Lake of Sainte-Croix

The lake of Sainte-Croix was shaped by men thanks to the creation of a dam in 1974 on the course of the Verdon. Nestling between the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department and the Var department, this lake is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and appreciated in Provence. During the summer period, its banks are taken by storm by tourists and locals who come to the water’s edge in search of a little freshness. The scenery surrounding the lake is magnificent, between oaks and pines, the hills of the Haut Var, the Plateau of Valensole and the Verdon gorges.

The clear and pure waters of the lake of Sainte-Croix are conscientiously watched over to preserve their exceptional quality. This is why boats with petrol engines are prohibited, in order to avoid the pollution for which they are responsible. The lake of Sainte-Croix, with its 22 km2 and its 90 meters depth, represents an important drinking water reservoir for this part of Provence.

Nearby towns and villages

Bauduen seems to be clinging to its hill. Its typical Provencal country houses almost have their feet in the water. The development of a marina and a beach has transformed this small village into a popular seaside resort. In summer, organized markets offer tourists the opportunity to discover the local produce: olives, truffles, cold meats and cheeses from local producers, regional specialties, etc.

Les Salles-sur-Verdon is one of the last villages to have been built on the shores of the lake of Sainte-Croix. The old village, whose first buildings date back to Roman times, was washed away when the Dam of Sainte-Croix was created. Although the historical heritage was swallowed up by the waves, the village has managed to preserve its natural heritage and the magnificent landscapes that surround it. These new streets and squares invite you to stroll. They offer a sublime panorama on the turquoise waters of the lake and the Costebelle island.

You only have to walk through lavender and olive fields to find Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, the hillside village that gave its name to the lake. It is the perfect place to revitalize yourself and spend a quiet stay, far from the daily worries.

Aiguines has a beautiful architectural and historical heritage. The old center is full of surprises. On the Place de la Fontaine, the visitor can admire a fountain with four cannons and a square belfry housing bells. Strolling through the narrow streets, tourists stroll along old houses with vaulted steps. The Museum of woodturning, located in the center of the village, presents the evolution of this local craft. The medieval castle of Aiguines and its four towers, now closed to the public, overlooks the lake of Sainte-Croix. These gardens have been classified, the roof and facades are listed as Historical Monuments.

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a village full of charm, known worldwide for its earthenware. Classified as one of the “plus beaux villages de France” (“most beautiful villages in France”), it is composed of typical Provencal houses dominated by a golden star suspended between the limestone cliffs. The Lombard Romanesque bell tower and the church of Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption overlooking Moustiers-Sainte-Marie can be reached by taking a paved slope of 262 steps.

Beaches and activities

The lake of Sainte-Croix is the perfect place to rest while enjoying the Provençal sunshine. The villages of Les Salles-sur-Verdon, Bauduen and Sainte-Croix have developed beaches appreciated by families. Diving in the clear and lazy waters are the watchwords. The lifeguards present ensure the safety of the swimmers. Many establishments offer pedal boats and electric boats for rent to allow boaters to explore the lake.

By following the trails that crisscross under the oaks and pines, vacationers can also find more intimate and wilder spots. Be careful, to access these unspoiled spots, the trails can be steep, and swimming will not be supervised.

Many water sports can be practiced on the lake of Saint-Croix. When the mistral blows, thrill-seekers get on their windsurf boards to enjoy the thrill of sailing similar to that of the open sea. Beginners will take advantage of calmer weather to learn this sport. The advantage for sportswomen and sportsmen is that they can hardly get lost on the lake.

Thunderstorms can be violent in the region, so it is important to find out about the weather conditions before setting out to conquer this crystalline expanse. The beaches have the most convenient water accesses for windsurfing. Several nautical centers offer equipment for hire.

To the north of the lake of Sainte-Croix, in the commune of Anguines, the Pont du Galetas is the ideal place to discover the Verdon gorges by canoe or pedal boat.


Many villages located a few minutes from the lake, or the Verdon gorges have vacation rentals. Campsite, hotels, vacation rentals, there is something for every taste and for every pocketbook.