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Atypical villages

The Val d’Allos

The Val d’Allos

Located in the Mercantour park, the Val d’Allos is home to the source of the Verdon river which descends from the Col d’Allos and flows to the Grand Canyon . In 1989, the village of Allos was regrouped, under the name of Val d’Allos, with two ski resorts, “La Foux d’Allos” and “Seignus d’Allos”: this made possible to creation of the most important ski resort in the Southern Alps with 165 km of slopes..

Allos lake

Val d’Allos- The Village

The village of Allos is located at 1,425 meters above sea level. With an area of 116 km² and 788 year-round inhabitants. Its economic reconversion in the 1960s allowed this village to have a very important tourist capacity .

This village is lucky to havethe highest altitude lake in Europe , which gives it a strong appeal for tourists . To be able to admire it, you will have to walk minimum 45 minutes from the Laus car park (the car park at the top). You can also reach it from a lower car park, for the more athletic. The climb will then be in the forest to reach the parking lot from above. Today the village of Allos lives entirely from tourism activity, only 3 breeders and producers are active in the village. Agricultural activities have sharply declined in the high mountains. That’s why in 2005 the Local Urban Plan wanted to set up a balance between a exploited rural space by mountain agriculture, and an urbanization limited to the economic needs of mountain tourism.

Val d’Allos: Seignus d’Allos resort

The Seignus d’Allos ski resort was first born in 1936, it is located just above the village at 1500 meters above sea level. This resort offers many activities. Like downhill skiing or snowboarding for thrill seekers, marked snowshoe walks for hiking enthusiasts, cross-country skiing in the forest and also downhill mountain biking in summer.

La foux d’Allos: ski resort in the Southern Alps

La foux d’Allos is a station located 1800 meters above sea level. It was established in 1937, located 9 km from the village of Allos. The station presents a typical architecture mountain with its wooden chalets, which gives it a lot of stamp . But its main asset is of course its ski resort: which is almost always sunny on its 5 sides. When the snow conditions allows it, this station is linked to an Ubayan station called Pra Loup in order to form an area of 230 km of tracks called the Light Space domain. It is a family ski resort, with the “Famille plus” label.

The spring snowmelt of the Val d’Allos feeds the lakes of Castillon and Chaudanne. And thus allows the practice of white water activities on the Verdon such as a canoe-kayak trip.

Come and book your family rafting activity on the Verdon or the Trott’Elec .

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Atypical villages

The village of Annot

The village of Annot

The village of Annot, which has received the ” village and city of character ” label, is located in the Alpes de Haute Provence department. About 1 hour by car from the Verdon Grand Canyon, which is known worldwide for its sandstone as well as its medieval city. The old village of Annot has kept all its medieval charm, many buildings have been preserved and restored in order to maintain the authenticity of the village. While strolling in this small village you will be able to find a mill, an old college (which was known as far as Marseille). You can see a wash house where the women did their laundry. But also a church where all the villagers met on Sundays. Many small signs will tell you about the history of the village and those old buildings.

Every year at Pentecost, the villagers celebrate : “Saint-Fortunat”, where you can admire a marching band parade in Napoleonic period costumes.

The Grès d’Annot

Annot is not known just for its medieval village, it is also known for its sandstones, which have a geological particularity . These were formed millions of years ago, so men built on these rocks to make their habitats long time ago.

Sandstone is a rock very crumbly which breaks down into what is more commonly referred to as sand. You should know that this rock does not stop the sources. They allow the watercourse to continue to flow freely thanks to the small flaws that they have inside. These sources have long fed the villagers of Annot, until today where they still feed the high gardens.

Annot sandstones benefit from a sandy soil , which allowed chestnut trees to develop easily. If you walk on the heights of Annot, you will be able to notice an old Chataigneraie. They date, for some trees, more than 100 years. This chestnut grove has long fed the population of the country of Annot. But in the last century it was abandoned. However, the Free Trade Union Association which represents several municipalities has decided to bring back to life the chestnut grove. And to revive it in order to create “the chestnut cream of the sandstone of Annot”.

The Grès d’Annot hike

In this village you will find a very nice hike of about 4 hours. Where you will discover, among other things, the famous “King’s Room and Gardens”. During this hike you will find panels having numbers with a flashcode. The flashcode is a tool which allows you to scan it with your phone and which sends you directly to a web page in order to give you information. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can find a booklet at the Annot tourisme office. It will provide you with information on the hike. These points, all along the route, will provide you with information on different subjects such as geology, history, and even on legends which feed this particular site.

For more information on the village of Annot and its walk, go to the website of the Annot tourist office , you will also find information on activities such as rafting , canoeing or kayaking . Trott’Elec . Take advantage of being in Annot to test the Deval’Bike, rich in thrills!

annot bridge

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Did you also know that Haute Provence Outdoor offers electric scooter rides in the village of Annot ? Check this link for more information!

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Atypical villages

City of Grasse

The city of Grasse

A town on the French Riviera

Grasse is one of the sub-prefectures from the Alpes Maritimes in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Its inhabitants are called the Grassois.

In addition to his historical Center it is made up of 10 districts and hamlets, each with their own city hall, school and character. This municipality covers 45 km2 with steep drops.

You can observe in the roman cathedral of Grasse a lot of painting, some done by Rubens . The city is made of narrow streets with some pretty hidden gardens. It is commonly called the balcony on the Mediterranean sea thanks to its breathtaking views. Many events , exhibitions on art, and the history of perfumery are organized during the year.

It is labeled city of art and history but also city of flowers. In 2014, the savoir-faire specific to this city and for which it became known, the perfume, were added to the intangible heritage of France.

And finally after years of procedures and meetings, in 2018 this knowledge was included in the Cultural and Intangible Heritage of Humanity .

Grasse and its perfumeries

The town of Grasse is known for its perfumeries and its perfume factories in the heart of the city, such as the most famous, the perfumery Fragonard or Molinard that you can visit.

There is also the nose training center and museums which allow you to understand everything about this exceptional savoir-faire and manufacturing secrets . Even the greatest perfumers get their supplies in Grasse.

Great perfume such as Dior or Chanel were created here. The beginnings of perfume in the city of Grasse go back to the Middle Ages. At that time the city was specialized in leather tanning , which spread a very strong smell . One day, the tanner Galimard, created scented leather gloves, to cover that smell. This pair of gloves was offered to Catherine de Medici! This fashion gained momentum at the Royal Court and in all high society.

The tanners began to produce scented gloves which then gave way to the perfume alone.

Ensued the production of several types of flower, to have a quality raw material, such as lavender, orange blossom, mimosa, rose and jasmine (the city’s emblematic flower).

Chanel has its own plantation of roses and jasmine in the countryside of Grasse to be able to manufacture their essences .

Its twinnings

To develop international exchanges , it organizes international fairs, presentations of knowledge, develops cultural and sporting meetings . Already internationally oriented thanks to perfumery, it has relationships with several twin cities and friends such as Carrara in Italy. Or, Ingolstadt in Germany, Murcia in Spain, Marblehead in the USA, Opole in Poland, Villa real in Portugal…

With its twin cities, it participates in a humanitarian project in Burkina Faso, in the town of Legmoin to supply the town with water.

Take advantage of being not far from the Verdon to try out one of our activities!

At HPO, we offer several activities to discover the Verdon region. You will find there in particular rafting , Jumps Paddle , aqua hiking or Trott’Elec !

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Atypical villages

The village of Rougon

Stop off in Rougon, a Provencal village at altitude

If you are staying in the Gorges du Verdon, do not miss out on discovering Rougon! This charming Provencal village located in altitude will offer you a magnificent panorama of the landscapes of the Alpes de Haute Provence.

Perched at more than 900 meters in height, the village of Rougon overlooks the Sublime Point and the Gorges du Verdon . You will find it a little away from the road along the Gorges du Verdon. After stopping off at Point Sublime , don’t hesitate to take the small winding road that leads there… You won’t regret this little detour! Far from the hustle and bustle of modern life , this pretty little village has everything to charm you.

To discover: medieval architecture… and vultures!

Built in the 9th century, Rougon is a medieval village which has retained all its character with its old houses and some ruins. Do not miss those of the castle, an important testimony of our history! Two old bridges are also to be noted for their age and their architecture: the Tusset bridge and the Carajuan Bridge.

Pont de Tusset - view from the sky
Starry night - Rougon village - Verdon gorges

Rougon is one of the 46 member municipalities of the Verdon Regional Natural Park . The village can be the starting point for walks and hikes. For example, the famous Blanc-Martel trail which will lead you to the Verdon river for unforgettable moments.

And above all, don’t forget to raise your head… Thanks to its elevated location, Rougon is a very privileged place to bird watching, especially vultures that you may have the chance to see during a Aqua trekking with the route Tusset Bridge or the Corridor Samson.

Vultures - Princes of the Verdon

Want an idea of an outdoor activity in the area? Come and learn about the all-terrain electric scooter , a new 100% eco-friendly and super fun machine!

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Atypical villages

The village of Demandolx

Visit Demandolx, a perched village in a beautiful natural setting

Planted at nearly 1200 meters above sea level, the village of Demandolx overlooks Lake Chaudanne and Lake Castillon.

If you visit the Verdon, don’t hesitate to stop off at Demandolx! In this village populated by a hundred souls, you will be able to appreciate the calm and the charm of the small streets. Without forgetting of course the exceptional view of the lakes of Chaudanne and the lake of Castillon whose azure color mingles with the green of the vegetation.

Pretty houses and a sublime view of the lakes

In the alleys of the center of Demandolx, you can stroll and discover pretty little houses with colorful shutters and flower gardens and renovated or old barns. You will also come across the ruins of a medieval castle and a church on your way.

Ruin of Demandolx - Dam of Castillon

After visiting Demanldox, you can also stop over at Castellane , a very pretty village located about ten kilometers and a must for all lovers of outdoor sports , you will find rafting , canyoning , canoeing , Deval’bike and without forgetting the flagship activity which allows you to visit the Grand Canyon du Verdon by swimming, aquatic hiking and the course of the Samson corridor .

Aqua trekking grand canyon of Verdon - Le couloir Samson

Demanldox can also be the starting point for hiking trails. A little further from Demandolx but also a must: Trigance, a Provençal and atypical village to discover by Trott’Elec !

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Atypical villages

The village of Castellane

The village of Castellane, an essential stopover during your stay in the Verdon

You will not be able to spend a stay in the Gorges du Verdon without going through Castellane! Very lively in summer, the village of Castellane offers a wide range of shops and services in a very charming environment.

Notre Dame du Roc - Castellane Alpes de haute Provence

Located at the gates of the Gorges du Verdon, the village of Castellane is part of a very beautiful environment. When you approach it, you first see a large rock overlooked by a small chapel. Fortifications surround the old town, and you will enter the center through ancient porches. In the center, Place Marcel Sauvaire leads to small shopping streets or quieter ones. The city can be discovered on foot, by wandering and getting lost in these small streets.

A historic village, the starting point for visiting the region

Village tinged with history, Castellane is a historic town whose architecture is sure to seduce you. Observe carefully all the testimonies of our history: the Saint-Victor church of the 12th century , of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, or the town hall , of neoclassical style. Don’t miss the 13th century Pentagonal Tower and if you’re brave, climb up to the Notre-Dame-du-Roc chapel . After half an hour of walking, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city.

Castellane Gorges du Verdon - le Roc

In summer, the village of Castellane is very lively, with its many restaurants and terraced cafes, and its small shops. You will find a lot of information on the region and the activities.

Outdoor sports lovers flock to come and enjoy the crystal clear waters offered by the Verdon River and set off to discover the Grand Canyon by rafting , water hiking or canoeing . If you prefer to stay dry, come and learn about the all-terrain electric scooter , a new eco-friendly and fun machine to discover the village of Trigance.

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Atypical villages

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, one of the most beautiful villages in France

The Provencal village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie offers a very rich history and heritage as well as a splendid view of the surrounding nature.

Benefiting from an exceptional geographical location, the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie rises to more than 600 meters above sea level. Moreover, it is located at the crossroads of the routes taken by tourists in the Verdon, downstream from the Canyon . South of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie you will find the sublime blue waters of lake of Sainte-Croix.

Sunset on the lake of Sainte-Croix

A picturesque village renowned for its earthenware

Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a city built like an amphitheater in the middle of superb landscapes. Two rocky peaks overlook the village with the famous knight’s star suspended 200 meters away. It guides visitors day and night!

Often compared to a Provencal crib, the village consists of beautiful old houses and picturesque alleys in which you can stroll and discover small local shops. The village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is renowned worldwide for earthenware, with 14 workshops and around twenty stores. The finesse of the workmanship and the unique decorations attract crowds from all over the world. To find out more, do not miss the museum which is entirely dedicated to it!

The starting point for superb walks

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie can be visited all year round and you can enjoy very pretty walks, either in the village to discover the architectural heritage, or outside. Do not miss the Rion waterfall, Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir, perched above the city, or the cave of Sainte-Madeleine. A little further on, on the Valensole plateau, you can admire the spectacle of the lavender fields in bloom …

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is part of the Verdon Regional Natural Park and received the official label “Villages and cities of character”.

Did you know that upstream of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, several activities are possible?

At Haute Provence Outdoor, we offer various outdoor activities. Some aquatic with rafting or aqua hiking , others drier with the Deval’Bike or also the Trott’Elec . Whether you are a sports fan, beginner or looking for adrenaline, there is something for everyone!

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Atypical villages

Stop off in Colmars-les-Alpes, a magnificent medieval village

Stop off in Colmars-les-Alpes, a magnificent medieval village

Colmars-les-Alpes is a mountain village, bordered by the Verdon river.

It stands out from other surrounding villages by its classic military architecture. Do not miss !

The village of Colmars-les-Alpes is located in the upper Verdon valley 15 km from La Foux d’Allos where the Verdon river has its source, between the Allos pass and Saint-André-les-Alpes. Pretty landscapes of wooded mountains surround this village which you can discover on foot or by bike and even by rafting in the spring when the snow melts and by water hiking in the summer.

Colmars-les-Alpes has a rich history which still marks its architecture. As soon as you arrive, you will discover the ramparts that surround the city. Indeed, Colmars-les-Alpes was a frontier town in the 14th century and developed an important system of protection to deal with aggressors.

A pretty destination for nature and history lovers

As you walk through Colmars-les-Alpes, you will discover picturesque alleys, beautiful old houses and squares where you can enjoy the gentle coulis of water from the fountains. Don’t miss the 16th and 17th century church as well as the Fort de France and the Fort de Savoie, built in 1693. Like Moustiers-Sainte-Marie , Colmars-les-Alpes has received the “Villages and towns of character” label.

Nature lovers will not miss the short walk (about 20 minutes) that leads to the Cascade de la Lance . This path along the river is worth the detour: it will offer you a beautiful view of the mountains and you can even make a refreshing stop for a picnic.

Activities around Colmars-les-Alpes:

Less than an hour’s drive from Colmars-les-Alpes, in the nearby valley is the village of Annot known for its magnificent rock formations and sandstone . Passing through Annot, come and discover the Deval’bike from the old cross-country ski resort of Colle Basse.

Deval’Bike in the Verdon – Pays d’Annot route

A little further, at the crossroads of the right and left banks of the Verdon, come and visit the village of Trigance with a brand new fun and eco-friendly device: the Trott’Elec !

Trott'Elec by Trott'in Verdon - Trigance course
Trott’Elec by Trott’in Verdon – Trigance course

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Atypical villages

Visit Entrevaux

Visit Entrevaux, a citadel of charm and history

Welcome to Entrevaux, one of the most beautiful villages in France! Camped on the rock, the village of Entrevaux is located on the banks of the Var and benefits from a beautiful natural setting.

If you come to Entrevaux it is above all for its superb medieval city architecture. Built by Vauban during the reign of Louis XIV , the village of Entrevaux has managed to preserve the beauty of its history. You will discover there a drawbridge and ramparts , winding alleys, beautiful squares where majestic fountains are enthroned and beautiful period houses, tall and narrow. The Gothic-style cathedral has a very beautiful baroque decor. Enough to give free rein to his imagination! To let yourself travel even further in time, do not miss the medieval festivals of Entrevaux, very lively in July.

A historic city that conceals hidden treasures

After visiting the heart of the citadel, venture around. Coming to Entrevaux, you will enjoy superb panoramas of the surrounding lush nature. History lovers will also be won over by the Train des Pignes. Moreover, a superb steam train restored and put into circulation by passionate volunteers! It is for your greatest happiness that he crosses the railways of Provence in his century-old cars.

If nature and heritage lovers will not be disappointed, the same goes for aficionados of old bikes! Indeed, the village of Entrevaux houses a motorcycle museum . It is a passionate collector who owns this museum where you can discover more than 70 models of two-wheelers .

Want to discover a little more of the region?

If you want to do an outdoor activity and discover the Gorges du Verdon, at HPO, we offer a multitude of possible activities. You have the choice of filling up on sensations with the Deval’Bike in the village of Annot or even going on a navigation with rafting or even kayaking !

If you prefer to stay dry, come and try out a guided outing on an all-terrain electric scooter !

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