Gorges du VerdonGorges du Verdon en voiture
©Gorges du Verdon |Loïc Lagarde

The Verdon gorges by car

Do you want to tour the largest canyon in Europe ? In one day, it’s possible! By car, motorbike or camping car, you can discover the Gorges du Verdon by the right bank (the most beautiful one^^) and the left bank.

Adventure is Open!

The discovery of the Gorges by car will allow you to discover the grandiose landscapes from the top of the cliffs. There is no road to the bottom of the canyon. Two banks run along the canyon: the right bank, in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, north of Verdon and the left bank, in the department of Var, south of Verdon.
Here you can discover the complete tour of the canyon. To fully appreciate each of the stages, dedicate a full day to this trail, which is almost 100 km long.

Good to know

The roads are winding and particularly twisty! The visit of the Gorges is nevertheless accessible to almost all types of vehicles. The limit is 4.30 m high (3.6 m on the sides of the tunnels of the Route des Crêtes) and 12 m long! For the larger vehicles, however, it is necessary to master driving on mountain roads.

The right bank

From Castellane to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

The Point Sublime at the Verdon

From Castellane, take the direction of Rougon on the RD 952. You then follow the Verdon for 12 km until the bridge ‘Pont de Soleils’. At this crossing, continue on the right bank of the Verdon towards La Palud-sur-Verdon.

From Castellane, take the direction of Rougon on the RD 952. You then follow the Verdon for 12 km until the bridge ‘Pont de Soleils’. At this crossing, continue on the right bank of the Verdon towards La Palud-sur-Verdon.

Point Sublime is the first point of view on the canyon and one of the must-sees not to be missed.

From the viewpoint, a real balcony hanging on the cliff side, the impressive Verdon rift opens in front of you at the Samson corridor. We feel tiny facing these two immense cliffs that let the emerald water of the Verdon flow at their feet. You will be both seized and relaxed, no desire to pick up and go back to the parking lot, yet the show is just beginning!

The Route des Crêtes

Around La Palud-sur-Verdon, the trail of the Route des Crêtes is the must. (If you haven’t made the Route des Crêtes, you will have to come back!). This 23 km long tourist itinerary gives you access to numerous viewpoints, all perched on top of the highest cliffs of the Gorges, with breathtaking views. The desire to fly away makes you dizzy! A feeling of freedom and fullness!

You finish the ’Route des Crête’s in the centre of the village of La Palud-sur-Verdon, in the heart of the Gorges du Verdon. Ideal village for nature lovers, its narrow and authentic alleys deserve that you mark a stop to recover from your past emotions.
You finish the ’Route des Crête’s in the centre of the village of La Palud-sur-Verdon, in the heart of the Gorges du Verdon. Ideal village for nature lovers, its narrow and authentic alleys deserve that you mark a stop to recover from your past emotions.

After your stopover, take the departmental road 952 in the direction of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. and get ready, the rest of the trip promises some nice surprises!

OUR GOOD PLAN: Verdon e-bike offers you the rental of electric bikes to discover the loop of the Route des Crêtes. 100% of the clients who have tested the activity recommend it, and we are one of them! Another, much gentler approach to this mythical route, in connection with the magic of the place!

OUR TIP:Parking at the various belvedere can be complicated due to the site traffic. Choose slots where the number of visitors is smaller: ideally, in the morning before 10 a.m. and in the evening after 5 p.m. The light is splendid and reflects on the cliffs that are as illuminated, the photos will be only more spectacular. As a bonus, these slots are ideal moments to see the flight and landing of the vultures.

TO KNOW: A part of the Route des Crêtes is a one-way street, if you want to make the full visit. (and we highly recommend it!), take the D23 at the ‘Auberge des Crêtes’, about 1 km before the village of ‘La Palud-sur-Verdon’ when coming from Castellane. Please note that from the last Friday in November to the last Friday in March, only a portion of the ‘Route des Crêtes’ is accessible.

The Sainte-Croix lake

and the Galetas bridge

After winding through the numerous turns that separate the ‘Col d’Ayen’ and the ‘Colle de l’Olivier’, the canyon softens and the cliffs become more jagged. Below, the presence of boats suggests the arrival on the legendary Sainte-Croix lake.

At the turn of an umpteenth bend, your eyes are caught by this immense emerald expanse that stretches out below the road, there you are, the largest lake in the Verdon is at your feet! Despite the few parking areas available along the road, it’s hard not to be tempted by an improvised stop to immortalise this view!

Then continue your gradual descent through the Stone pine, symbols of the Provençal and Mediterranean atmosphere you are entering!


OUR TIP :  A few miles away, the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, one of the most beautiful villages in France, appears nestled at the foot of its cliffs under the protection of its famous star. An unmissable stop on your route, this picturesque town will dazzle you with its remarkable heritage and colourful facades. You can visit the village on foot! that’s good, you really needed to leave your car for a while to go to stretch your legs!

Once your visit is over, it’s time to take your seat behind your steering wheel and then direction to Sainte-Croix lake, 4 km away.

You arrive on the Galetas bridge, without a doubt the most famous spot, and the most photographed of the Gorges du Verdon! Activate the panorama mode of your camera, you will not know where to look!

The bridge, located between the villages of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and Aiguines is also the junction between the departments of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Var. It offers a postcard setting with a view of the end of the canyon on one side and the Sainte-Croix lake on the other. Captivated by the almost unreal Verdon colours, and the mop of pedal boats and canoes that rush into the Gorges, the many visitors of the site have a hard time to get off and take the road again! And as we understand them!

You’re halfway there! The return by the left bank still promises beautiful moments.

La Rive Gauche (The left bank)

From Aiguines to Trigance

The left bank, south of the Grand Canyon is wilder and stops more random and anarchic than its neighbour on the right bank. The viewpoints are once again remarkable and the viewpoints, particularly unusual, deserve that you continue your journey to close your trip around one of the most beautiful sites in France!

The Col d’Illoire and the Corniche Sublime

Overlooking the Sainte-Croix lake, the village of Aiguines offers a striking panorama with the Valensole plateau and its lavender fields in the background. The Museum of wood turners (Musee des tourneurs sur bois) is a must-see to immerse yourself in the history of wood exploitation in the Gorges du Verdon, one of the first activities long before the arrival of the many holidaymakers.

Then take the height in the direction of the Col d’Illoire. Located at an altitude of 967 m, the recently renovated belvedere like a balcony overlooking the canyon gives you the impression of dominating the world, suspended above the Verdon.

Our advice: move away a little and gain height on the belvedere, you can admire both the Gorges and Sainte-Croix lake!Photos memories guaranteed!

The Artuby Bridge

On your way back, you will follow the military camp of Canjuers, the largest testing ground in Europe of the army. As you can imagine, the area is strictly closed to the public, so it’s not the storm that’s rumbling!

A little further on, the famous ‘Auberge des cavaliers’ comes into view. A remarkable accommodation suspended at the top of the cliffs, but above all the start of the famous Imbut hike. Your journey continues to the highest point of the Sublime Corniche symbolised by the Fayet tunnels.

A few kilometres later, the Verdon is far away and your itinerary leads you to the bridge Pont de l’Artuby, overlooking the river of the same name. This tributary of the Verdon River is only rarely in water due to underground losses. The bridge is 100 m long and 180 m high and is a famous spot for bungee jumpers! Guaranteed thrills! Take the time to stop and walk around this impressive structure! Dizziness and heavy legs will no doubt be there, even for the most daring!

The Mescla Balconies

Always going up the Verdon, the Mescla balconies are also a stop not to be missed enjoying the diversity of the landscapes offered by the Gorges du Verdon. In Occitan ‘Mescla’ means mixture, here the waters of the Verdon mix with those of its tributary the Artuby.

If the Verdon has a fairly linear route over the Gorges, the river here marks an 18.° turn around a narrow rocky ridge. The smile that the Verdon forms can also be seen on your faces and we understand you! How can you resist this unique spectacle?

Your return journey is coming to an end, to recover from your emotions, we suggest a last stop at the medieval village of Trigance. Perched like an eagle’s nest at the foot of its imposing feudal castle, Trigance has kept its charm and authenticity over the ages. The view from the village is splendid on the plain below and the tranquillity of the place invites you to rest at one of the terraces of the city! For the most gourmet, the sun hamlet ‘Hameau de Soleils’, a few kilometres further on the D955 towards Castellane, is home to a traditional biscuit factory whose reputation extends beyond the borders of the Verdon.

See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories!

Ray Bradbury