The sublime ledge (left bank):
By the Napoleon road, at barely 1 hour, the Verdon Gorge offer themselves to us.
The left bank – the famous sublime cornice – offers on about thirty kilometers, magnificent points of view on the grand canyon. From the Mescla balconies to the lake of Ste-Croix, there is no lack of viewpoints …
The Verdon has its source in the commune of Allos at 2,335 m on the slopes of the Tête de la Sestrière. It covers 175 kms in the departments of Alpes de Haute-Provence and Var, then flows into the Durance at St-Paul-lès-Durance, a commune of Bouches-du-Rhône.
The green color of its waters which certainly gave it its name comes from the fluorine and microalgae it contains.
Between Castellane and Moustiers-Ste-Marie, he dug gorges unique in France. It was Martel (1859-1938), one of the founders of speleology, who first explored these gorges in 1905.
In the 20’s, lookouts were built along the canyon, and from 1947, the road to the sublime cornice allows to follow the south bank of the canyon.
Unlike most rivers, the Verdon was never been used as a communication route but rather as a border.
It is regulated by five dams:
- Castillon in St-André-les-Alpes
- Chaudanne near Castellane
- Ste-Croix , the largest with 767 million m3
The Galetas Bridge spans the Verdon at the exit of the gorges. It thus makes the junction between the two departments of the Var and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
107m long and 138m high, the Chaulière bridge (of its real name) was built with a single arch, in reinforced concrete, between 1938 and 1940. Some courageous people – in need of adrenaline – do not hesitate to make a bungee jump above the Artuby river …
Up to the lake of Ste-Croix, the Verdon gorges offer impressive viewpoints on about thirty kilometres!
– The Mescla balconies overhang of 250m the place where the waters of the Verdon mingle with its tributary the Arturby. The word “mescla” implies in Occitan the idea of “mixture”.
– The Fayet tunnels, dug into the rock, run along the cliff 400m high.
– The riders’ cliff
– The Vaumale circus, which owes its name to the spring that flows next to the road, spreads its arc about 700m above the Verdon. The altitude of the road here is 1204m and thesummit of the mountain – the Grand Marjès – reaches 1577m. We can enjoy clear views of the lake of Ste-Croix, as well as Lubéron, Mont Ventoux and the Lure mountain in the distance.
The castle of Aiguines, with its glazed tiles, dates back tp the Renaissance. This very old village has developed a very original economic activity: woodturning. Boxwood petanque balls were nailed to increase their resistance.
To wait a little….
Lake St. Croix
Created in 1975, the lake occupies an area of 2,200 hectares at the exit of the Verdon gorges. Its intense blue-green waters stretch for more than 10 kms and are ideal for all water sports. Crossing the Galetas bridge, we have on one side the entrance to the canyon and on the other, a wide panorama of the lake.
Free lunch in Moustiers-Ste-Marie
Famous for its earthenware, Moustiers-Ste-Marie is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Between the two rocks that frame it above the chapel of N.D. de Beauvoir, shines for centuries a star suspended on a chain, the legnedary ex-voto of a knight who came back alive from the crusades.
The size of the star, originally with five stripes, has varied over time. Today, the 135 m long chain weighs 150 kg and the star, which is gilded with fine gold, measures 1.25 m
A few kilometers away, on the Valensole plateau, lavender flowers in the fields for our greatest pleasure from mid-June to mid-July.
If you are lucky enough to be in the region at this time of year, the excursion – The lavender Road – specially organized around this emblematic flower of Provence is proposed.
On the way back, we will cross the picturesque vineyards of the Var.