Thinking of that perfect mini break away? Well, our travel writer Katrina Santos Baron shares her tips for a fantastic trip to the sunny and picturesque Majestic Gorges de Verdon.
You can find out more about Katrina and read oodles of her fantastic writing on her own blog Katscapades.
Gorges de Verdon is a river canyon that is often considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful. It is located in the midst of the region of the French Riviera and Provence, about 2 hours drive from Nice or from Marseille. I’ve just ticked another item in my bucket list as we spent our whole Saturday at this majestic place. Five of us left Nice early in the morning, packed our food and mats for picnic and had our wishful thinking that the water’s gonna be warm enough to swim as it is not yet summer. We were lucky with the spring weather, sunny at 20ish degrees but the water was still ice cold.
Crossed on foot by hikers all over the world, the Verdon has become a natural site protected since 19901. Although it’s much smaller than Arizona’s Grand Canyon, the Gorges du Verdon is deep, compact, wild and beautiful. From Castellane to the village of Rougons, the Verdon river flows clear and swift, and the road follows along the banks. At Rougons, by the Point Sublime, the river plunges into the narrow rock walls, and there’s no escape until it comes out the western end before flowing into Lac de Ste Croix2.
The place offers various activities for all ages to enjoy whether you’re with family, friends and/or partner. You may explore the area by hiking or cycling, look at the specular view from above through paragliding, climb the world-famous rocks, or camp amongst one of its sites. Water sports lovers can go canoeing, rafting, stand up water surfing, water bike paddle boating (like what we did) and others. Of course, swimming is a must if the water’s warm enough. We’d love to go back in few weeks’ time and try paragliding!
If you would simply like to relax and enjoy nature’s picturesque view whilst having a picnic, Lac de Ste Croix is a perfect spot.
I’ve also put together some outdoor skincare tips plus quick-fix hairstyling for women:
I used Avène’s sunblock (from the goodiebag I got during my last visit at the Hydrocentre) and I must say it is the best sunblock cream I’ve ever tried. It is non-greasy and has a pleasant smell unlike other creams I used in the past. I love the composition, spreads easily without leaving white marks on my skin and it is very light considering its high SPF protection and water resistance. Of course my skin got oiler in the afternoon as I had a good-paddle-workout through the river so I sprayed Avène Thermal Spring Water and wiped my face with a clean tissue. I’m not a fan of make-up when actively doing outdoor stuff. For quick-fix outdoor hairstyling, I just braided my hair in the morning (it works better if you sleep with your braid overnight), loosened it in the afternoon and tied it back with a simple ponytail as it got warmer. Viola, no need for electric curlers! 🙂
For more information on how to visit the Gorges de Verdon, see below:
Here are the principal places for information about the Verdon Canyon. The Office de Tourisme or Mairie in other villages of the region also have information on the Gorges de Verdon.
- Aiguines (83630)
- Tel: 0494 70 21 64; Fax: 0494 70 20 41
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Parc Naturel Régional du Verdon
- Tel: 0492 74 63 95; Fax: 0492 74 63 94
- Tel: 0492 83 61 14; Fax: 0492 83 76 89
- Email: email@example.com
- Web: http://www.castellane.org
Transportation Verdon Gorges
Marseille – Gréoux – Riez – Castellane Bus FH-27
LER line 27 (part A): 3 buses/day, between Marseille and Riez, trip time 2 hrs. Stops: Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Venelles, Meyrargues, Peyrolles, Pont Mirabeau, St Paul-lez-Durance, Vinon, Gréoux-les-Bains, St Martin-de-Bromes, Allemagne-en-Provence, Riez.
LER line 27 (part B): 1 bus a day between Riez and Castellane (via the Gorges-de-Verdon), trip time 1h30. Stops: Riez, Roumoules, Moustiers-Ste-Marie, Lapalud, Rougon, Pont de Soleil, Castellane.
• On the LER website (http://www.info-ler.fr/fr/lignes-horaires/carte-et-fiches-horaires-n287. , select Ligne 27: Marseille / Greoux / Castellane to display the bus schedule PDF.