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The Gorges du Verdon road trip in south of France is one of the most scenic drives in France, going through some of the most beautiful landscapes of Provence.
This south of France road trip, one of the best road trips in France, goes from Aix-en-Provence to Gorges du Verdon but you can drive from any of the nearby major cities: Marseille, Nice, or even Cannes. This road trip in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur takes 3 days to complete, with one day in Valensole to see the lavender fields, one day driving around the different lakes, and one day driving the epic road on top of the Gorges du Verdon.
Road Trip Aix-en-Provence – Gorges du Verdon Overview
If you are looking for south of France road trip ideas, consider this scenic Aix-en-Provence – Gorges du Verdon road trip. Here’s an overview:
- Start: Aix-en-Provence
- Finish: Aiguines
- Duration: 3 days (+1-2 days if you want to visit Aix-en-Provence)
- Suggested Route: Aix-en-Provence – Valensole – Aiguines
- Total distance: 270 km, 5 hour-drive in total
- Regions covered: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
- Best for: landscapes, small towns, water activities.
Gorges du Verdon Road Trip Itinerary
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Day 0 | Arrival to Aix-en-Provence
The starting point of this Gorges du Verdon road trip in south of France is the city of Aix-en-Provence. Before hitting the road spend at least one day visiting Aix-en-Provence, one of the most beautiful cities in southern France.
For a unique stay in Aix-en-Provence, book a night at the Hotel des Augustins, a former 12th-century convent just of the famous Cours Mirabeau in the heart of the old town.
Day 1 | Plateau de Valensole
From Aix-en-Provence, take the road D96 to the town of Valensole. This is a 70 Km drive that takes around 50 minutes.
The Plateau of Valensole is famous for its photogenic lavender fields. Located at a low altitude, the lavender here blooms earlier than in other areas.
Each year is different depending on the weather conditions in the spring, but around mid-June / late June is usually a good time. The first weekend of July is usually the best time to visit these lavender fields.
Valensole is a cute little village where you can spend the night after exploring the fields around. We recommend Les Terrasses de Valensole, for the ultimate traditional French experience. This bed & breakfast in the heart of Provence features a seasonal outdoor pool and a terrace perfect for the hot summer days of Provence.
For the most beautiful places to take pictures of Lavender in Valensole, check out our Lavender Guide which comes with a map and our best tips.
Day 2 | The Lakes of Verdon
The second day of this Gorges du Verdon road trip is dedicated to exploring the turquoise lakes of this area. Esparron de Verdon, and Lac Quinson de Verdon, are two small lakes with absolutely no crowds perfect for a dip and some beautiful shots.
Lac de Sainte-Croix is the main lake in the area, and a good place for a bath and a couple of hours of relaxation on the beach. This is (in our opinion) the most beautiful lake and also where we found the best, cleanest water. This lake is very popular amongst families with kids.
For lunch, you can decide to bring your picnic or have a good meal in one of the restaurants around the lake. Les Terrasses du Lac, in the heart of the village Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, is a good option to enjoy traditional French cuisine with awesome views of the lake.
After Lac Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, visit the perched village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, one of the prettiest villages of Provence, and listed since 1981 as one of the “most beautiful villages of France”. Explore its 12th-century church and chapels but also the medieval ramparts and the little provençal squares adorned with stone fountains.
Then head to the village of Aiguines where you can stay for the next two nights. The Hotel du Vieux Château, located in the village’s main square, is a great option.
Day 3 | Gorges du Verdon
After a sunrise coffee from the balcony of the local boulangerie, we leave Aiguines to the Gorges du Verdon National Park where we have booked a kayak for half day.
Drive down to the gorges on an epic scenic route (Route des Crêtes) without the crowds and forget that you are in France for a little while.
The deepest gorge in France, Les Gorges du Verdon, is one of the must-see natural wonders of Provence and Southern France.
While most of the Gorges du Verdon territory can be covered on foot, another part is only explored from the water, with plenty of opportunities for boat and kayak hire. These summer aquatic activities are mainly concentrated in the lower gorges.
TIP: During the high season, it is recommended to book kayaks or electric boats at least one week in advance!
Kayaking along the Gorges du Verdon is one of the top things to do in France so we could not miss that! Booking only 2 days in advance, we did not have much choice and we were very lucky to find a kayak available at the nautical base Location Nautic, by the Lac de Quinson in Montmeyan, so that’s where we headed.
This 9 km itinerary in Verdon’s lower gorges goes from Lac de Quinson to Lac d’Esparron and it can be done by kayak or on an electric boat. The water here is calm and goes through 60-meter high cliffs and turquoise waters. We did a part of the itinerary by kayak and it was a wonderful experience.
In the afternoon you can decide to spend a couple of relaxing hours by the lake or – like we did – spend some time in Aiguines to visit the village before dinner.
The perched village of Aiguines is very pretty and, definitely less touristy than its neighbor Moustiers. This is a great opportunity to get a taste of local life in Provence, especially in the evening around its main square.
Aiguines has a couple of belvederes with awesome views of Lac de Sainte-Croix, especially at sunset. Have dinner at the lively Place de la Fontaine, with its four-gun fountain and a cylindrical campanile square belfry.
This Aix-en-Provence Gorges du Verdon road trip ends here. After Aiguines, we left the area to explore other corners in eastern France. But that’s another story and another road trip.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your south of France road trip today!