Provence’s greatest natural site
The Verdon Gorges are perhaps Provence’s greatest natural site. The limestone cliffs gouged by the waters of the River Verdon stretch for over 20 kms and in a few places are up to 1500 metres (5000 feet deep) in the rugged landscape of the Alpes de Haute Provence. There are roads along both ridges (with several viewpoints) and various access points for descending into the canyon on foot to view the river and steep cliff faces close up. Many of the circular walks are not for the faint hearted and can be quite demanding, especially in hot weather. However there is a relatively easy out-and-back walk from the Point Sublime, which allows hikers to turn around if they are put off by the nearly 700-metre tunnel that has to be negotiated or the near vertical metal ladder that has to be scaled to get over a rockface. Lying inland from the coast, a full day should be allowed to visit the gorges, even if just driving around the rim. Not to be missed is the nearby village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, a Medieval village below a notch at the base of a rocky cliff.