The essentials in the Verdon Uncategorized

Castellane: the ideal starting point for your rafting adventure

Castellane: the ideal starting point for your rafting adventure

In the heart of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Castellane reveals itself as a perfect setting for rafting enthusiasts. This picturesque village, rich in history, offers a unique experience where adventure and culture meet. Rafting in Castellane , with its varied routes on the Verdon river, promises thrills to adventurers of all levels.

The region, famous for its unspoilt nature and biodiversity, also offers a wide range of outdoor activities . From discovering the medieval streets of the village of Castellane to exploring the white waters of the Verdon, every moment spent here is an invitation to adventure and discovery.

Prepare to dive into a world where every rafting trip is an adventure in itself, and discover why Castellane is the ideal destination for an unforgettable rafting experience.

History and charm of Castellane

The village of Castellane , nestled in the majestic Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, is a place where history and natural beauty combine harmoniously. This small town, with its narrow streets and colorful buildings, tells a rich history, dating back to distant times. Visitors are transported to another world, where every stone and every corner seems to tell an ancient tale.

A richly preserved heritage

In Castellane, heritage is alive. Historical monuments such as the Saint-Victor church or the famous Roc de Castellane bear witness to the cultural richness of the region. Walking through the village is like walking through an open-air museum, where each building, each square has its own story.

An outdoor activity center

Beyond its heritage, Castellane is recognized as a center for outdoor activities. The village is not only a picturesque stopover; it is the starting point for unforgettable adventures. The white waters of the Verdon, accessible from the village, provide a spectacular backdrop for rafting, airboating, and many other water activities.

An authentic and welcoming atmosphere

The atmosphere at Castellane is authentically Provençal. Local markets, small cafes and artisan shops provide an immersive experience for visitors. It is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the local way of life, taste regional specialties and meet the locals, who willingly share their love for this land.

In short, Castellane is not only a place of passage for rafting enthusiasts; it is a destination in its own right, rich in history, culture and adventure. A place where every visitor, whether there for the thrill of rafting or for cultural discovery, finds what they are looking for.

Rafting in Castellane

Rafting in Castellane is an experience not to be missed for any self-respecting adventurer. The Verdon River, with its white waters and spectacular scenery, offers one of the best rafting experiences in France.

A paradise for rafting lovers

The crystal clear waters of the Verdon offer a variety of courses suitable for all levels. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rafter, the Castellane routes to discover the Verdon gorges guarantee you a memorable experience. Experienced guides ensure safety while allowing you to fully enjoy the excitement of rafting.

Diversified routes

Each rafting route around Castellane presents its own set of challenges and beauties. From energetic rapids for thrill-seekers to calmer courses for families and beginners, there is something for everyone. This diversity makes Castellane a destination of choice for rafting, regardless of your experience level.

More than just a descent

Rafting in Castellane is more than just a white water descent; it’s a complete adventure. The routes take you through breathtaking landscapes, from dizzying cliffs to the turquoise waters of the Verdon. It’s a unique opportunity to connect with nature while experiencing moments of pure adrenaline.

In short, rafting in Castellane is an essential activity for those looking to combine sport, adventure and natural discovery. It is an invitation to experience the Verdon in an intense and memorable way.

Discovery of Haut Verdon

The Haut Verdon region, a hidden treasure near Castellane, offers an even wilder and more preserved rafting experience. This part of the river is known for its authentic character and breathtaking landscapes.

A well-kept secret

Haut Verdon is often described as a well-kept secret, known mainly to locals and connoisseurs. It is a place where nature reigns supreme, offering panoramas of rare beauty and white waters perfect for a unique rafting adventure.

A unique experience

Rafting in Haut Verdon means immersing yourself in an untouched natural environment. The courses here are varied, ranging from calm waters perfect for a first rafting experience to more technical rapids for more experienced rafters. This diversity ensures that every descent is a new adventure.

Fauna and Flora of Haut Verdon

In addition to the rafting experience, Haut Verdon is a haven for nature lovers. The region is home to diverse flora and fauna, with many endemic species. Breaks along the banks allow you to observe this biodiversity, adding an educational and contemplative dimension to the rafting adventure.

The Haut Verdon is therefore more than just a rafting course; it is an invitation to explore and appreciate a preserved ecosystem, offering a rich and multidimensional rafting experience.

Allos Lake in Winter

Other activities to do in Castellane

Beyond rafting, Castellane is full of activities and experiences that enrich any stay in this fascinating region. From nature exploration to cultural immersion, there is always something new to discover.

Adventures for everyone

Castellane and its surroundings offer a varied range of activities to suit all tastes. Hiking enthusiasts will find trails that wind through stunning mountainous landscapes, while history buffs can explore the village’s many historical and cultural sites.

Cultural discovery

The village itself is a treasure trove of culture and history. Visitors can stroll the streets of Castellane , discover artisanal shops, and taste local cuisine in traditional restaurants. It’s a perfect opportunity to soak up the Provençal atmosphere and discover the region’s heritage.

Varied water activities

In addition to rafting, the Verdon offers possibilities for other water activities. Whether canoeing, kayaking, or airboating , there are options for all levels of experience and interest, allowing visitors to experience the Verdon in a way that is uniquely their own.

A destination for the whole family

With its variety of activities, Castellane is the perfect destination for a family vacation. Children and adults alike will find plenty to have fun, learn and explore, making each day spent at Castellane unique and memorable.

Castellane is not just a destination for rafting; it is a place where adventure, culture, nature and relaxation meet to offer a complete and varied experience to all its visitors.


Castellane is much more than just a starting point for a rafting adventure; it is a true hidden treasure in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, offering a complete and rich experience to its visitors. Whether for the thrill of rafting on the white waters of the Verdon, the discovery of the unspoiled nature of the Haut Verdon, or the exploration of the culture and history of the village, Castellane has something to offer everyone.

Moments spent here, whether on the water or on the village streets, are guaranteed to stay with you. Castellane is a place where every adventure, big or small, becomes a part of your personal story.

We invite you to explore the rafting offerings in Castellane , immerse yourself in the local culture, and discover for yourself why so many visitors return year after year to this magnificent region.

Castellane awaits you, ready to offer you unique experiences, thrilling adventures, and memories that will last a lifetime. It’s the perfect starting point for your rafting adventure and much more.

The essentials in the Verdon

How to get to the Gorges du Verdon?

How to get to the Gorges du Verdon?

Do you want to come to the Gorges du Verdon without a car?

Are you looking to discover the Verdon ?

Is it possible to move easily in the Verdon ?

The answer is yes !

We will explain how to get to the Gorges du Verdon by public transport. Leave your car in the garage and come and admire the beautiful landscapes of the Verdon. An adventure that you should not miss! Why wait?

Are you from abroad and looking for a way to take you to the Gorges du Verdon for an atypical experience?

Our international airports welcome heaps of tourists from all over the world every year, some looking for a more urban stay (hotels, restaurants and shopping) and others wanting to experience more nature-related adventures.

There are several airports in France including 4 large ones (depending on where you arrive) to then reach the Gorges du Verdon:

Pont de Tusset - view from the sky

Are you coming from Nice?

You can take the Zou LER31 bus from Nice-Ville station , you will only have a 2 hour drive to arrive in Castellane and enjoy your holidays with us.

Are you coming from Marseilles?

You can take the Zou LER27 bus at Saint Charles station, you will pass by Riez after 1h50 drive. Then you will have time to contemplate the beautiful view before arriving in Castellane for 1h45.

Are you coming from Paris?

You can take the TGV train in the direction of Grenoble , it is a journey that takes about 3 hours. Then you just have to take the Zou LER31 bus at the Grenoble bus station to get to Castellane for 4h30.

Admittedly it is a long journey, but know that it is worth it!

Are you coming from Lyon?

You can take the TER train to Grenoble from Lyon-Part-Dieu station . After 1h30, you will have arrived at your destination. All you have to do is take the LER31 bus to get to Castellane . This is a journey that takes about 4.5 hours, but this is never a disadvantage since you will be amazed by the beautiful Provençal landscapes all along the road.

Coming from Digne-les-Bains?

You can take the Zou LER31 bus from the Digne-Les-Bains Routière station , this will be the shortest route. You will have arrived in Castellane after about 1 hour.

The beautiful mountain scenery will accompany you all the way! You will enjoy a nice little trip that you will definitely love!

Other Means:

tara canyon

You still have the option of carpooling! A fairly practical and secure alternative to come to the Gorges du Verdon in peace.

No matter where you are, you can always find someone on your way with: BlaBlaCar , Klaxit , Mobicoop , Karos and La Roue Verte .

Are you on Annot?

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

Are you more athletic and want to live an atypical experience? We offer you an electric scooter ride. A tailor-made program , just for you, which starts from Annot to La Mure-sur-Argens.

You will be accompanied by one of our guides throughout the journey: a professional who will show you private areas that you will never forget!

Are you in Valensole?

lavender provence

Are you looking to visit places that are less frequented and at the same time enjoy a beautiful Provençal landscape ?

We offer you another hike, still on an all-terrain electric scooter to visit the Valensole plateaus and meet the artisans and producers of the region to discover their culture.

We will also take you to contemplate the Lavender fields, a breathtaking view!

Are you in Bargeme?

We also offer you a ride on an electric scooter in the village of Bargème then a short visit to the chapel of Notre Dame Sept Douleurs.

Always in our company, we will admire the hiking trails that will leave you dreaming.

Did you also know that you can even practice activities in the heart of nature and go hiking in magnificent places without having to move from the Huttopia Gorges du Verdon campsite?

Indeed, Haute Provence Outdoor offers its customers direct support, which allows holidaymakers to enjoy the activities in complete comfort.

We offer: Rafting , Aquatic hiking , Canyoning , Paddle , Trott’Élec , Deval’Bike and even rental of an inflatable canoe back-pack to float in Lake Castillon or Lake Sainte-Croix.

The essentials in the Verdon

The LEADER Program

The LEADER Program

The establishment of the “Guided tourist tour on an all-terrain electric scooter” was born thanks to the support from the EAFRD “European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development“. Europe invests in rural areas through the program LEADER (Link Between Rural Economy Development Actions).

What is the LEADER program?

It is a European program, co-financed by the European Union and the region, which aims to support the development of rural areas carrying a local development strategy. This program is financed by the FEADER (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development). Indeed, it gives the territories a framework conducive to the emergence of collective and quality projects. The objective is to promote the development of rural areas .

How does the LEADER program work?

It is supported by a Local Action Group (LAG) which provides support and follow-up for project leaders. The LAG is responsible for drawing up the local development strategy, coordinating, selecting operations and evaluating the actions implemented in the territory.

The idea emerged in 2020: Develop guided tourist circuits on all-terrain electric scooters!

What is the electric scooter?

This is a new leisure activity, allowing the discovery of the territory from a new angle. Through very little frequented routes, mixing culture, mobility and heritage.

The objective is to take very little frequented routes (off the roads and major axes). In order to allow the discovery of the region from another angle, as well as the distribution of tourist frequentation on the territory.

It is to discover the unmissable places of the region, while minimizing the environmental impact and tourist overcrowding. The aim is to offering an alternative to the car to get to these places with very high human influx.

It is to allow local producers and craftsmen to make themselves known to the general public by sharing their passion and their know-how .

We want to make this activity as accessible as possible (families with children, communities, discovery classes, etc.). And thus democratize an innovative, ecological means of transport, which is still very inaccessible today.

Unique, innovative, atypical and in harmony with nature! These 100% electric scooters with their devastating look are sure to seduce young and old alike.

This project combines culture, nature and roaming ! Moreover, it’s a new way to conquer our territory and discover all its hidden corners with an eco-responsible behavior.

It responds to a mobility constraint, through its roaming. By offering people the possibility of using alternative means of transport to the car. Or, traveling through a wild part of the territory which is more difficult to access.

Then, we propose circuits, with fixed starting points, near transportation hubs (railway station, bus station, etc.). And, at times correlating with public transport (time of departure from activity scheduled for the time of arrival of the bus or train, and time of return from activity scheduled on the hour departure of the train or bus).

No equivalent activity today exists in our territory .

Besides, everything is done to ensure that local life (producers, craftsmen, transport) is in line with the development of the tourism sector. Therefore of our activity and that it best meets the criteria of this program.

The advantages of the LEADER program

Thanks to LEADER, we have the honor of highlighting the local players in our region, making them known and supporting them through the tourism sector. The support provided by Europe to our project is €25,797.13 excluding VAT, co-financed by the region and this is what has enabled this marvelous project to see the light of day.

The essentials in the Verdon

Canyoning VS Aquatic Hiking

Canyoning VS Aquatic Hiking

What is canyoning?

Canyoning is a vertical activity where the evolution is from a high point to a low point. Where you alternate walking, jumps, abseiling, natural slides and sometimes even zip lines.

While following the instructions of the guide who accompanies you. You will be full of sensations and adrenaline depending on the route you choose.

Ideal if you have a sense of adventure!

What is aquatic hiking ?

More aquatic and less technical than canyoning, aquatic hiking is an activity without verticality. The evolution is done in the water from the bed of the river. Letting yourself float on your back and be carried by the current. It is also possible to make many jumps while climbing on rocks and cliffs (optional).

The aqua hike is also the only way to enter the Grand Canyon du Verdon in order to admire the cliffs that rise above our eyes and perhaps to see the vultures in full flight.

What are the differences ?

CategoriesAquatic hikeCanyoning
ObstaclesNo obstacles are requiredMost obstacles are mandatory. Some can be bypassed depending on the route chosen
EquipmentFull neoprene wetsuit, neoprene socks, helmet, ski pants and life vestNeoprene full suit, neoprene socks, helmet and harness
TermsKnow how to swim, be comfortable in the water and be in good physical conditionNot be dizzy and be in good physical condition
EnvironmentIn the Verdon river (Grandes Gorges and/or the Grand Canyon du Verdon). Wide and less confined spacesIn one of the canyons east of Castellane, with often narrow and steep passages with sometimes a little caving.

Where are they practiced?

Aquatic hiking : this activity is practiced from the bed of the river in the Verdon. You have the choice to find the route that suits you: Tusset , the Couloir Samson or the Imbut .

Canyoning : This activity is practiced in one of the canyons to the east of Castellane such as the Jabron, the Loup, the Gours du Ray, the Saint-Auban, the Riolan or even the Aiglun.

Which audience for which activity?

The variety of routes offered in Canyoning and Aquatic Hiking allows access to a wide and differentiated public.

Depending on the circuits, the descents are more or less steep and technical. This makes these two activities accessible and suitable for everyone according to their age and level.

The only conditions are to know how to swim, not to be dizzy in case of canyoning and to be in good physical condition.

Canyoning, is it dangerous?

From the moment the canyoning is supervised by professional and state-certified guides. The activity is secure and remains completely accessible to all.

Canyoning is slightly more technical than aqua hiking with the use of ropes but remains accessible to as many people as possible.

The particularity of this activity is the exposure to verticality. You should therefore not be dizzy and be in good physical condition so as not to find yourself in difficulty in the canyon.

Rando Aqua, are there any sensations?

There are as many sensations in aquatic hiking as in canyoning. During this activity, you will experience the power of water with its currents and its more or less rapid speed depending on the location.

Moreover, you will evolve at its own pace by letting yourself float, carried by the current and by making jumps for the more daring. You will also have time to contemplate the beautiful protected and preserved landscape that surrounds you.

Remember that it’s not every day that you find yourself in the middle of the Gorges du Verdon 😉!

So, what is your profile best suited to? Book your activity in Rando Aqua or Canyoning !

How does the aqua hike activity take place?

Depending on the route chosen, (Couloir Samson & Pont de Tusset), the meeting point is at our equipment area located next to the Huttopia campsite. Here, our guides welcome you and equip you for the activity. Except for that of Imbut , where the meeting point is at the Auberge des Cavaliers.

Equip yourself, leave your personal belongings on the spot and leave by shuttle for about 10 km of road. Once there, you will take a short walk to warm up and reach the river.

A short safety briefing is given by the guide at the water’s edge.

It will then be time to get in the water and let yourself be guided and float while admiring the majestic landscape of the Verdon.

Once finished, you get out of the water and walk back to join the shuttle that will take you back to our equipment area.

Once the equipment is returned, you can resume your business and continue the course of your day with stars in your eyes!

How does the canyoning activity take place?

Meet at the address indicated in the confirmation email (the meeting point differs depending on the route chosen).

The guide will welcome you and give you the necessary equipment to put on: wetsuit, helmet and harness and you will set off on foot to reach the canyon.

Once down, take the time to taste the water, the guide will give you some safety instructions, some advice on the use of the harness and the ropes.

You will then leave for the descent of the canyon where you will alternate walking, jumps, abseiling…

Once finished, you will take off your equipment and head back to the original starting point.

Arrived at the top, it’s time to return your equipment and say goodbye to the guide.

These two activities are ideal to do with the family but also for bachelor parties (EVG and young girls (EVJF)!

Don’t forget to leave us a review… We are always delighted to hear from our holidaymakers!

The essentials in the Verdon

– Gorges du Verdon Drought summer 2022 –

Are the Gorges du Verdon dry?

Can the Gorges du Verdon welcome tourists this summer 2022?

What are the possible activities to practice in the Verdon?

How is the situation in the Alpes de Haute Provence?

  • This winter, the lack of snow and precipitation has obviously created a severe problem in the Haut Verdon : drought.

canoe bliplace gorges du verdon

  • Faced with these new conditions and climate change, we have found ourselves obliged to limit our services.

  • Since August 5, some restrictions have been imposed due to the lack of water. It has relatively threatened the tourism sector.

What to do in the Gorges du Verdon if no boat activity is allowed?

Do not worry ! With Haute Provence Outdoor, you can always enjoy your holidays! We offer various water activities that will make you discover the gorges and the region from an another angle:

  • Canyoning : Want to take up challenges and overcome your fears? Try this experience so you can live an incredible moment with our guides .
Verdon gorges family
  • Deval’Bike : Are you looking for thrills and ecstasy? Come and discover the slopes of Provence and hurtle down the forest roads specially made for you!
  • Trott’Élec : A ride on an electric scooter in the village of Trigance , both cultural and fun. We will take you to visit a chapel and then a farm where you will be delighted by a small tasting of goat cheese.
Castillon lake verdon gorges

Every summer has its story, the 2022 season has been a bit special, for us and for all our holidaymakers, but this has proven to be a source of inspiration rather than an obstacle.

The essentials in the Verdon

The Gorges of the Wolf

The Gorges of the Wolf

The wolf Gorges

The Domaine of the Courmettes

Between Vence and Grasse, the Courmettes are located on the left bank of the Gorges du Loup and across the river is the Caussols plateau and the village of Gourdon.

The rocks which constitute this peak, are sedimentary and limestone , they come from the Upper Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, and date from 80 to 220 million years ago.

These rocks formed with warm seas who from time to time were drying up completely which created a succession of sediment layers , where we can find some fossils .

For the little history of the formation of these reliefs, we have to go back about 40 million years. The African continent has entered collision with Europe, this collision is still ongoing. These movements of compression created folds and faults and gave birth to the mountain range of the Alps , including the Courmettes which are at the southern limit.

Then, 5 million years ago, the Mediterranean sea withdrawn and dried up , the rivers dug the limestone rocks to leave room for gorges , like here the magnificent Gorges of the Wolf.

The little gem of PACA

The wolf is a river that takes its source in the mountain of Audibergue north of Grasse. It travels 49 km with an average flow of 4.5 m3/s to end up flowing into the Mediterranean sea at the west of Cagnes sur mer in the Alpes-Maritimes.

The river crosses the first village of Bar-sur-Loup, originally called Le Bar. In 1961 it became Le Bar sur Loup by decree. Its inhabitants are called the Aubarnois or the Barois. It’s a pretty medieval village , with ancient ramparts, the castle of the Counts of Grasse and the medieval church of Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur.

Throughout its course the Wolf is surrounded by places and villages with many charm , a heritage of exception , a historical past.

The gorges are endowed with lush nature , impressivecliffs and turquoise colored water that contrasts with the vegetation. There is the Courmes waterfall over 40 m high, the Grande-Marmite and the Demoiselles waterfalls. Beautiful hiking in the gorges can be started for example in the village of Courmes

The main villages

The village of Bar-sur-Loup

The Wolf Bridge is a well known tourist resort, which at the time was served by railwaysof Provence. We can see his gigantic viaduct destroyed during the war. This village is also known for the Florian House which produces sweets made from flowers and fruits from Provence.

Tourrettes-sur-Loup , commonly referred to as the ” city of violet” because this little flower is the specialty of this medieval village. In March, a party is organized in its honor. This village has a gorgeous architectural heritage with its vaults, its art workshops and its castle which dates from the 15th century.

Saint Paul de Vence is an artists village which shelter numerous galleries, a bastioned enclosure, its wash house, its keep, its pontis and its pretty oil mill.

A few kilometers from the Saut-du-loup waterfalls, there is another fortified medieval city, called Gourdon . It is one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France . Finally the small village of the Colle-sur-Loup by the river surounded by a superb landscape.

A multitude of activities

The Gorges du Loup are a perfect playground for adventurers and lovers of sensation . For lovers of nature and long walks in observation you can find trails for families or more technical excursions.

The river, on the other hand, offers the possibility of a simple swim in fresh water. Or, you can take an excursion in equipment with qualified guides like water hike, canyoning. So, you will be able to discover the heart of the gorges. And to compete with nature by swimming and jumping.

There is also the Mescla cave which can be explored during the initiation to potholing. And finally, we can also find beautiful walls to indulge in escalation .

The essentials in the Verdon

White water

What is white water?

White water is a flow of aerated water that forms in rapids, which can cause severe turbulence.

The white Water groups together several sensational activities, which requires a good physical condition, and above all to be a good swimmer. These activities are practiced on different rivers and have developed in recent years due to the sports tourism who grew up. All whitewater activities are carried out on a more or less calm river. It depends on the discipline and the sought sensations . You should know that whitewater activities are based on a river classification . This classification was set up at the international level in order to assess beforehand the technicality as well as the commitment of the river. The higher the classification number, the more difficult the river. They have been classified internationally ranging from class 1: the easiest, to class 7: classified as impassable .

The verdon is class 2 or 3 depending on the course.

whitewater canyon

Whitewater activities:


The first clubs for canoeing and whitewater activities began in 1931 when the Fédération Française de Canoë-Kayak was created in France. Canoeing is practiced on all rivers according to the level of difficulty sought. If we are looking for a family tour, we will orient ourselves on a calm and accessible river (class 1 or 2 maximum). If we are looking for something more sporty, we will then opt for a river with a highest classification (from class 3).

You should know that canoeing is separated into two very different practices. We will find the kayak where we will be in a seated position with a double paddle. Moreover, the practice came from inuit who used this boat to move around or to fish. While the canoe, is practiced by having a seated position with the knees at the bottom of the boat, with a simple paddle. The origin of this practice comes from Native Americans.

Book your family canoe activity now.


the rafting appeared at 18th century. Initially it was used to transport materials as well as men for expeditions in rivers diffucult to access. The name “rafting” comes from the word “ raft” At the beggining made in wood then inflatable. Over the years, this boat has been perfected in terms of material technology and has become a leisure boat . The first raftings for a leisure descent were made in Colorado in America . Currently rafting in the Verdon, is a sporting activity that is practiced by a maximum of 8 people on a boat, with a state-certified guide. He accompanies you during the descent of the river. Rafting takes place on a turbulent river of class 3 minimum. Where we will find beautiful rapids in order to offer a descent full of sensations .

Book your family rafting or sports rafting activity now.

The aquatic hike

The water hike can be realized in calmer water where the water flow will be less important than for rafting. Water hiking is a succession oflarge poolswhere you swim and passages of small rapids. The aquatic hike consists in letting yourself be carried by the bed of the river. In a safety position, that is to say on the back with the feet forward. Throughout this hike you will be accompanied by a guide. He will show the passages of the river to take and those to avoid. Then you can climb on the rocks to perform jumps from different heights during the course. The aquatic hike is one of the most beautiful ways to discover a river. Nothing better than to admire the landscape and the cliffs that surround us .

Book your Rando Aqua family course now.

white water verdon


It’s an activity very vertical which will be carried out in places classified as such. Rivers that are passable in canyons are not classified as passable by canoe-kayak or raft. Canyoning takes place in a very narrow river, with a lot of verticality. Canyons are much more prone to weather situation , and are therefore not practicable all year round. Canyoning is a mixture of different activities: we will find escalation with abseils, jumps of different heights depending on the course,natural slides , swimming in whitewater and Hiking .

As you can see the activities of living Water group together many activities, which fortunately are all possible in Gorges du Verdon . You can find the details of our activities here .

At Haute Provence Outdoor, we also offer you other activities in the great outdoors and outside the water to discover the Verdon region in a completely different way with the Trott’Elec and the Deval’Bike !

The essentials in the Verdon

The Mercantour Park

The Mercantour Park

the mercantour

The Mercantour Park has been classified as “ National Park » on August 18, 1979 thanks to its position at the frontier between France and Italy and thanks to the wonders that it offers. Moreover, it is paired with the regional park “Parco naturale Alpi Marittime”, with which it shares 33 km of border.

This park is now one of the 11 national parks in France. However, the process for the official establishment of the Mercantour National Park was notably lengthy due to its composition of protected areas, such as the national hunting reserve of Mercantour and the classified site of the Vallée des Merveilles.

Classifying a park as a “national park” allows the maintenance of the biodiversity , of the ecosystem, some animals and plants. It protects the different varieties, as well as the history of the place and the Cultural Heritage. The parks have for mission to maintain traditional activities and manage the tourist attendance. They allow us to take advantage of the wonders they have to offer us without humanity having too much impact on the environment .

In 2013, the two parks “Parc du Mercantour” and Parco naturale Alpi Marittime were included on the lists of Unesco World Heritage.

The different facets of the park, its valleys

The Mercantour park is located in two departments, the Alpes-Maritimes and the Alpes de Haute Provence . Its highest point is the summit of Gélas at 3,143 meters

It comprises 8 valleys: Roya, Bévéra, Vésubie, Tinée, Cians, Var, Verdon, and Ubaye.

All these valleys reallydifferent from each other, visitors grow a big interest because they offer the opportunity to practice Hiking , mountaineering , ski hiking and many others sportive activities . The park has 600 km of groomed trails. You can find the GR 5, the GR 52A (Mercantour panoramic trail) and the GR 56 there.

It is best known for the Vallée des Merveilles, Lac d’Allos and its ski resorts in Val d’Allos.

The Roya and Bévéra valley

It stretches from the Col de Tende to the Italian border. It is a valley with arid landscapes and minerals typical of the south Mediterranean , passing from olive trees to stone pines.

To the west, we find the peaks of Mercantour and the Authion massif (Cime de l’Agnel 2927m, Cime du Diable 2685 m).

A few typical villages : Tende, Saorge, Breil-sur-Roya, Moulinet, Sospel.

The Vésubie valley

The Vésubie is the river, tributary of the Var, which has dug the valley with the same name. It is a valley with diverse landscapes, we go from olive trees to mountains forests, to glacial lakes. The village of Bollène-Vésubie dominates the Vésubie valley to the west and the Turini forest to the east

The Tiné valley

La Tinée , 75km long, takes its source in the Mercantour massif at an altitude of 2,650 meters, not far from the Col of the Bonette at the bottom of the summit of Trois Serrières. After crossing the gorges from Valabres, it flows into the Var.

La Clapière, a breaking up of the side of the mountain, affects a slope of Mont Ténibre. This is the largest landslide in Europe and one of the fastest in the world. They diverted the river using a tunnel to prevent it from creating a natural dam on the Tinée river.

the vesubia

The Var and Cians valley

The gorges of Cians and Daluis dug by the Cians river and the Var, have their particular Red color , resulting from the oxidation of iron contained in sedimentary rocks. They earned the name of “Colorado Niçois” by their resemblance to the famous American gorges.

The few typical villages of the valley are Entraunes, Chateauneuf d’Entraune, Guillaumes, Beuil…

ubaye valley
The Ubaye

The Ubaye valley

This valley formerly called Barcelonette Valley , is of glacial origin. Its altitude ranges from 771 meters, at the Serre-Ponçon lake, up to 2,655 meters at the source of the Ubaye. Its highest point is the Aiguille of Chambeyron at 3412 meters. The two largest villages are Barcelonette and Jausiers.

The Verdon valley

The Upper Verdon valley is made up of forests , peaks, lakes and pastures , where you can watch sheeps and cows graze peacefully. The torrents descend these ravines of black marls, to then give way to the largest canyon in Europe , dug slowly by the Verdon river between the villages of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie , from the Lac de Castillon to the Lac de Sainte Croix . These gorges offer a grandiose spectacle, beautiful viewpoints and whitewater activities, such as canoeing , rafting and aqua hiking , which allow you to visit the interior of the gorges. Another brand new, green and fun activity allows you to discover the heritage of Provence: the Trott’Elec .

The essentials in the Verdon

Lake of Sainte Croix and Castillon

The lakes of Castillon and Sainte Croix

Haute provence Outdoor is located between the two main lakes of the verdon, the lake of Castillon and Sainte Croix .

Lake Castillon , the little

Of the 5 lakes of the verdon, it is the second lake in surface after the Lac of Sainte Croix. It extends from the Village of Saint André les Alpes to the village of Castellane. The Verdon River powers them and they come into existence via the construction of dams. The Castillon dam flows into the Chaudanne lake which flows into the gorges until the Sainte Croix lake.

In the middle of the lake, you can find a military zone. So, the navigation as well as bathing are strictly forbidden.

In order to allow the construction of the dam and therefore to achieve the creation of this lake, the old village of Castillon was dynamited. However this village was rebuilt on higher ground. The remains are currently underwater about 25-30 meters below lake level. The reservoir has also submerged the old RN212 road. When the water level of Lake Castillon drops, we can see the old Julien Bridge of this national road. You will also be able to observe a world peculiarity on this dam: the sundial . According to its designer Denis Savoie, it is “ the biggest sundial of the world ”. Indeed it is on a support 100 meters high and 200 meters wide. During the summer, thanks to the shadow of the cornice and a bit of mathematical calculation, this dial can tell the time from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

At the time of the construction of the dam, the main function was the land irrigation . This region having suffered from drought, it was vital to create water reservoirs. In addition, the Castillon dam now produces a quantity of energy sufficient to supply twice the population of Dignes les Bains annually.

Subsequently, thanks to the beauty of the place and the development of tourism, the gorges du verdon have become a very popular destination for holidays and for whitewater activities.

Our activities are dependent on the Chaudanne lake dam. It is the latter that will allow us to go canoeing, rafting or aquatic hiking and its magnificent course of the Imbut. It follows the opening or closing and the water flow generated.

Lake Castillon offers many activities, but remains quieter and less crowded than the Lac of sainte Croix. It also offers activities on the water. You will find boat rental, canoe, paddle, pedal boat, to navigate in all serenity on the lake.

Discovery of the lakes of the Verdon by paddle

You will find a large choice of hikings all around this lake! From the various villages of Saint André les Alpes, Saint julien du verdon and Castellane . These hikes suitable for all levels are rich in breathtaking views, passing through picturesque villages, to pretty hamlets lost in the mountains, from green forests to more arid mountainous terrain. By ascending to higher altitudes, you will find yourself amazed by the breathtaking views of the verdon River and the lakes. The blue colors of the lake and the river contrast with the green of nature and the gray of the rocks to create colorful landscapes.

The Gorges du Verdon possess abundant charm and secrets that are eagerly awaiting your discovery.

Take advantage of being around the lake of Castillon to go to Annot and discover the Deval’Bike .

Lake of holy cross

The famous, the lake of Saint Croix

The lake of Sainte Croix is the largest lake in the Gorges du Verdon with 2200 hectares. This lake is also the 3rd largest artificial reservoir in France. It is very popular and many activities are offered there such as at Lac de Castillon. Here you will find canoeing, stand up paddle , pedal boat, but also sailing when the wind is there. Using one of these boats you will be able to discover all the lake of Sainte-Croix as well as the end of Grand Canyon du Verdon . Depending on the weather conditions, you will be able to navigate for about 2 km inside the gorges. You can swim on this lake. Moreover, you will find supervised beaches at the level of the village of Sainte-Croix.

If you come from Castellane, don’t forget to make a short stop in the village of Trigance, where you can learn about Trott’Elec !

Several picturesque village surrond the lake of Sainte Croix such as :

Bauduen, its typical houses backing onto the hill, the Marina and the development of a beach make it a pretty resort.

Les Salles-sur-Verdon offers a beautiful panorama of the lake and the island of Coste Belle. As for the Lake of Castillon, in order to allow the impoundment of this lake, and therefore of the electrical dam, the village of Salles sur Verdon was swallowed up. But it was rebuilt on the heights.

Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon , which gives its name to the lake, where you can admire the surrounding fields of lavender and olive tree . According to the legend, the name of the village comes from a relic of the cross of Christ which was kept in the church.

Aiguines, a village of architectural and historical Heritage, you can observe the fountain with four cannons and the squared belfry. Also known for its medieval castle which overlooks the lake of Sainte-Croix. Not far from this village is the Galetas Bridge. It is the perfect place to discover the lake and the end of the gorges. You can rent Canoes, pedal boats, paddles and other boats to relax while discovering the wonders hiding there.

Moustier-Sainte-Marie , classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France! You will have to climb 262 steps to reach theroman lombard bell tower and the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption. It is a village full of charm and typically Provençal.

The essentials in the Verdon

Azure Prealps Park

The Parc of Azur Prealpes

azur prealpe park

The territory

The Prealpes of Azur park covers 47 municipalities and is located in the department of Alpes-Maritimes and the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. It starts at an altitude of 300 m until its highest point at 1800 m.

Covering 90,000 hectares, it is the 48th Natural park of France and the 6thPACA Regional Natural Park. This park is considered the “water tower” of the Côte-d’Azur. And it’s one of the largest pastoral areas in the Maritime Alps.

It brings together forty municipalities and extends from the high mountains of the Alpes-Maritimes, to the valleys of Loup, Gagne, Estéron, Siagne and Var to the Mediterranean coast.

This park alone brings together 2000 plant species so a third of the national flora. We will find a wide variety of landscapes and historical sites, dolmens, the Napoleon road, castles and magnificent hilltop villages with their typical architectural heritage (fountains, washhouses, chapel …)

Activities of the Prealps Park

Being rich and diverse in landscapes, this park allows you to practice a multitude of activities in addition to strolling in the small villages. Passing from the mountains, to the forests and to the gorges, you can indulge in any type of sport, with or without a guide. Like for example, hiking, mountain biking (or Deval’Bike), on courses of different levels, from the family course to the sportsman.

There is also the possibility of practicing water sports as rafting, canoe or canyoning as in the Gorges du Loup for example. And in winter, you can go and recharge your batteries in ski station as in Gréolières les neiges.

For an even more natural activity, try a guided outing on an all-terrain electric scooter in the village of Trigance.

From June to October the PNR des Préalpes d’Azur offers a program called “the Rendez-vous du Parc”, with visits, workshops, participatory projects .

It is therefore a Park that attracts both for itsbeauty and for the multitude of activities it offers.

The development of the Park

The Préalpes d’Azur, from 1962 to 2014, experienced a growth of population which has almost tripled in 50 years. Most of the inhabitants are located near the South and the East .

This increase is due to the accessibility of the building land and the price much more affordable than on the coast. Moreover, the improvement of the road network has made it possible to repopulate the mountains.

However, the population density remains low throughout the Park! It is 31 inhabitants per km2 compared to 253 inhabitants per km2 in the Alpes-Maritimes.

The Préalpes d’Azur Natural Park was created by elected officials to energize economical activities and protect nature, while enhancing it. This project can be found in an essential document: The Park Charter .

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