Are you looking to visit Gorges du Verdon? This spectacular canyon, otherwise known as Verdon Gorge in English, should be on every traveller’s bucket list when travelling through France. In this blog I will outline a suggested itinerary to Gorges du Verdon as well as the best things to do.
Before I do so, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Justine Marchetti and I’m 24 years old. I have lived in the Provence region of France for my entire life. However, I moved around a lot when I was young due to my dad’s work. We always moved around in the same area (Southern France) to places like Nimes, Marseille, Montpellier, Toulon and Clermont-Ferrand.
This region of France is amazing and I adore the sunshine, warmth, villages and gastronomy that it offers. But I also love the mountains – especially the Alps for hiking and skiing. I travelled a lot with my family when my brother and I were young. We visited several countries in Europe like Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Greece and also France.
As a student, I graduated university with a Masters Degree in Website Marketing and had the opportunity to travel abroad in countries such as Morocco and Cuba. This was when I purchased my first hybrid camera. Photography came naturally to me because I have always been fascinated by beautiful places and the desire to capture moments in time.
Visiting Gorges du Verdon
Gorges du Verdon was on my bucket list for a while but I don’t tend to have a travel list which outlines every destination that I am interested in. I guess I love to be surprised by places. I’m in love with the Provence area so I decided to visit Gorges du Verdon. It looked like a stunning place and everyone who visits can’t stop talking about it. I thought to myself: let’s go!
I also live approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes away from the canyon. After experiencing this place, I would describe it as a spectacular, incredible, stunning and authentically beautiful wonder of nature. It perfectly summarises all that is wonderful about the Provence region of France. Every traveller who wants to experience Provence should go there.
My favourite place (although difficult to choose) was Lake Castillon. Firstly, there are fewer tourists here which allows you to enjoy the lake in peace. And secondly, because the landscape is just incredible – different shades of blue on the lake’s water plus the surrounding pine trees and towering mountains. I thought to myself: Oh gosh! Am I in France or Canada?!
4-Day Suggested Itinerary for Gorges du Verdon
Below I will outline the four days that I spent at Gorges du Verdon and its surrounding areas. Feel free to use this itinerary as a template when you are travelling through the area. You might want to visit Gorges du Verdon for the day or go on a multi-day adventure like I did with my boyfriend.
Day 1: Rougon, Point Sublime & Castellane
We started our trip at the village of Rougon which offers beautiful views over the Gorges. Then we went to a place called Point Sublime. This spot lived up to its name – it was incredible! Next, we arrived at our campsite near the village of Castellane and rested after a long day of driving.
Day 2: Lake Castillon & Saint Julien du Verdon
On the next day we decided to head north between Castellane and Saint-Andre-les-Alpes. What an idea this was! Lake Castillon was incredible. We fell in love with its emerald green colours on the boat tour we took which gave us the opportunity to experience the lake without crowds.
We also visited Saint-Julien-du-Verdon and took many pictures. Our goal was to visit a type of monastery here which would be preserved from mass tourism. Unfortunately, it was closed. Afterwards, we paddled on a boat and chilled on the lake for a bit before heading back to Castellane for dinner.
Day 3: Paragliding over Gorges du Verdon
Our third day started by driving to the most famous place of Gorges du Verdon, namely: Pont du Galetas. My boyfriend and I dislike crowded places and therefore we decided to do an original activity to discover the Gorges – a paragliding flight! I will talk more about this experience later on.
I did the paragliding flight alone as my boyfriend suffers from vertigo! But what an activity! After this adrenaline rush, we went to the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. This is one of the most famous villages in Provence.
Day 4: Lake Esparron & Lake of Sainte-Croix
Our final day started off by climbing the hill which overhangs Castellane where a chapel is located. The view over the valley was impressive. Afterwards, we took the road to join the third lake of Verdon, Lake Esparron.
During the trip, we had the chance to follow along the beautiful Lake of Sainte-Croix with its stunning landscapes. Upon arrival, we rented a canoe for two hours to take a tour. A perfect activity to end a magical weekend!
Things To Do in Gorges du Verdon
From my experience there and also taking into consideration what I have read in magazines and travel blogs – I would say that the top 5 things to see and do at Gorges du Verdon are the following experiences/activities:
1. Take in the Views at Point Sublime
The best spot to take in the surrounding beauty of Gorges du Verdon. It’s not just a marketing term with the use of the word “sublime”. It really is a sublime point of reference to take photos and enjoy the gorge’s immensity.
2. Visit the Beautiful Moustiers Sainte-Marie
Moustiers Sainte-Marie is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in France and it’s hard to argue with that description once you arrive. From the church, village walls and chapels, to the charming locals, delicious food and peaceful atmosphere – this is a must-visit in France!
3. Enjoy Lake Castillon and Lake Esparron
Both of these lakes can be experienced in a variety of ways. You can go swimming on a hot summer’s day, simply enjoy the views, go canoeing, paddle on a boat, hire an electric boat or just skip stones with your friends.
4. Go Hiking through the Incredible Gorges
This is the best way to discover the hidden gems of Gorges du Verdon. A couple of fantastic hikes include Imbut Trail, Sentier Blanc-Martel and Basses Gorges du Verdon. Uncover secret caves, tunnels and stairs.
5. Drive the Famous Route des Cretes
Route des Cretes is a 24 km panoramic road which allows you to make stops along the way to enjoy the spectacular vistas. This road starts and ends next to a village called La Palud Sur Verdon.
Favourite Memory from my 4-Days in Gorges du Verdon
I have one favourite memory from my weekend at Gorges du Verdon and it was my paragliding flight! It was amazing and I waited for 10 years to finally do it. I can’t describe the precise feeling but I think everyone has to do it once in their life. Floating like a bird above the Gorges was just incredible!
And it’s a unique way to discover the region. I took my paragliding flight with Roc n’ Vol who are based in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. I recommend my instructor David who was funny and comforting throughout the flight.
Need to Know Before you Go
The two best places to stay for your exploration of Gorges du Verdon are Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. These villages offer restaurants and amenities that other villages don’t. We slept in a campsite next to Castellane to save money for activities and I would recommend this too.
For more tips and pieces of helpful information, I invite you to read the post I dedicated to my paragliding experience on my website: click here to read the article. It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s difficult to move around in the Gorges. The roads are dangerous with sharp and windy turns.
If you suffer from car sickness, prepare yourself with travel sickness pills or by driving slowly. The same is true for fuel. There are very few gas stations so don’t wait to fill up your tank. Many of the distances take longer because of the winding roads. Be prepared for a bit of driving time.
Be patient, drive cautiously and enjoy your experiences! I think Gorges du Verdon deserves at least six days to really discover the hidden gems of this place, not just the popular tourist spots. Thanks for reading and enjoy!