Bubbling rivers, quiet lakes, vast reservoirs, narrow valleys and turbulent torrents… Criss-crossed with white water gems, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur’s stunning natural areas offer up astonishing contrasts. If you’re looking for an exciting excursion with new challenges, dive into our nature reserves!
Where blue water and skies meet on the horizon
Like surprise gifts nestling amid the highest summits, the Écrins high-altitude lakes are both dazzling and soothing. Head out to conquer the largest and deepest of them all: Lac du Lauvitel, set next to the Lauvitel reserve (closed to the public), created in 1955 to “monitor the natural dynamics of high-altitude ecosystems”. Lined with giant pines, this 62-acre cold water lake is a favourite habitat for the Fario trout. Visitors enjoy a choice of many hiking trails leading to the mesmerizing Lac des Pisses, Lac de Pétarel and Lac de l’Eychauda.
Mercantour National Park is home to a gem unique in Europe: Lac d’Allos. Find out how melting glaciers gave birth to this vast, high-altitude natural lake. The park’s unrivalled star in summer and winter alike, you can easily reach it on foot or with snowshoes. Was that a marmot? An ibex? Keep your eyes peeled and they might just pop out to say hello!
A watery refuge
Aquatic flora and fauna
If bird paradise had a name, it could well be Etang de Courthézon in the Vaucluse area. This natural wetland, a sensitive area since 2005, is a genuine treasure of unspoiled beauty. Discover the magnificent reed beds, home to numerous birds and amphibians. Pause awhile to observe the many natural curiosities and bird species sheltering in this unique ecosystem. Armed with your binoculars, head to the end of the pontoon to meet the pink-feathered marsh harrier.
Also a bird sanctuary, the Camargue Regional Nature Reserve is home to 283 bird species nesting happily among its reeds. Roam the dozens of kilometres of trails criss-crossing the wetlands, or treat yourself to a guide tour with an expert. A truly exceptional change of scenery…
Deep canyons full of surprises
Thrills and spills in dreamy decors
Set at the gateway to the Préalpes-d’Azur Regional Nature Reserve, Funtrip is a Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional quality-endorsed service provider promising heart-stopping canyoning experiences in exceptional scenery – and in all safety – in the Gorges du Loup. Get ready to dive into this narrow, refreshing gorge down near Gourdon, adorned with picturesque waterfalls. The Queyras Regional Nature Reserve also offers a plethora of water sports hotspots along Guil gorge – you can enjoy them in the company of Vincent from Queyraft, a Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional establishment dedicated to sharing the unique beauty of the river and its fragile environment with adrenalin freaks.
Fun activities and a watery mood
The Baronnies Provençales Regional Nature Reserve is a fisherman’s paradise: just a stone’s throw from Serre-Ponçon lake, many gorgeous hotspots nestling in lakes, torrents and rivers welcome amateur and seasoned fishing fans alike. This truly is a dream place for making memories with your kids as you enjoy a day casting your bait between Buëch and Durance. The Verdon invites you into a world of watery pleasures. How about climbing aboard a schooner on Sainte-Croix lake? In the Verdon valley, home to France’s largest reservoir, you can take part in a 3 or 5-day sailing course with the association Voile et Nautisme, a Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional service provider.