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Road Trip Gorges du Verdon – Map & Itinerary05/31/2023
Aix-en-Provence to Gorges du Verdon Road Trip
This road trip Gorges du Verdon goes through some of Provence’s most beautiful landscapes: France’s deepest canyon, turquoise lakes, and the lavender fields of Provence (if it is the right season). This Gorges du Verdon road trip travels from Aix-en-Provence to Gorges du Verdon, but you can drive to the Gorges du Verdon from any nearby major cities in Provence: Marseille, Nice, or even Cannes.
This Aix-en-Provence to Gorges du Verdon driving route, in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, takes four days to complete and is one of the best road trips in France. Read more about road-tripping in France:
Gorges du Verdon Road Trip Overview
- Start: Aix-en-Provence
- Finish: Aiguines
- Duration: 4 days
- Suggested Route: Aix-en-Provence – Valensole – Aiguines
- Total distance: 264 km, 4 hrs 29 min drive in total
- Regions covered: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
- Best for: landscapes, small towns, and water activities.
This Gorges du Verdon road trip is a rather seasonal trip that we recommend taking from April to September. If you visit this area out of this period, you might find some of our food and accommodation recommendations and other businesses closed.
The best time to get the most out of this road trip is from mid-June to the beginning of July, when the lavender fields of Provence are in full bloom. Out of the Provence lavender season, Valensole becomes a less exciting stop.
Road Trip Gorges du Verdon Map
Click here to view the road trip Gorges du Verdon map on Google
Road Trip Gorges du Verdon – Itinerary 4 Days
As this road trip begins in Aix-en-Provence, take this opportunity to explore this wonderful city before hitting the road. There is no road trip travel on the first day of this Aix-en-Provence – Gorges du Verdon driving holiday, but we have included recommendations on what to visit in the city and where to stay.
For this Gorges du Verdon road trip, you don’t need the car until day 2, so if you are taking a self-drive vacation to the Provence in a hire car, wait until then to pick up your rental car in Aix-en-Provence. Click here for our best tips for renting a car in France.
Day 0 | Arrival in Aix-en-Provence
The starting point of this road trip Gorges du Verdon is Aix-en-Provence, one of the most beautiful cities in southern France, where you will spend two nights.
TGV trains to Aix arrive at the Aix-en-Provence TGV station, which is 15 km from the city center. From there, you need to take a bus shuttle to reach Aix’s city center (23 min, every 20 min). Count on it taking 3hrs 40 min from Paris Gare de Lyon, 20 min from Avignon, and 1 hr 57 min from Lyon.
Click here to buy your train tickets to Aix-en-Provence
For a unique stay in Aix-en-Provence, book at the Hotel des Augustins, a former 12th-century convent just off the famous Cours Mirabeau in the heart of the old town.
Day 1 | Explore Aix-en-Provence
Day 1 of this road trip Gorges du Verdon visits Aix-en-Provence. Aix-en-Provence is the typical Provencal city and a wonderful place to explore in southern France. Aix’s historic center, with Italian influences, boasts beautiful architecture and pretty squares adorned with stone fountains.
The list of fun things to do in Aix-en-Provence includes:
- Stroll around the city center
- A coffee break at Cours Mirabeau
- The Mazarin neighborhood
- Paul Cézanne’s workshop
- Granet Museum (art museum)
- Taste the famous calissons (Aix’s typical sweets)
- The Montagne Sainte-Victoire
Recommended Tours in and around Aix-en-Provence
Day 2 | Plateau de Valensole
It’s time to head to Gorges du Verdon by car. 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 from mid-June to the beginning of July is usually a good time. We think, however, that the first weekend of July is generally the best time to visit these lavender fields.
For the most beautiful places to take pictures of Lavender in Valensole, check out our Lavender Fields Guide, which comes with a map and our best tips.
In Valensole, there’s a Lavender Museum (Route de Gréoux, Valensole), and it is worth visiting to get to know more about Provence’s “blue gold.” The museum is open every day, from 1 April to 31 October, and it is free to visit.
Valensole is a cute little village where you can spend the night after exploring the fields nearby. We recommend Les Terrasses de Valensole (open from May to October) for the ultimate traditional Provençal 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.
Day 3 | The Lakes of Verdon
The third day of this Aix-en-Provence to Gorges du Verdon road trip is dedicated to exploring this area’s turquoise lakes. Lac Esparron de Verdon, and Lac Quinson de Verdon, are two small lakes with absolutely no crowds, perfect for a dip and some beautiful photos.
Lac de Sainte-Croix is the main lake in the area and a good place for a dip and a couple of hours of relaxation on the shore. 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.
After Lac Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, visit the hilltop village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, one of the prettiest villages of Provence, and has been listed since 1981 as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France.” Explore its 12th-century church and chapels, the medieval ramparts, and the little Provencal squares adorned with stone fountains.
Then head to the village of Aiguines, where you will stay for the next two nights. The hotel Le Vieux Château, located in the village’s main square, is a great option.
Day 4 | Gorges du Verdon
After a sunrise coffee from the local boulangerie’s balcony, leave Aiguines to go to the Gorges du Verdon National Park for a half or full day exploring this wonderful area.
Drive down to the gorges on an epic scenic route (Route des Crêtes) and forget your cares for a while – there are no crowds here, and the peace is incredible.
The deepest gorge in France, Les Gorges du Verdon, is one of the must-see natural wonders of Provence and Southern France. The picture below was taken from the legendary Artuby Bridge (182 m), one of the highest bridges in Europe for bungee jumping.
TIP: Take on the ultimate challenge of bungee jumping from Artuby Bridge with this top-rated tour!
While most of the Gorges du Verdon territory can be covered on foot, another part is only explored from the water, with plenty of boat and kayak hire opportunities. 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 don’t miss it! Booking only two days in advance, we didn’t have much choice, and we were fortunate 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 a self-drive electric boat. The turquoise waters here are calm, and the route goes through gorges surrounded by 60-meter-high cliffs. Because the kayak /boat pick up and drop off is in the same place, we only did a part of the itinerary by kayak, and it was a wonderful experience.
Other fun things to do in Gorges du Verdon:
- Aquatic hike in the Gorges du Verdon
- Rafting in the Gorges du Verdon
- Via Cordata of Trou du Renard in Gorges du Verdon
- Discovery packraft descent in the Gorges du Verdon
- Family canyoning in the Balène, Gorges du Verdon
In the afternoon you can decide to spend a couple of relaxing hours by the lake or – as we did – spend some time in Aiguines to visit the village before dinner.
The hilltop village of Aiguines is charming and significantly less touristy than its neighbor Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. This is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of local life in Provence, especially in the evening around its main square.
Aiguines has a couple of lookout areas with incredible views of Lac de Sainte-Croix, especially at sunset. Have dinner at the lively Place de la Fontaine, with its beautiful stone fountain and a cylindrical campanile square belfry.
This Aix-en-Provence to Gorges du Verdon driving route ends here. If you have more time, you can explore other corners of eastern France by following the scenic Route Napoleon or head to the coast for a French Riviera road trip.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your Gorges du Verdon road trip today!
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