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Your Guide To The Gorges du Verdon

Post by Sharat | May 28, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Your Guide To The Gorges du Verdon

Many people like to refer to the Gorges of the River Verdon as the Grand Canyon of Europe and its not hard to see why, it is extraordinarily beautiful. Like its North American counterpart, the River Verdon carved out the canyon and there is a stunning turquoise river that flows at the base of some very high limestone cliffs. Because of its extraordinary beauty it is part of the official list of Grand Sites of France.

Exploring the Gorges du Verdon

The canyon is very popular with both tourists who choose to explore it in their vehicles or those who prefer to kayak, raft or walk along the banks of the river. Other popular activities are of course rock climbing and fishing. The canyon itself measures 700 metres at its deepest and at its widest about 1500 metres. It is estimated that the canyon developed over 2 million years and in 1997 the Natural Regional Park was created to ensure its unique environment remains protected.

Driving the Gorges du Verdon

You can choose to do a 130-kilometre drive along the top of the Gorges but be aware that the routes are slow which is an advantage because it does give you time to take in the stunning views. The main route is a drive between Aiguines and Moustiers-Saint-Marie in the West or if you are in the East you can choose to drive between Trigance and Castellane. There are plenty of rest spots along the routes where you can stop and enjoy the scenery. Occasionally you will perhaps want to stay a while at one of these spots so make sure you allocate lots of time for the drive.

Hiking the Gorges du Verdon

If you are more of the active kind of person you can take a 15-kilometre hike along a path known as the Sentier Martel that will take you through the canyon. If you are not perturbed by heights, this is a fabulous hike to do but make sure you have a good pair of hiking boots and enough water to get you through the walk. If you don’t want to trek all the way back then you can choose to take a taxi or minibus back to your car after you have completed your hike.

Canoeing and rafting

There are plenty of spots where you can enjoy the pleasures of kayaking and rafting but they do depend on how experienced you are in these activities and also upon the season. If you like to canoe and are experienced, then the best place to visit is the section of the upper gorges between Saint Andre and Allos but make sure you visit between late Spring and early Summer. If you don’t have a lot of experience kayaking then head to the pre-gorges which is open for most of the year with the exception of Winter. Most tourists are casual and prefer to rent pedalos and canoes next to the Pont de Galetas and if you decide this is doe you will see plenty of other boats in the water because it is a great way to end your tour if you have spent most of the day sitting in your car.

Lac du Saint Croix and Gorge du Verdon by Mike Sloan, on Flickr

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