gorges du verdon

A guide to visiting Gorges du verdon in France: The most beautiful Canyon in France

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Nestled in the heart of Provence in southern France, the Gorges du Verdon is a hidden gem with mesmerizing turquoise waters and towering limestone cliffs. Carved over millennia by the Verdon River, this spectacular canyon is one of Europe’s largest and most beautiful natural wonders. It reminds me of Grutas De Tolantongo in Mexico and Takichiho Gorge in Japan, but Gorges du Verdon takes first place because of the stunning turquoise water. If you’re visiting France on the French Riviera coast and happen to have some extra time–I highly recommend you experience Gorges du Verdon for yourself.

I mean–picture yourself surrounded by towering limestone cliffs– gazing into the mesmerizing turquoise waters below. Trust me, this place is like something to experience.

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A guide to visiting Gorges du verdon in France: The most beautiful Canyon in France

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  • Gorges du Verdon is best visited in summer (June-August) when boat rentals are open, but go in shoulder season (May or September) for fewer crowds
  • Drive the scenic Route des Crêtes for breathtaking viewpoints like Point Sublime and Balcons de la Mescla
  • Rent kayaks/paddleboats at Pont du Galetas bridge to explore the turquoise waters up close (around €20/hour)
  • Visit charming nearby villages like Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and Castellane
  • Hiking, swimming, climbing and other adventure sports are popular here

Now on to the details…First things first, let’s talk about when to go

Best Time to go Gorges du verdon france 

If you want the full Gorges du Verdon experience, summer (June to August) is the way to go. The weather is perfect for all the outdoor activities, and the boat rentals are in full swing. But, if you prefer a more laid-back vibe, consider visiting in May or September. The crowds are smaller, and you’ll have more space to take in the breathtaking views.

gorges du verdon france

Is Verdon Gorge worth visiting?

Absolutely! Gorges du Verdon is a natural wonder that will take your breath away. With its stunning turquoise waters, towering limestone cliffs, and endless outdoor activities, it’s a must-see destination for any nature lover or adventure seeker. Trust me, the photos don’t do it justice – you have to see it for yourself!

How long to spend at Gorges du Verdon?

That depends on how much you want to see and do! If you’re short on time, you can visit Gorges du Verdon as a day trip from Nice or other nearby cities. But to really experience all the gorge has to offer, I recommend spending at least 2-3 days in the area. That way, you’ll have time for hiking, swimming, kayaking, and exploring the charming villages nearby.

How do I get from Nice to Verdon Gorge? Gorges du verdon how to get there

Alright, so you’re in Nice or somewhere nearby and want to know the best way to get to Gorges du Verdon? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

There are a few different ways to get from Nice to Gorges du Verdon:

  1. Book a guided tour: This is the easiest option, as everything will be taken care of for you. Many companies offer day trips from Nice, with round-trip transportation and a knowledgeable guide. If you’re traveling Solo join a guided group tour .
  2. Rent a car: If you prefer more flexibility, renting a car is a great choice. The drive from Nice to Gorges du Verdon takes about 2 hours, and you’ll have the freedom to explore at your own pace.
  3. Take public transportation: While this option is a bit more time-consuming, it’s doable on a budget. Take a train from Nice to Draguignan-Les Arcs, then a bus to Castellane. From there, you can catch a shuttle or taxi to the gorge.

The easiest option, hands down, is booking a guided tour. There are plenty of companies that offer day trips from Nice, Cannes, and other cities along the French Riviera. They’ll handle all the transportation and logistics, so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and take in the incredible scenery. Plus, you’ll have a knowledgeable guide to give you all the insider info on the gorge and surrounding area.

gorges du verdon france

Helpful tip: If you do decide to go the public transportation route, make sure to check the schedules in advance and give yourself plenty of buffer time. The last thing you want is to miss your train or bus and get stuck!

Regardless of how you choose to get there, I promise the journey is worth it. The moment you lay eyes on those turquoise waters and towering cliffs, all the travel logistics will fade away. You’ll be too busy picking your jaw up off the floor!

What is the nearest town to the Gorges du Verdon?

The nearest town to Gorges du Verdon is Castellane, located just a 15-minute drive from the canyon. This picturesque village is a great base for exploring the area, with plenty of accommodation options, restaurants, and shops. Other nearby towns include Moustiers-Sainte-Marie (known for its ceramics) and La Palud-sur-Verdon (a popular starting point for hikes and water activities).

Where to Stay in Gorges du verdon 

Now, you might be wondering where to stay. Let me tell you, the charming village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is the place to be! It’s just a 40-minute drive from the gorge and has some seriously adorable accommodations. Check out La Bastide de Moustiers inn – it’s got a Michelin-starred restaurant, so you know the food is going to be amazing. There are plenty of other options, like Camping Les Restanques, which has cabins, a pool, and a restaurant.

Hotels gorges du verdon France

HotelPriceAmenities
Hôtel La Bonne Auberge€€Pool, A/C, restaurant
Hôtel Le Colombier€€Historic bldg, A/C
Camping Les RestanquesPool, restaurant, cabins
La Bastide de Moustiers €€Apts w/ kitchens, pool

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is also conveniently located near the famous lavender fields of Valensole.

Where is Gordes Du Verdon located in france?

First things first – location Gorge du Verdon is situated in southeastern France, straddling the departments of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Var. It’s about a 2-hour drive from Nice and a 1.5-hour drive from Aix-en-Provence. If you’re looking at a map, the gorge forms a big, backwards “C” shape between the towns of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

gorges du verdon france

The best Viewpoints at Gorges Du Verdon 

Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to explore! Trust me, you don’t want to miss the Route des Crêtes. This scenic road winds along the canyon rim and has some of the most incredible viewpoints you’ll ever see. Stop at Point Sublime for the classic Gorges du Verdon photo op, and then head to Balcons de la Mescla to watch the rivers Verdon and Artuby meet.

 This scenic “ridge road” has numerous lookout points with jaw-dropping views:

  • Point Sublime – the most famous viewpoint
  • Balcons de la Mescla – where rivers Verdon and Artuby meet
  • Corniche Sublime – series of viewpoints along the route

Gorges du Verdon has no shortage of breathtaking vistas, but some are definitely more impressive than others. Here are a few of the best spots to check out:

  1. Pont du Galetas: This iconic bridge offers stunning views of the gorge’s turquoise waters and is a popular starting point for kayaking and hiking. It’s easily accessible by car, with parking available on both sides of the bridge.
  2. Route des Crêtes: This scenic road winds along the rim of the gorge, offering jaw-dropping panoramas at every turn. Some of the must-see stops include:
    • Point Sublime: As the name suggests, this is one of the most spectacular viewpoints in the gorge. It’s located near the village of Rougon and offers a sweeping view of the canyon and the Verdon River below.
    • Balcons de la Mescla: Another stunning spot, this viewpoint is where the Verdon River meets the Artuby River. It’s a great place to snap some photos and watch the kayakers navigate the rapids below.
    • Couloir Samson: This dramatic viewpoint offers a dizzying look straight down into the narrowest part of the gorge. Not for the faint of heart!
  3. Sentier Blanc-Martel: If you’re up for a hike, this trail offers some of the most incredible views of the gorge. It’s a challenging 14-kilometer trek, but the panoramas are well worth the effort. The trailhead is located near the Point Sublime viewpoint.
Coco Tran — Curated Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/gorges-du-verdon-france/

Best activité gorge du verdon and Things to do at gorges du verdon

Gorges du verdon boat rental

if you really want to get up close and personal with the gorge, you’ve got to rent a kayak or paddleboat at Gorges Du Verdon Bridge:  Pont du Galetas bridge. Imagine gliding through those turquoise waters, feeling like you’re in a whole other world.

And the best part? The cost to rent a boat at Gorges Du Verdon is only about €20 an hour. When you need a break from paddling, just pull up to the shore of Lac de Sainte-Croix for a swim and a picnic. Pro tip: get there early to beat the crowds and the heat. Oh, and don’t forget your sunscreen, hat, and snacks!

Helpful Tip: Go early to beat the crowds and summer heat. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen and a hat.

Hiking at Gorge du verdon

For all you hikers out there, Gorges du Verdon has some incredible trails. The Blanc-Martel trail is a favorite – it’s a 7-hour trek with some seriously stunning views. And if you’re into rock climbing, you’re in luck! The canyon has over 1500 routes for you to conquer. But hey, if extreme sports aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of other stuff to do, like rafting and paragliding.

camping les gorges du verdon

camping in the Gorges du Verdon? Great choice! Imagine waking up to the sound of the river rushing by, stepping out of your tent to see the towering cliffs above you… it’s an experience like no other.

There are plenty of camping options in and around the gorge, ranging from basic tent sites to fully-equipped campsites with all the amenities. Here are a few of the best spots:

  1. Camping de la Ferme de Castellane: Located just outside the town of Castellane, this campsite offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It has a pool, a restaurant, and a variety of accommodation options (including tent sites, caravans, and chalets).
  2. Camping du Verdon: Situated right on the banks of the Verdon River, this campsite is a dream come true for water lovers. It’s got a private beach, canoe and kayak rentals, and even a waterpark! Choose from tent sites, RV spots, or fully-equipped mobile homes.
  3. Camping Les Gorges du Verdon: This eco-friendly campsite is nestled in the heart of the gorge, surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs. It offers tent sites, RV spots, and rustic wooden cabins, as well as a pool, a restaurant, and plenty of outdoor activities.
  4. Camping Domaine de Chanteraine: If you’re looking for a bit more luxury, this campsite has got you covered. It offers fully-equipped cottages and lodges, as well as a spa, a restaurant, and even a mini-golf course. Plus, it’s just a short drive from the gorge itself.

Helpful Tip: If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking or water activities, choose a campsite that’s close to the gorge itself. That way, you won’t have to waste time driving back and forth every day.

Here are a few of the best camping spots in Gorges du Verdon:

CampsiteLocationAmenities
Camping de la Ferme de CastellaneNear CastellanePool, restaurant, tent sites, caravans, chalets
Camping du VerdonOn the Verdon RiverPrivate beach, canoe/kayak rentals, waterpark, tent sites, RV spots, mobile homes
Camping Les Gorges du VerdonIn the heart of the gorgePool, restaurant, outdoor activities, tent sites, RV spots, wooden cabins
Camping Domaine de ChanteraineShort drive from the gorgeSpa, restaurant, mini-golf, cottages, lodges

No matter which campsite you choose, be sure to book in advance – especially during the peak summer months. And don’t forget to pack all your camping essentials: tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, and of course, plenty of s’mores fixings!

Helpful Tip: If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking or water activities, choose a campsite that’s close to the gorge itself. That way, you won’t have to waste time driving back and forth every day.

One thing to keep in mind: while camping in the gorge is an incredible experience, it’s not for everyone. If you’re not a fan of roughing it, or if you prefer more creature comforts, you might be better off staying in a hotel or vacation rental instead. But if you’re up for an adventure and want to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Gorges du Verdon, camping is definitely the way to go.

Gorgess du verdon Canoe

There’s no better way to experience the stunning turquoise waters and towering cliffs of the gorge than from the seat of a canoe.

First things first – where can you rent a canoe? There are several rental options along the Verdon River, but some of the most popular spots are:

  1. Base Nautique de Castellane: Located in the town of Castellane, this rental shop offers canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. They also provide shuttles to drop-off points along the river, so you can choose your own adventure.
  2. Location Verdon Kayak: Situated near the Pont du Galetas bridge, this rental shop is a great starting point for exploring the gorge. They offer canoes, kayaks, and even electric boats for a more leisurely ride.
  3. Canoë Verdon: With locations in both Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, this rental shop offers a variety of canoeing options – from short, 2-hour trips to full-day excursions.

Now, let’s talk about what you can expect on your canoeing adventure. The Verdon River is relatively calm, so you don’t need to be an expert paddler to navigate it. However, there are a few rapids and shallow sections, so be prepared to get a bit wet!

As you paddle down the river, you’ll be surrounded by the stunning scenery of the gorge – towering limestone cliffs, lush greenery, and crystal-clear water. Keep an eye out for wildlife, too – you might spot eagles, vultures, or even mountain goats on the cliffs above.

One of the best things about canoeing in the Gorges du Verdon is the opportunity to stop and explore along the way. There are plenty of hidden beaches and coves where you can pull up your canoe, have a picnic, and even go for a swim. Just be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, water, and snacks – you’ll be out on the water for a while!

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at cliff jumping. There are several popular jumping spots along the river, ranging from mild to wild. But be careful – always check the water depth and conditions before taking the leap.

Helpful Tip: If you’re planning a full-day canoeing trip, start early in the morning to beat the crowds and the heat. And don’t forget to bring a waterproof camera – you’ll want to capture all the incredible views along the way!

Beyond the Canyon gorges du verdon

While you’re in the area, make sure to check out some of the nearby villages. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a must-see – it’s officially one of the most beautiful villages in France! You can browse the ceramic shops and hike up to the cliffside chapel for some killer views. Castellane is another gem, with its cool pentagonal tower and a chapel perched on a cliff. Oh, and if you’re into castles, head to Trigance to see the impressive 11th-century fortress

  • Moustiers-Sainte-Marie – classified as one of France’s most beautiful villages, known for its ceramics and cliffside chapel
  • Castellane – charming streets, a distinctive pentagonal tower, and a chapel perched on a cliff
  • Trigance – medieval village with an imposing 11th-century castle

Final Tips for visiting gorges du verdon

Before you go, let me give you a few final tips.

  • Gorges du Verdon makes an excellent day trip from the French Riviera (2 hrs) or part of a broader Provence itinerary
  • Most activities don’t require reservations, but call ahead for boat/kayak rentals in high season
  • Pack layers as temperatures can vary between the rim and floor of the canyon
  • Visit on weekdays if possible to avoid weekend crowds

Can you swim in Verdon Gorge?

You bet! In fact, swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Gorges du Verdon is one of the best ways to experience its beauty. Whether you’re taking a dip from the shore of Lac de Sainte-Croix or jumping off a paddleboat in the middle of the gorge, the refreshing water is perfect for a hot summer day. Just make sure to bring a towel and sunscreen!

What is the most beautiful gorge in the world?

Well, that’s a tough question – there are so many stunning gorges around the globe! But Gorges du Verdon is definitely up there. In fact, it’s often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Europe” (and trust me, it lives up to the hype). Other contenders for the title of “most beautiful gorge” might include the Samariá Gorge in Greece, the Copper Canyon in Mexico, or the Tiger Leaping Gorge in China. But if you ask me, Gorges du Verdon holds its own against any of them!

Well, there you have it – your ultimate guide to Gorges du Verdon! Trust me, this place is like nowhere else on earth. Whether you’re into adrenaline-pumping activities or just want to soak in the incredible scenery, you’re in for a treat.  If you visited and if you have additional tips to share, comment below! Bon voyage!

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