This mountain village is hidden in the heart of the gorges and lakes of the Verdon. Surrounded by mountains and crests, it opens onto the majestic parade of the upper Verdon valley. At the confluence of the Issole and Verdon rivers, and at the end of the Castillon lake, the presence of pure water can be felt everywhere. Of course, you can swim, fish, go boating, and try some unexpected water activities, although the fame of Saint-André comes mainly from its ideal location for paragliding … so go for it!
The best sports activities in Saint-André-Les-Alpes
The commune is located at the extreme north of the Verdon Natural Park. Moreover, it belongs to the protected area of the Geological Nature Reserve of Haute-Provence. A true natural territory which will offer you a number of superb marked trails. These will lead you to the most beautiful peaks surrounding the valley. Hiking lovers beware!
In addition to the nearby Lake Castillon, a paragliding school has been located in Saint-André since the 1980s. The site of Le Chalvet is recognized as a mecca for French paragliding and even the capital of this discipline. The Aerogliss school proposed to take off from the peaks surrounding Saint-André, but also to fly with vultures, and all kinds of first flights to suit your desires.
Indeed, the is site is one of the best in France. With its 4 take-offs of all orientations, it’s concentrated in a radius of less than one kilometer. If the exceptional cross-country potential and its wide take-off areas make it the perfect place to start paragliding, you can also learn to fly for an afternoon, or simply fly without stopping, day after day in the middle of nature, between the high cliffs of the Verdon.
What to visit in Saint-André-Les-Alpes?
The village is very pleasant to visit, but after having wandered quietly and tasted the local specialties, don’t miss the Château de Méouilles. Situated on the hill of the disappeared village of Méouilles, south of Saint-André, it includes a very beautiful building, a former Templar fortress. Equipped with a very well preserved corner tower, it dates from the 17th century. It is even possible to spend a night there. On your way to the village square, you will also see the old seigniorial house which has been transformed into a hotel.
Do you know the touristic Pignes train, which has been running to Saint-André since 1892? Not yet? Then buy your ticket quickly and set off on a colorful journey. This picturesque and typical line through mountains and pine forests is part of the local heritage. Several times it has almost disappeared because of wars, but also because of floods. Now sporting a new look in the colors of Provence, brand new trains bring the whole line back to life, and still pay homage to the Michelin locomotives that have been running on it since the 1930s!
The Saint-André station was the terminus for trains coming from Digne, until the inauguration of the entire line in 1911. Today, it is possible to connect Nice and Digne in less than 3 hours 30 minutes.
Where to stay in Saint-André-Les-Alpes?
There are a few charming hotels in Saint-André. The Hotel Monge , for example, is only 150m from the village center, shops, and restaurants. Nearby, you will find tennis courts and a mini-golf course. But also a fitness trail, for those days when you prefer to stay and have fun in the surrounding area.
Then, in a warmer and more family atmosphere, Hotel Le Bel Air features a restaurant serving regional cuisine based on local products. Enjoy a good meal on the shaded terrace or in the south-facing room, which is usually bathed in the Verdon sunshine.
There are two very good campsites in Saint-André-Les-Alpes. First of all, Camping des Iscles , which has a two-star rating, offers mobile homes in addition to the traditional tent pitches. It has a large swimming pool and a petanque pitch.
If you are looking for peace and quiet, and a lot fewer people around, then Camping de l’Issole is for you! On a human scale, well-equipped and affordable, it is mainly located on the banks of the Issole and you can enjoy privileged access to swimming in the river.
There are also possibilities of gîtes and bed and breakfast. Don’t hesitate to ask us for advice and to book your accommodation in Saint-André-les-Alpes thanks to our website. To do so, go to the accommodation section!
Find out more about the Verdon Regional Park
More articles on this website will give you information to help you book activities or even your whole stay. You may also find general information about the regional park or a complete guide with the best places to visit in the Verdon Gorges.