With its dramatic limestone cliffs and azure waters, the Verdon Gorge (Gorges du Verdon) is the French Riviera's answer to the Grand Canyon. If you choose to escape the manicured glamour of St. Tropez and Cannes in favor of the Verdon Canyon, whose exceptional natural beauty provides opportunities to swim, sail, sunbathe, and rock climb on routes that stretch as far as the eye can see, you'll be startled by the beauty of one of France's most delightful secrets.
Whether you're after adventure or relaxation, the Alpes de Haute Provence region has it all. The stretch of the Verdon River that flows between Castellane and Chasteuil boasts Class I-IV rapids, making it an ideal place for thrill seekers looking for rafting. Hiking trails abound, with the 9-mile (14-km) Sentier Martel trail ranking as one of the country's top treks, while the emerald waters of the Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon lake, nestled deep within the limestone canyon, prove the perfect place to swim or sunbathe. For rock climbers, the gorge provides ample adventures with its 15-mile (25-km) network of climbing routes.
Experience the best of Provence (Verdon Gorge included) on a day trip tour from Cannes, Aix-en-Provence, or Nice that also visits the picturesque pilgrimage site of Castellane and the medieval village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, famed for its pottery industry.
How to Get to Verdon Gorge
- The majority of tours departing from Cannes, Aix-en-Provence, and Nice provide hotel pickup and drop-off.
- Choose between a group tour or a private tour, both available with half- and full-day options.
- Outdoor activities range from rock climbing to kayaking.
- Be sure to bring sunscreen, hiking boots, and appropriate attire for outdoor Verdon Gorge adventures.
A couple of hours' drive west from St Tropez, the right bank of the Verdon Gorge is easy to reach from the north (on route D952 from Castellane to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie) by car. From the south, it's better to take to its left bank (on routes D71, D90 and D955 from Aiguines to Castellane). The Verdon Gorge is more difficult to access via public transport.When to Get There
Undoubtedly, the summer months are the perfect time to visit the Verdon Gorge. Reliable sunshine makes all outdoor activities possible, while warm temperatures also allow visitors to camp at the region's many campsites. During summer, tours always pay a visit to the scenic Valensole Plateau and Grasse to see vivid lavender fields burst into bloom.