Gorges du Verdon
Verdon Gorge in South-Eastern France
Views over Castellane
Scenic view of old village Moustiers Sainte-Marie in Provence
Square in Manosque, Alpes de Haute Provence, France
Aiguines (Verdon, France)
Lake of Esparron
Discovering the region’s most extraordinary viewpoints
The Verdon gorges are one of those legendary places in France that you must see at least once in your life!
The canyon du Verdon brings together all the ingredients for a successful stay: sumptuous landscapes, magnificent, exceptional, beautiful winding roads and sunshine almost all year round.
You will leave Manosque for a three-day tour.
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The starting point of your circuit in the Verdon Gorges is Manosque, a rounded old town, lying on the last hillsides of the Luberon.
Start with the view from the top of Mont d’Or that overlooks the town: towards Sisteron, with a slope of 18% before the summit (10mins on foot), the ruins of a tower and remains of a chateau of the counts of Forcalquier. From here, you will also spot old Manosque, the Saunerie Gate, the Notre-Dame-de-Romigier church, the town hall and its facade…
From Manosque to the Verdon, cross the EDF canal, the motorway and the Durance, before heading down to Vinon-sur-Verdon to cross the Verdon for the first time.
Beyond, begins the road known as the Corniche Sublime, a route that reaches tourist perfection: the road is really a search for passages and the most extraordinary views!
The Col d’Illoire gives your first viewpoint of the Grand Canyon. A little further, the circque of Vaumale sees the road get closer to the gorges and reaches its highest point at 1,202m, 700m above the Verdon, giving the impression of flying over the opposite side.
After the balcons de la Mescla, the road moves away from the canyon, meandering through the scrubland. At Comps-sur-Artuby, take a left twice to Jabron. From the village, turn right towards Castellane via a small road that begins to wind merrily after the Chapel St-Thyrse, isolated in a superb location.
Spend your first night in Castellane.
MyTripTailor advice: the traffic on the Corniche Sublime is extremely congested in summer and the road is narrow, so be very careful.
In Castellane, one can’t fail to be struck by the difference in scale between the small town and the dominating 184 metre Cyclopean cliff, at the top of which stands the small chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Roc.
Leave Castellane in the direction of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and La Palud-sur-Verdon to discover the north bank of the Verdon Gorges. At the exit of the second tunnel, a road on the left bears off towards the Pointe Sublime. This belvedere which dominates the bed of the Verdon from 180 metres is an essential stop, offering a splendid view of the entrance to the Grand Canyon.
Take the D952 and, just before La Palud, don’t miss the beginning of the route des Crêtes on the left (one way). Be careful if you’re subject to vertigo, the six lookouts that follow one another overhang the gorges are so high that they could almost be seen as aerial views.
The road takes you directly to La Palud-sur-Verdon, an ideal place for a drink to recover from your emotions.
The road then winds down to Moustiers where you spend your second night.
MyTripTailor advice: there is free parking in Castellane at each entry to the village and in the centre on the Place Marcel-Sauvaire (around the fountain). Take note, the market is held here on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the square is crowded during summer.
You wake in the charming amphitheatre village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie that sits in an amazing location at the foot of a breach carved into the cliff that overlooks the rooftops.
Take the first exit on the right from the roundabout at the entrance to the village and head up. Off season, you will find a place in the first car park on the left, just after the street that climbs steeply towards the upper car parks. In summer, you will probably need to make do with these, meaning a slightly longer walk to stroll through the old village and visit the Musée de la Faïence (earthenware) that earned the town its reputation.
At the village’s exit roundabout, take the road to Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, via a succession of beautiful steep bends in the forest.
You can now either go to enjoy the beach at the lake or continue to Aups. Just after the bridge next to the lake dam, turn right and then a second right towards Montpezat. From here, follow the course of the Verdon north of the Lower Verdon gorges as far as Lac d’Esparron and Gréoux-les-Bains, before finding the road to Manosque.
MyTripTailor Advice: Many car parks have been built at the top and bottom of the village in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. A tip, avoid those at the bottom, from which it winds steeply upwards.
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