The Gorges du Verdon are located in the heart of Provence in the South East of France. It is the deepest gorge in France and is filled with a vibrant turquoise water and surrounded by dramatic limestone cliffs. Whilst visiting the lavender fields in Provence I knew that a day frolicking in a boat at the Verdon Gorge (as it’s known in English) had to be included in my road trip itinerary before heading to the French Riviera. Read on to find out my top tips for visiting the Gorges du Verdon in France.
BEST TIME TO GO TO THE GORGES DU VERDON
The Verdon Gorge looks beautiful throughout the year but if you are hoping to swim I would recommend going in the warmer months from May to October, however please be aware that July and August (summer holidays) will be a lot busier.
TOP TIP – In order to beat the crowds and have a more peaceful time on the river I would get to the gorge for when the boat hire places open at 9am, this way you will be one of the first on the water!
HOW TO GET TO THE GORGES DU VERDON
The Gorges du Verdon, also known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Europe’, stretch on for around 25 kilometers all the way to the foothills of the Alps. The main place to access the gorge (and where you’ll find stands to hire kayaks, pedalos and boats) is at the Pont du Galetas (you can enter this into your GPS to easily find it). This bridge also gives you a beautiful view over the gorge.
The best way to get here is by renting your own car. However if you are unable to drive you can book a day tour leaving from Aix en Provence.
WHERE TO STAY NEAR THE GORGES DU VERDON
We stayed the night before in Valensole which is only a 50 minute drive away from the Gorges du Verdon. If you are staying on the French Riveria, Nice is only about 2 hours away making it an easy day trip. If you are looking to stay somewhere closer have a look at Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon and Riez.
HOW TO HIRE KAYAKS AND PEDALOS
One of the main activities to do at the Gorges du Verdon is hiring a kayak or pedalo. To rent a boat, you just have to just get to the Pont du Galetas.
There are a few boat hire stands offering kayaks and pedalos for hire along the river near the Pont du Galetas bridge. We hired our pedalo from the below mark on the map (you can park there too):
Your first destination upon picking up your kayak or pedalo will be to sail under the Pont du Galetas. You will be going against the current so the journey out will be tougher than the journey back, but it is so worth it!
The sheer cliffs, which at some points stretch up to over 700m high, really makes it feel like you’ve discovered a new world!
TOP TIP – Make sure you kayak to the waterfall, it will take you around 20 – 40 minutes to get there.
The price of the boat hire will depend on how long you want to be on the river for:
2 hours = €40
3 hours = €60
4 hours = €80
TOP TIP – you will need cash for payment and a passport or identity card to hire the kayak or pedalo
SHOULD I HIRE A KAYAK OR A PEDALO?
A hard decision to make! I was originally more interested in hiring a kayak but as we were three we would have needed to hire two kayaks so we went for a pedalo.
The pedalo was so much fun! Not only is it more social as you can see everyone but you also have your hands free and you can take you camera onboard without being worried about capsizing.
I hope you have an amazing time in the wondrous Gorges du Verdon, one of Europe’s most beautiful river canyons. This was one of my highlights of my road trip around Provence and the French Riviera, and I highly urge you to go and check it out!
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