In southern Haute Provence, the Verdon area is legendary! An enchanting name, synonymous with turquoise water, colourful sails, impressive gorges and scents of Provence.
Its spectacular landscape was shaped five million years ago by a turbulent torrent which forced its way through the arid plateaus of Haute Provence, between the Haute-Provence Alps and the Var – Alpine and Mediterranean environments. The tormented landscape of the site – today famous for its great gorges – was born from the shock of the volcanic forces of Earth and the withdrawal of the Mediterranean sea. Unique landscape in Europe, the Verdon river has dug its bed over several tens of kilometres.
Verdon and its great lake: the lake of Sainte Croix, like a huge turquoise tablecloth of 2200 hectares with still waters, is stretching out as a wide mirror reflecting the sky on one side and the engulfed farming valley on the other side. The hydroelectric dam was built in 1974. In the middle of an unspoiled landscape and beauty, the water-based activities are practised all year round and complement more ancient activities such as the traditional pottery craft in Moustiers.
Upside down mountain, the Grand Canyon of Verdon has long been regarded as frightening. A long time ago, some people gathered boxwood, roped together, and were not afraid to venture into the green darkness, between the two high rocky walls. You can spot it from the lookouts, some of them reaching an elevation of more than 700 m above the river. Today, climbers follow in their footsteps and walkers take the paths Isidore White and Edouard-Alfred Martel opened in 1905, to make an easy approach to the river tamed by the dams. Up there in the light, under the majestic sliding of vultures reintroduced in the wild, the 7 villages of the gorges are the gatekeepers of this great classified mineral monument. Fom their vantage point, we have the most beautiful images. Between their walls, secrets are carefully disclosed and shared with museums. And with our tour guides the most amazing encounters will happen with mineral and plant, with history and heritage.
The Valensole plateau, huge sea of pebbles gathered over several hundreds of metres thick, is the kingdom of durum and hybrid lavender – lavandin – (cross between two different types of lavender). Its colours vary over the seasons: gold and blue lavender at the beginning of summer, red and grey in the middle of winter. The geometric line-up of plantations, the fields bordered by almond trees, the cube-shaped wooded areas and the villages nestled in the valleys to shelter from the Mistral wind, draw the outlines of a French garden that stretches out as far as the eye can see. This landscape, one of the most striking sceneries in Provence, owes its beauty to human’s work.
This unique environment, whose biodiversity is both rich and fragile, is protected by the Verdon Regional Natural Park.