Have you heard of the Gorges du Verdon located between Haut-Var and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence ? It's a safe bet that yes, this tourist hotspot is known by many French people and inhabitants of the whole planet, it is so superb. If you've never been there, hurry up and pack your bags, because we're going to make you want to go there as soon as possible with the good weather coming.
The Hautes-Gorges du Verdon start from the top of Lac de Sainte-Croix to the town of Castellane. The clear, turquoise-colored river meanders between stunning cliffs with 2,500 climbing routes from 250 to 700 meters in height, practiced by experienced professionals and some initiated and accompanied beginners. The Gorges du Verdon are the natural border between the departments of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Var. These gorges appeared from the time of the tertiary era to the construction of the Alps. The Verdon dug them over the centuries. It was not until the 19th century AD that they attracted the attention of visitors. Between 1926 and 1975, five dams were built on the river and this is how the Lac de Sainte-Croix appeared.
If you want to visit the Gorges du Verdon, you can follow the road that runs along them by car and stop at the various remarkable viewpoints that are:
Or at different points of view indicated on the road.
You can also rent a pedal boat or a canoe at one of the many nautical bases around Lake Sainte-Croix and explore the beginning of the high gorges by pedaling.
The least tiring is to rent an electric motor boat without a license to enjoy your ride.
You can consult the various nautical bases online and book your electric boat on the site of the one that suits you best. There are several of them, they are all equal and the boats are identical. Be careful, if you want to rent an electric boat for a day, half a day or a few hours, during the months of July and August, plan at least four days in advance because there are so many people during the summer period. Otherwise, you will have to queue on the spot without guaranteed results.
If you want to discover the lake of Sainte Croix in peace, you can rent an electric boat from several villages such as Bauduen . Piloting is very easy and accessible to all. You will be able to discover the beautiful castle of Aiguines , the reconstructed village of Salles-sur-Verdon and stroll along the water in a silent and non-polluting boat. Let yourself be seduced by the special azure waters of this lake and admire the fauna and flora all around on its banks. If you are going during the day, plan a picnic and stop on one of the many natural beaches between lavender fields and yellow and ocher clay soils.
To enter the Grand Canyon Gorges du Verdon, it is recommended to rent an electric boat at one of the nearest bases. Be careful, some of them do not take reservations and rent their boats for a maximum of two hours. The price is around 20 € per hour. You can pay by credit card, cash or holiday vouchers. The first departures take place between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. in summer and end around 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for the last ones. On days of strong wind, a prefectural decree prohibits navigation by boat. You can go on a four-seater boat. Dogs are generally accepted everywhere. The boats have a canopy to put you in the shade and a life jacket is provided per person. On the other hand, if you leave Bauduen, plan the day to visit the grand canyon as well as the island of Costebelle near Salles-sur-Verdon.
The lower gorges of the Verdon are less known and frequented than those starting from the lake of Sainte Croix, but they are also magnificent. You can leave from Lac de Quinson or Esparron and go up the low gorges for 9 km . This walk is also very pleasant and you can swim in the summer as well as picnic on the banks of the river. You have the option of renting an electric boat for half a day or for the whole day. As the current of the Verdon is very weak, it is possible to take this family outing with young children. The round trip in this part of the Verdon takes 4 hours. You can admire semi-submerged caves , and even visit them for some. It is better to book your boat to be sure to have it in summer or arrive before 9 am on site.
You are in a regional natural park , so certain rules must be followed. You will find beacons and navigational buoys . At the Saint-Maurin waterfall , you are prohibited from docking, because the area is classified as natural and sensitive. You must not leave any waste on the banks or in the water and it is totally forbidden to jump from the Pont de Galétas .
The prices are different according to the renters. For half a day , you can count between 80 and 120 € for boats with 5 to 7 seats. For the full day , plan €150 to €180 depending on the capacity of the boat you choose.
In any case, by renting an electric boat on the high gorges and the lake of Sainte Croix or the lower gorges of the Verdon between Quinson and Esparron, you will discover unique, natural and wonderful landscapes. We advise you to make this visit in May, June or September when there are fewer people to make the most of it.