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The Verdon Gorge (in French: Gorges du Verdon or Grand canyon du Verdon) in south-eastern France (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), is a river canyon that is often considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful. It is about 25 kilometers long and up to 700 meters deep. It was formed by the Verdon River which is named for its startling turquoise-green colour, one of the location’s distinguishing characteristics. The most impressive part lies between the towns of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where the river has cut a ravine to a depth of 700 meters through the limestone mass. At the end of the canyon, the Verdon River flows into the artificial lake of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon (in French: Lac de Sainte-Croix).
Because of its proximity to the French Riviere, the gorge is very popular with tourists, who can drive around its rim, rent a kayak to travel on the river, or hike. The limestone walls, which are several hundreds of metres high, attract many rock climbers. It is considered an outstanding destination for multi-pitch climbing. The variety of 1,500 routes encompass cracks, pillars and seemingly endless walls, and range in distance from 20m to over 400m. The climbing is generally of a technical nature.
It is often described as earth’s second biggest canyon (after the US’ Grand Canyon).
The Verdon Gorge attracts many rock climbers for its more than 1,500 climbing routes on good limestone rock.
The Verdon and its Gorge are also a favoured destination for fishermen, particularly for fly fishing.
Lake of Sainte-Croix
The Lake of Sainte-Croix is a man-made lake that was formed by the construction, between 1971 and 1974 (when it was put into service) of a reinforced-concrete arch dam by the name of Dam of Sainte-Croix. The reservoir holds a maximum of 761 million cubic metres of water. The dam, which generates 142 million kWH of electricity per year, is 94 metres high, 7.5 metres thick at its base and 3 metres thick at its crest.
Lavender Fields of Provence
For tourists as well as locals, lavender is more than just a plant. The Provence lavender fields are part of the decor, and contribute’s to the region’s renown around the world. Does your French vacation include a stop in the South? Discover all the secrets of this plant whose recognizable scent both fascinates and enchants: the history of its cultivation, the most beautiful fields of lavender in bloom of all Provence, the flowering seasons when the display is at its best.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, or simply Moustiers, (Mostiers Santa Maria in Occitan) is a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in southeastern France, a part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and considered one of the “most beautiful villages of France“.
It lies at the western entrance to the Gorges du Verdon. The village has been a centre of the pottery trade, especially faïence, for centuries. A spring flows out of the cliff and creates a waterfall in town, providing water power.
The village was built on platform terraces a hundred or so metres up the side of a limestone cliff. At twilight when the sun on a clear day strikes the south-facing cliff, a diffuse pink light glows across the village.
Greoux-les-Bains : A picturesque provençal town
The history of Greoux-les-Bains goes back to Celtic times. Dubbed the Romantic oasis of Verdon by Jean Giono, this health resort has retained a raft of historical vestiges, including its castle and medieval ramparts, squares, narrow streets, arched passageways, wash-houses, chapels, church and coloured houses.
Whilst the obvious appeal of Gréoux-les-Bains lies in its thermal mineral waters and its stunning surroundings, the town itself is an impressive example of typical Provençal architecture, creating a cultured and congenial environment for residents, spa visitors and tourists. Take your time to stroll through the town’s narrow streets to the Templar Castle. Dating from the 12th century, the castle looks out over the town, its pride and joy.
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