Today I am sharing a south of France road trip idea that I took recently. My Provence itinerary taking you on a route in the Gorges du Verdon. France’s most famous canyon.
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 with our rental car 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 Verdon Gorge area.
We started our road trip in the South of France, from our home in the Esterel massif and drove north through what is the pré-alpes d’Azur.
Provence itinerary, from Grasse, the perfume capital, to Castellane
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 perfume capital of the world. Those interested in that topic will have the possibility to learn more about perfume and visit for example the Fragonard museum, one of the oldest perfumer.
Depending from where you come do not miss Saut du Loup and Gréolières. It might not really be on the way (you will have to do a small detour) but those stops are 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 Gorge and the next stop will be Castellane.
Start of Gorges du Verdon : Castellane village church
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 canoeing or rafting trail. Indeed there the rapids are less strong than further away inside the canyon and therefore is perfect for beginners or children.
Rougon – Point Sublime in Verdon Canyon
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 Verdon Canyon. The exact place on where to stop is “Point Sublime” from which you can start a hike in the canyon.
Driving in Provence – Route des crêtes, for the best views over the Gorges du verdon
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.
Swim in the turquoise water of St Croix Lake in the Gorges du Verdon, France
During the afternoon we stopped at the Sainte Croix lake to fresh up. The Sainte Croix lake is a huge artificial lake situated in the Verdon Gorge. We rented a pedalo on the lake and wandered into the Verdon 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.
Driving to south of France, where to stop – Moustiers Sainte Marie, one of France’s most beautiful village
Moustiers 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, Moustiers 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 pottery.
Provence Itinerary via Lavender route
If you go back South you can take another itinerary, the so called lavender route, indeed, you would be missing out if you go in a road trip in Provence and you don’t see the lavender fields.
The Lavender route is going through the Plateau de Valensole where you will find the most beautiful Lavender fields of France. You will also pass by some typical french village. Lavender season is from mi-June to mid-July so it would be the best time to go on a road trip in Provence 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 😉
The Plateau de Valensole where you will find the most beautiful Lavender fields of France.
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