What to see in France in the gorges of Verdon? Right bank or left bank? What is the best way to visit the Grand Canyon of Verdon? What to see in the Gorges du Verdon? If you do not know the Gorges du Verdon and ask what to visit, this article is for you.
First of all, a map of the Gorges du Verdon will allow us to situate the scenery. I borrowed this card from the website of René and Jeannine with their kind permission. Check the Google Maps here for more information.
Map of the Verdon Gorge
Furthermore, you should know that the Verdon river consists of nearly 100 km of gorges. Upstream, the lake of Castillon then the pre-gorges between Castellane and the Grand Canyon. Then the Grand Canyon itself, Lake Sainte-Croix, the Baudinard gorge, the lakes of Saint-Laurent, Artignosc, and Quinson. Then finally downstream of Quinson and Esparron the lower gorges. When we talk about the right bank or the left bank, we are referring to the Grand Canyon. Therefore, this is going to be the subject of our article.
What to see in the gorges of Verdon: the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon is the part of the Verdon surrounded by cliffs 300 to 700 meters high. This section extends from Sublime Point to Lake Sainte-Croix. You will discover here the most important canyon in Europe still little known in France. Indeed, the canyon, which exceeds 30 km in length, consists of four parts. From upstream to downstream, the 14 km Martel Trail runs through the first part. Then the Imbut Trail is the second part. Finally, the Secret Verdon will be the third part: the most beautiful and the most secret. A last and fourth part is the water street (La rue de l’eau) that leads to Lake Sainte-Croix.
We are talking here about a visit to the canyon from the bottom. Yet in most cases, the visit is from the top and you must take a decision: right bank or left bank.
The gorges du Verdon right bank, which road to visit the Gorges du Verdon?
The right bank of the grand canyon begins at the bridge of Soleils. This bridge is the only bridge over the Verdon between Moustiers Sainte-Marie and Castellane or more exactly the only motorable bridge by car.
From “Le Pont de Soleil”, the road enters sinuous gorges to the Carajuan Bridge.
This old bridge crosses the Verdon at its confluence with the Jabron.
The sublime point and the Samson corridor
Some 4 km after the Carajuan bridge, the road crosses a narrow tunnel to reach the sublime point (Le point Sublime).
This is the first belvedere on the right bank. A stop at the Auberge du point Sublime is essential. The terrace is very nice and the kitchen at the height of the magnificent view of the gorges. To go to the belvedere, it will take ten minutes to walk. From the belvedere, admire the Samson corridor. Indeed, the rock carved a giant stone just at the entrance of the gorge. If you have two hours in front of you, we strongly advise you to walk the first meters of the Martel Trail.
The Martel trail is a must during a visit to the Gorges du Verdon
Who has not traveled the Martel Trail and crossed its famous tunnels can not claim to have visited the Gorges du Verdon. This is one of the most beautiful sites of the gorges. if the full Martel Trail requires six or seven hours of hiking, there is a “short version”. This easy and family-friendly version gives a good idea of the atmosphere of this unique hike in Europe.
From the “point Sublime”, count approximately two hours of walk back to get to the belvedere towers Trescaïre. The crossing of the tunnels will be a highlight of this short hike. For more information, visit our site and our article on the Blanc-Martel Trail.
The road of the ridges in La Palud Sur Verdon: the most beautiful points of view
Shortly before arriving at La Palud Sur Verdon, you will see an inn on your left. This is the Crest Inn which indicates the beginning of the road of the same name. The route of the ridges ( La route des Crêtes) will allow you to admire the Verdon from 15 different lookouts. Here are some of the most famous belvederes.
First of all, the Trescaire belvedere.
It’s one of the most impressive. The Verdon flows under your feet almost 400 meters steep below you. The feeling of emptiness is very strong here. I must say that few places in the world provide such a sensation. This impression is reinforced by the sudden appearance of the cliff. We go from a green hill to absolute emptiness without transition and that’s what makes the charm of this belvedere.
The belvedere of La Carelle
The second lookout after Trescaïre, this belvedere will allow you to observe the climbers. Should the adventure tempts you, you can book on our site a half-day with a guide to intensely experience climbing in the Verdon.
The belvedere of Escalès
This belvedere was abandoned until 2018 when its access was redeveloped. Indeed, this is one of the few belvederes that requires to walk 10 minutes to reach it. Its interest also lies in its proximity to the high line. If you are lucky, you can see the slackliners in precarious balance on their rope (called slack line). It’s really an experience (just to observe them) and that’s why I recommend a stop at this lookout.
The belvedere of the tooth of Aire
Fourth belvedere of the road of the ridges, it is the most majestic belvedere. Most of the time, you will be able to see the vultures who love to hover below the belvedere. A photo will tell you more about this magical place.
The belvedere of the linden
I voluntarily zap some lookouts to get closer to the “madman’s mirror” (Le Miroir du Fou). At this point, the road passes into a first tunnel. The name “mirror of the madman” comes from the name of the climbing route which is just above the road. The view here is very different from that of the first four lookouts. Indeed, the military camp of Canjuers and the Artuby is right in front. The canyon is here much narrower. Below you can see a ruined farm resting on a green meadow overlooking the Verdon. The place seems magical. This is the Guegue farm. This farm has a story … It will be for a future article.
The chalet of Maline
Finally a bar with a terrace overlooking the Verdon! Do not hesitate to stop. The atmosphere on the terrace of this refuge of the French Alpine Club is worth the detour. It is a place where you will meet the hikers leaving for the Martel trail or those who come back from the Imbut trail.
The belvedere Gaston Armanet
After passing the Maugué Lookout, you stop at a small, little-known belvedere. Yet the view of the Imbut blocks chaos 400 meters below is striking. Here everything is so disproportionate that we lose its bearings.
What to see in the Gorges of Verdon from the left bank: the sublime cornice
Let’s see from upstream to downstream what the left bank proposes. Let’s start our exploration at the Sun Bridge with the Sils Mill bakery. Mandatory stop in this extraordinary biscuit bakery: bread and biscuits are exceptional.
After crossing Trigance, we continue our route to the sublime ledge (La Corniche Sublime).
The balconies of the Mescla
Our first stop is at the balconies of La Mescla. Plunging view on the confluence of Verdon and Artuby. When you say plunging, the word is not usurped because it is actually a belvedere that gives you vertigo. The shop bar restaurant opposite also deserves a stop by its Provencal style and the kindness of welcome.
The bridge of Artuby
A few kilometers further, the bridge over the Artuby will give us some chills. The place is famous for high-rise jumping elastic. Hence, you can make a jump of 182 meters! Probably a little less and hopefully because 182 meters is precisely the height of the bridge over the Artuby! Once again, a stop is needed. We recommend caution especially with children due to the fact that cars, pedestrians do not always get along well with the narrow bridge.
Grand Canyon Hotel
Starting point of the rider trail leading to the Imbut, this hotel enjoys an exceptional location. A small tour on its terrace should convince you to stop for a drink enjoying the bird’s-eye view of the canyon. It is also the meeting place for the Estellié-Imbut aquatic hike.
Feel free to visit our activity pages to discover how to explore the Verdon by water.
The Illoire pass, a belvedere which advances above the void
One of the beautiful views of the Verdon is discovered from this pass that dominates Aiguines. The belvedere was redeveloped two years ago and it is truly a success.
Another place to stop before descending to Lake Sainte-Croix.
Should we visit the Gorges du Verdon right bank or left bank?
In short, the visit of the Gorges du Verdon by the banks is an invitation to discover the canyon by traversing it by the bottom. indeed, it is thus that it is the most beautiful. if you are not convinced, go on this canyon for water hiking, canoeing or rafting. Alfred Martel wrote “it would be necessary to walk this canyon 100 times to dare to say that we know it, it is the most beautiful of the world … And I did not change my mind, even after my visit to the grand canyon of the Colorado”.
Visit the Verdon by car or bike?
In Verdon more than elsewhere, the car seems indispensable. But it is leaving your car and through other means of exploration that you will discover the best Verdon. The Verdon can be traveled by electric bike or paragliding. We also offer his discovery raft or canoe more quiet family. Visit the activities pages of our site to find the proposal that suits you best.