In the heart of the Verdon Regional Natural Park, Riez is located on the famous Valensole Plateau, at an altitude of 500 meters. An ideal location for the oldest town in the Alpes de Haute Provence. Founded in the 1st century, ” Riez-la-Romaine ” has literally crossed history, and so will you by discovering today this amazingly preserved Provencal village.
Discover the heritage and history of Riez
You will enjoy discovering the history of the village just by walking around, and by visiting the many ruins that will take you on a journey from the Gallo-Roman period to the Renaissance.
First of all, admire the columns of Riez, which are the emblem of the city. These are the last ruins of the facade of a temple dedicated to Apollo. Built in the 1st century, these columns have remained in place for nearly 2000 years! At that time, they watched over the entrance to the village, which was at the end of the main road to Aix-en-Provence. This old road used to pass at the very foot of these remains, until the 19th century.
Be sure to head to the 5th-century baptistery, which now houses a museum, and to the remains of the primitive cathedral. These two buildings are among the key monuments of Riez. A visit to the Sainte-Maxime chapel is also worthwhile. It was built on the eponymous hill from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the village and the valley.
Finally, travel back to the Renaissance. The rampart built around the city in the 14th century was surmounted by towers. At this time, visitors used to enter the city through two main gates: the Aiguière and the Saint-Sol. These magnificent remnants of the past should not be missed! You will also discover the Hôtel de Mazan, a private mansion from the Gothic period, classified as an historical monument. Its magnificent staircase is decorated with plasterwork from the 16th century.
After a visit to Riez, it is easy to believe that you have lived through centuries of history in one, single Provencal village!
Mountain biking and rides departing from Riez
From the center of Riez, you can go for a different walk every day! Thanks to five well-marked short hiking trails (PR), you can discover the surroundings for an afternoon or a full day.
Riez has also set up two mountain bike circuits. One of them, the “Tour des plaines de Riez à Puimoisson” is particularly suitable for family mountain biking. Children will enjoy this magnificent 13 km circuit. The other circuit, a little more physical, is called ” La plaine des Millarettes ” which is 22 km long and will delight all sportsmen.
And of course, don’t hesitate to look at the “Activities” page of our site to discover the many possible excursions in the gorges and lakes of the Verdon region. We can help you choose some of the many possible activities, such as white water sports, rock climbing or paragliding.
Where to Stay?
Riez offers quality accommodation for all budgets. For stays of a week or more in Verdon, there are many holiday rentals and gîtes in Riez. We can, of course, help you find the accommodation you need amongst the large choice available.
For those who don’t know how long to stay, or who plan to criss-cross Verdon from village to village, camping Rose de Provence is a very good choice. The campsite has a heated swimming pool and a mobile restaurant just in front of the reception. It has a three-star rating and you can stay in a tent, or rent a mobile home.
For a short stay and with a bit more comfort, there is a choice of lovely hotels in Riez. The Hotel des Colonnes for example, ideally located, is a real favorite. You will be enchanted with its delicious breakfasts taken in the superb garden. But beware, it has only four rooms, so remember to book in advance!
Visits for groups
We offer visits for groups all year round to discover Riez, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and the Sainte-Croix Lake or Esparron. Don’t forget to consult our group pages to find out more.