Views of the wild countryside and spectacular sunsets
Truly breath taking views, an artist's delight. A three story house opposite a restaurant giving the convenience of a hotel. An old village house set in a beautiful village near the Lac de Sainte Croix and Gorges du Verdon. It has a large terrace of 18 m². The village, perched on a hill at an altitude of 630 meters, has maintained its old fashioned Provençal appeal and is in the midst of a nature reserve, which is rich in flora and fauna. The scenery here is astonishing and diverse. This area was never really discovered until the beginning of the 20th century, the two Verdon Gorges have fascinated innumerable visitors ever since. The two canyons are separated by the Lac de Sainte Croix. One is called Les Hautes (upper canyon) and the other is called Les Basses (lower canyon).
Things to do
Relax and watch the world go by.
The Canyon of Baudinard should not be missed. Cliffs of up to 150 meters, home to many caves, beutiful clean turquoise water. It defines the 13 kilometre long path called le Sentier des Basses Gorges. Be warned, it's not for those who are afraid of heights! There are many marked out paths in the area and general walks near the village that are excellent for viewing the diverse Provençale flora of the region. For example, le Sentier Botanique of 2 km in length, or the path du Museau de la Colline which takes you to the 16th century chapel of Notre Dame de la Garde at an altitude of 710 meters. From here, you will enjoy a tremendous vantage point of six departments of the Var.
In Baudinard, you could visit the 11th century church of Saint Michel l'Archange, restored in 1921; le pont Silvestre (built near the remains of a Roman bridge), the three shrines of Ste Catherine, St Espero and St Etienne, or the 14th century dungeon of the Chateau de Sabran. A classified historic building, l'Abbaye de Valmogne, is situated on le chemin de Vaumougne. This superb Roman priory of the 13th century has been recently restored and is well worth a visit. There are walks and hikes along the edge of the river Verdon, as well as walks that take in villages and vantage points. Whatever walk you choose, you can be sure of the most awe-inspiring scenery, a wealth of wildlife and a wide variety of wildflowers, plants and birds.
Action and Adventure Activities
The Gorge and the lakes of the Verdon river are the home of many companies specialising in action and adventure activities such as white water rafting, canoeing, canyoning, kayaking, sailing, water skiing, climbing, trekking, mountain bike rides paragliding, free flight, gliding, and horse riding. It is also one of the most memorable settings in the world for fishing. It is sheer nature at its best featuring crystal clear emerald waters and white canyon cliffs 700 meters high above your head. It is a paradise for hikers, climbers and fly-fishers.
Le Parc naturel du Verdon
The Gorge and Lake are in a Natural Park, and there has been a successful programme over the last few years to re-introduce wildlife such as golden eagles and vultures, which can frequently be seen souring above the mountains or down into the Gorge. There are many different varieties of lizards and geckoes to be seen on a hot day as well as crickets and cicadas. The scenery is enhanced by the abundance of wild flowers and shrubs throughout the year. In April the acacia trees bring white fragrant blossoms whilst the elegant wild irises are a mass of colour and the rarer dwarf varieties in their different colours and hues can often be spotted. May brings the vibrant yellow blooms which abound on the mountain and roadsides. Wild flowers such as the delicate purple columbine, sweet peas, and many varieties of orchid are numerous in the area.
The Grand Canyon du Verdon
The Gorge du Verdon is the world’s 2nd largest gorge, approximately 20km long and plunging more than 300m in places. This immense and magnificent canyon straddles the departments of Var and the Alpes de Hautes Provence. The Gorge du Verdon is one of Europe’s great natural wonders; formed where the blue-green Verdon river cuts a deep swathe through the high limestone plateau of Haute Provence. Often called Europe's Grand Canyon , this truly spectacular canyon is over 25 kilometres long and in places over 1000 metres deep, and the great cliffs are a playground for rock climbers. Although it's much smaller than Arizona's Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon 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.
Lac de Ste. Croix
This magnificent turquoise lake was formed by the Barrage (dam) de Ste. Croix, built on the Verdon river in 1975. Sitting on the open Plateau de Valensole and the Grand Plan de Canjuers, the lake has a feeling of endless space and light. At the north eastern end of the lake at the Pont du Galetas, an almost invisible slot in the mountain wall hides the deep, wild Verdon canyon where the rushing green waters of the river enter the lake.
There are hikes starting from the ancient villages around the lake. There is easy access to most of the lake shore, and plenty of beaches and picnic areas. As the lake is so large the summer visitors are accomodated without a feeling of overcrowding its vast surface. On the plateau above the Lake are miles of lavender fields, which are truly spectacular when in flower, around June and July. The Lake, which the river of the Gorge feeds into, is normally bright blue, reflecting the sun.
Although the village of Ste-Croix-de-Verdon gave the lake its name, the village of Les Salles-sur-Verdon on the opposite side is more a part of the lake itself: the old village rests 40 metres below the surface of the water. When the dam was built, Les Salles-sur-Verdon moved to higher ground, taking some of the old village with it, including the church bell tower and the fountain.