LES GORGES DU VERDON is a 25 kilometer-long and 700 meter-deep river canyon in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in southeastern France. Some call it the most beautiful canyon in Europe.

Formed thousands of years ago by the Verdon River, and named for its brilliant turquoise-green water (“vert” means green in French), the Verdon Gorge has been a tourist draw since the mid-19th century. Today it attracts people from all over the world who hike the rim, climb the canyon walls, and rent boats to paddle along the river.

How to get there

Les Gorges du Verdon is in the middle of the Provence region of France and within a day’s journey of the French Riviera. The closest town to the lake entrance is Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

From Moustiers, drive toward the Lac de Ste-Croix for 6 kilometers to the Galetas bridge where you can rent boats to paddle the gorge. While it’s possible to visit the Gorges du Verdon in a day from the Riviera, you’re better off spending a couple days in the area.

What to consider

  • The gorge has over 1500 routes for technical climbing.
  • You can rent paddle boats and kayaks around the Lac de Sainte-Croix — a manmade lake at the end of the gorge.
  • If possible, rent your boat for longer than one hour — an hour isn’t really enough time to see the gorge.
  • Go early to avoid the crowds, especially in summer.