In today’s article I will share with you the best road trip itinerary through the Canyon Verdon (Gorges du Verdon), France.
I was 6 years old when I went to the Verdon Canyon for the first time. We went rafting with my mother and since then I got the best memories from this part of France. During my holidays in South of France we drove through the Verdon Canyon on our way back to Germany.
Before hand I looked on what to see and where to stop so that we could enjoy the best part of the Canyon.
We started from our home in the Esterel massif and drove north through what is the pré alpes d’Azur.
Stop 1 : Grasse, Gourdon, Saut du Loup and Gréolières
Those stops are not yet part of the Verdon canyon but the mountainous landscape is already similar to what you will find in the canyon area starting after Grasse. Grasse is always worth a stop. It is a very cute city mixing the charm of the old town with some modern architecture. Also it is the city of perfume. Some you are interested in that topic will have the possibility learn more about that and visit for example the Fragonard museum, one of the oldest perfumer. Depending from where you come it might not really be on the way (you will have to do a small detour) but itinerary is really worth a stop. At Saut du loup you will see some very nice waterfalls for very little money or start a canyoning trail. Continuing north you will pass by Gréolières, a ski station in the winter and a very cute and typical french village in the summer. From there you will drive toward the Verdon Canyon and the next stop will be Castellane.
Stop 2 : Castellane and a hike to Notre Dame du Roc
Castellane is where the Verdon Canyon starts. The village is very cute and colorful from there you can take a 45 minutes hike up to Notre Dame du Roc from which you will have breathtaking views over the canyon Verdon.
Castellane is also the perfect start for going on a canoing or rafting trail. Indeed there the rapids are less strong than further away inside the canyon and therefore is perfect for beginners or children.
Stop 3 : Rougon
Rougon is a cute village nested high in the mountains. It is not that big so we didn’t stop but it is supposed to have the most beautiful views over the canyon. The exact place on where to stop is “Point Sublime” from which you can start a hike in the canyon.
Stop 4 : The best views over the Canyon on the Route des crêtes.
From Rougon, the best is to take the route des Crêtes, it will lead you to 14 Belevedere overlooking the canyon. We stopped at the Carelle Belvedere only because of a lake of time but you should plan at least 3 hours if you would like to do more stops. From the Carelle Belvedere we could already went for a little hike (bring your hiking shoes with you) and observe some eagle and vulture. Truly breathtaking.
Stop 5 : Aiguines and the Sainte Croix Lake
During the afternoon we stopped at the Sainte Croix lake to fresh up. The Sainte Croix lake is a huge artificial lake We rented a pedalo on the lake and wandered into the Canyon. We had a little swim in the cool water and at the end of the afternoon we headed to our Last stop : Moustier Sainte Marie.
Stop 6 : Moustier Sainte Marie
Moustier Sainte Marie, is one of France’s most beautiful village. I guess it is best to go there at the end of the afternoon and hike to Notre Dame de Beauvoir to see the sunset.
If you don’t feel like going up, Moustier still has lots to offer. It has very cute and colorfull streets and the natural waterfall that goes through the village is quite impressive. For those who want to shop something, Moustier is very famous for it’s faience.
If you go back South you can take another itinerary, the so called Lavender route going through the Plateau de Valensole where you will find the most beautiful Lavender fields. You will also pass by some typical french village. Lavender season is from mid June to mid July so it wuld be the best time to go on a road trip at this time.
Tip : Hotels can be quite expensive and full in the Verdon area but there are many very cheap camping so it is best to bring up your tent for a night or two 😉