This magnificent cycle tour heads up the Verdon river to the lakes that supply fresh water to the entire region. From plateaux to canyons, revel in a cycling adventure inspired by Vélo Loisirs Provence and taste the freedom of our wide open spaces.
Plateau de Valensole
From Gréoux-les-Bains to Quinson
It all starts on the banks of the world-famed Verdon river, in the charming spa town of Gréoux-les-Bains, where wellness seekers from the world over still come to “take the waters”… After your first invigorating stop-off, head towards Lac d’Esparron lake and its dam over the Verdon river. From the heights, drink in the superb views over the Préalpes Regional Nature Reserve in the distance and rolling lavender fields. Once you’ve had your fill, pop over to the village of Esparron for a stroll on the pretty port then slip into your swimsuit for a refreshing dip in one of the coves. The descent leading to Quinson is lined with cliffs. Pause awhile to visit the Verdon Canyon Prehistory Museum in the village centre. The adventure has only just begun…
Quinson on the banks of the Verdon
Your second day starts off in Quinson, a delightful village founded in ancient times, cradled by the waters of the Verdon. Its chalky cliffs border the breathtaking landscapes of the lower gorge. Next, head to Saint-Laurent du Verdon. This rural town set clinging to a hillside is steeped in Provencal charm. Keep going to the hilltop village of Montpezat: set against Valensole plateau, this site boasts magazine-worthy vistas over the Verdon so be sure to bring your camera. The route alternates gentle slopes and hilltop hamlets all the way to Sainte-Croix-de-Verdon and passes next to the Gorges de Baudinard. You can explore the gorge on foot or hop into a canoe with Aquattitude, a Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional service provider. The day winds up with a plunging descent to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie – buckle up!
Make the most of your day with a discovery tour of the treasures of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Warm up with a casual coffee on a café terrace to get you in the Provence mood… And of course, you’ll want to explore the quaint lanes and stop off at the Musée de la Faïence museum retracing the history of the village’s iconic earthenware trade. Climb up to Chapelle Notre-Dame de Beauvoir to lap up the sweeping views over the village down below. Thrills and spills lovers can take it up a notch with a paragliding tester over the Verdon with Roc’N’Vol. The paragliding centre is set at the end of a gorgeous walk from the ancient Roman Road to the summit. And if you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, you can opt for a workshop courtesy of the Parc à la Ferme de Valx, where you can learn to make your own cheese or spin wool. Fascinating!
After your delightful tour of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, head past Domaine de Valx – a rural domain belonging to the “Conservatoire du Littoral” (French Coastal Conservancy) spanning 600 acres of forests, olive groves and meadows, managed by the Verdon Regional Nature Reserve. As you cross Pont du Galetas bridge, gaze at the lakes and gorges rubbing shoulders here from time immemorial. Welcome to the village of Salles-sur-Verdon: rebuilt 40 years ago when the reservoir was flooded, it is now a coveted destination for bathers and sailors alike. Now you’re down at the bottom it’s time to climb back up to Aiguines on the heights: the route is dotted with beautiful views over Sainte-Croix lake and Valensole plateau.
Back to Gréoux-les-Bains
We’re going South! Take the wild road leading to Bauduen, nicknamed the “Saint-Tropez of the Verdon“. You’ll love its little port nestling in a magnificent bay, inviting visitors to explore the village’s pretty, flowering lanes. Just down the way, a track leads you to Sulagran, a friendly and protected bathing area belonging to the French Coastal Conservancy. Head back via Montpezat: the route is lined with picturesque plateaux and valleys. From Montagnac, the truffle capital, continue to Allemagne-en-Provence, home to a fabulous old castle. The authentic little villages gradually give way to more urban landscapes: once you reach the Colostre river at the confluence of the Verdon, Gréoux-les-Bains isn’t far off. End your adventure in style and say goodbye to tired muscles with a relaxing and invigorating immersion in the town’s world-famed spa waters…