The largest canyon in Europe, just one-hour drive away from Digne les Bains, offers breathtaking scenery in the heart of the Verdon Regional Natural Park. Its cliffs – one of the best rock climbing spots in the world – vary in terms of altitude between 250 and 700 metres! Formed and carved by the Verdon river over millennia, the Grand Canyon is situated between Castellane and Moustiers Sainte Marie. You can follow the road along the gorges and discover the majestic and striking landscapes as well as the hilltop villages. What stunning scenery!
Helpful hint: come in the springtime or in autumn and you will get the chance to know Haute Provence in a more intimate way! By car, on foot or by boat: choose your own exploration.
The canyon is cut into two shores, between the Haute Provence Alps and the Var. From Castellane, we recommend that you take the Crests Road – Route des Crêtes – situated on the right bank. Quickly the canyon comes into sight and the lookouts offer spectacular views. Maybe you will see the vultures nesting in the rocky walls above the village of Rougon.
The starting point of the Crests Road – Route des Crêtes (D23) – is at the exit of la Palud sur Verdon, small village towards Rougon. At the end of the day, you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the lake of Sainte Croix du Verdon or a visit to the ceramics workshops in Moustiers Sainte Marie.
The marked trails will lead you to the heart of the Grand Canyon. Beautiful hiking trails for all levels: family trails (Sentier des Pêcheurs: 3h-loop) or more technical and challenging trails (Sentier de l’Imbut: 5h30-loop).
But the highlight is the Martel Trail – Sentier Blanc Martel – (between la Palud sur Verdon and Rougon) which, on 15 km, goes through the most extraordinary parts of the gorges. Go from Chalet de la Maline to “Point Sublime” (shuttle service operating during the summer season). It takes a whole day and you must bring your own flashlight for tunnels!
Many guidebooks are for sale at the Tourist Offices of Castellane, Moustiers Sainte Marie and Sainte Croix du Verdon.
From the Galetas bridge, at the exit of Moustiers Sainte Marie, you will have the opportunity to sail up the emerald-green canyon river on a few kilometres by pedalo, canoe or electric boat.
If you’re a thrill-seeker, see you in Castellane! Prepare to be blown away by rafting, hydrospeed, canyoning or river hiking trails – with experienced professionals.