. It is located at the exit of the gorge.

The most beautiful view of the lake is from the Sainte-Croix bridge, which passes over 46-meter high pillars on the Verdon River.

The lake of Sainte-Croix offers a panoramic setting where the water is turquoise. The turquoise color is the characteristic color of the Caribbean Sea or Polynesia. So we are seeing an incomparable landscape between the hills of Haut-Var and the lavender fields of Valensole. The turquoise color of the water comes from the minerals in suspension that the river drags from its upper course

Canyon of Verdon
Canyon of Verdon


And to finish discovering The Fantastic Canyon of The Verdon

The Reservoir

To fill the reservoir and form this artificial lake more than 2,000 hectares of fertile land were flooded and an entire village destroyed. The village, Les Salles-sur-Verdon, was rebuilt in the style of before about 400 meters later, in a higher place. The bells that in the current church sound to call the prayer of the Angelus come from the ancient temple.



What are the towns in the Verdon canyon?

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. La Palud-sur-Verdon, Aiguines, Esparron, Quinson are the villages near the Gorges du Verdon

None of the stone towns that overlook the canyon require a planned walk, but rather, it is about wandering through its streets discovering corners worthy of a Provencal postcard. At the foot of a cliff is Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, one of the most beautiful villages in France. And also in a privileged location, La Palud-sur-Verdon, where you have to look out over the point Sublime.

The village of Aiguines, located at the confluence of the Verdon and Artuby rivers, outlines its silhouette on the shores of Lake Sainte-Croix. While Esparron is a perfect place for bathing and for a walk through its streets around a medieval castle.

Very close to the verdon canyon is Quinson, whose attraction is hidden within a walled enclosure and extends through the narrow Baudinard gorges, which are traversed by an 8-mile marked trail from Lake Quinson, with numerous natural caves that They housed the Neolithic settlers.

Canyon of Verdon - Gorges du Verdon
Canyon of Verdon – Gorges du Verdon


The church of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

This town is the end of the discovery the  Gorge of The Verdon:

About four kilometers above the lake, is Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. This town is one of the most picturesque villages of Provence: narrow streets, stone houses and a stream that divides the town.

Discovering The Fantastic Canyon of The Verdon Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

The church is of Romanesque style and the town, which was born in the fifth century of a monastery, is stuck like an eagle’s nest at the foot of a gigantic rock. Above the village stands a monument which can be accessed by a steep path. It is called the sanctuary of Notre Dame de Beauvoir.

Can you tour the Verdon Canyon in Kayak?

Yes. The vertical walls of the canyon are an attraction for kayaking. On the banks you can rent from a kayak to a small motor boat to make excursions to the bottom of the canyon. They are offered by companies such as L’Etoile ( or Aquattitude ( The verdon canyon too
it attracts climbing enthusiasts from all over the world. It has more than 1200 routes with different degrees of difficulty. The artificial lake Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, into which the river flows, the most popular place.

Can you go hiking in the Verdon Canyon?

Yes. The 16 miles of the Verdon Gorge can be enjoyed on foot along one of its spectacular hiking trails. The most famous is the Martel trail, which runs along the right bank of the river for 9 miles. A quiet route, which crosses several tunnels, flights of stairs, the Baume-aux-Boefus cave, imposing rock pyramids and the narrow Strait of the Knights, as well as converging in beautiful enclaves such as Balcons de La Mescla, the place where the Artuby river it spills into the Verdon.


Canyon of Verdon - Gorges du Verdon
Canyon of Verdon – Gorges du Verdon

Trekking the Canyon of The Verdon

With its hanging passages of the rock and steep stairs, the Martel Trail is 14 kilometers long. It is also today a road full of ups and downs. Once one is completely down in the throat, the reward is immediate. The landscape is incredible. It is essential to bring trekking equipment, water an amount (three liters per person) enough food and a flashlight. The trek lasts about six hours.


In 2005, the trail was named Sentier Blanc-Martel, in honor of Isidore Blanc, who had accompanied Martel on his first exploration of the Verdon. Today, the Verdon is a river that runs between five dams before its mouth.

Recommendations to enjoy the Verdon Canyon

During the tour you have to pay attention to the variations of the water level. There are sectors, such as the banks of Rougon, with warnings not to swim due to the danger of possible underground currents. It is forbidden to set fire inside the park (this includes smoking), the fine for non-compliance is more than 160 USD. Camping must be done in regulated areas, it is not allowed on the banks or inside the gorge. It is always a good idea to check the weather forecast and keep in mind that a clear sky cannot be trusted because mountain weather can change quickly.

hiking in the Verdon Canyon
hiking in the Verdon Canyon

Additional visits in the vicinity of the Verdon canyon

In Moustiers Sainte Marie several street markets are organized. By tradition, every Friday morning of the year opens one in Place Montelupo. There are also special openings since the European summer begins, such as the farmers’ market, between mid-June and mid-September, on Sunday afternoons at Rond Point de Saint Jean; or the market of flavors that is organized in the same place once a month from April to September.


The Musée de la Faïence is open every day except Tuesdays. In November, December, February and March from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. From April to June, September and October it is extended by one more hour; and during July and August it is open until 7 pm. It is closed from January 1st to February 5th. Bondil and Lallier Moustiers are some of the workshops where you can take pottery classes that include creation and decoration.


How to get to the verdon canyon

From New York, I fly to Paris and then another flight to Nice and Marseille, which are the closest cities to the Verdon Gorge. These cities are just over two hours away by car. Having a car is essential to get around the shores of Lake Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon and the villages of Haute Provence overlooking the canyon. Remember the TSA rules regarding liquids, medications, Diabetes or IDs.

Where to sleep in the Canyon of Verdon area

At the foot of the Verdon Gorge, in La Palud-sur-Verdon, at the Hotel & Spa Gorges du Verdon , with modern and original decor and rooms with magnificent views. At St Lauren du Verdon, at Le Moulin du Château , with ecological criteria. And also along those lines, the Terres du Vanson cabins (, nestled among olive groves, 2 miles from Volonne.

Canyon of Verdon - Gorges du Verdon
Canyon of Verdon – Gorges du Verdon

Where to eat near the Canyon of Verdon?

In Quinson, on the banks of the Verdon River, Chez Kinou has a table among the most popular in the area, for its local products at good prices. Les Tables Du Cloître, a small Mediterranean cuisine restaurant located in the heart of Moustiers-sur-Verdon. Also here, the dishes with products from local farmers from Ferme Ste. Cécile (

We stayed and ate at the Hotel le Grand Canyon







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