This family-friendly itinerary features heart-pumping fun and adventure in Southern France's Gorges du Verdon, the largest canyon in Europe and your playground for the next 9 days. You will raft the Verdon River, hike the edge of the canyon, paddle Lac de Sainte-Croix, and climb Via Cordata for an exceptional experience, ending your stay in Aix-en-Provence.

Highlights

  • Rappell down a 98-foot descent in the Clue du Haut-Jabron Canyon
  • Cycle through the Provençal landscape from the medieval town of Montpezat
  • Have fun whitewater rafting the sparkling Verdon River 
  • Shop for local delicacies at the Aix-en-Provence market

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Provence Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Day 2 Canyoneering in Clue du Haut-Jabron Canyon Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Day 3 Drive to Montpezat; Mountain bike through Provence Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Day 4 Guided hike to Saint Maurin Natural Reserve Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Day 5 Free day Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Day 6 Canyon flyover & Rock climbing Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Day 7 Visit Castellane; Whitewater raft the Verdon River Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Day 8 Drive to Aix-en-Provence Aix-en-Provence
Day 9 Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Provence

Gorge du Verdon, France
Discover the white-water rapids of the Verdon Gorge

Welcome to France! Upon your arrival at the Marseille or Nice airport, you'll pick up your rental car and set off on a stunning drive through Provence to arrive at Gorge du Verdon in the Verdon Natural Regional Park. Check into your charming ecolodge at Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. At over 3000 feet (930 m) above sea level, your stay for the next few nights is an ideal starting point to access great climbing, walks and hikes, and white-water related activities. 

Driving duration (Nice - Moustier-Saint-Marie): 2 hours
Driving distance: 86 miles (138 km)

Day 2: Canyoneering in Clue du Haut-Jabron Canyon

A canyoneering adventure down the Verdon River
Jump, slide and swim your way through the Verdon River

After breakfast, make your way along Route des Crêtes and follow this steep mountain road to your destination for a two-hour canyoneering excursion of Clue du Haut-Jabron—a tributary of the Verdon River. This adrenaline-fueled activity features a variety of jumps, natural water slides, swimming breaks, and culminates in an abseiling adventure involving a 98-foot descent (10 m). Keep in mind this activity is only available for kids over 12 years old and 99 lbs (45 kg).

Day 3: Drive to Montpezat - Mountain bike through Provence

Biking around the lake
Cycle through Provence around Montpezat

Get ready for a full day of mountain biking, one of the best ways to tour Provence. Leave your hotel first thing in the morning and drive to Montpezat, a medieval hilltop village overlooking vineyards and an inlet of the Verdon River. Your guide will choose a scenic route based on the group’s biking experience before you set off along the trails and roads crisscrossing the picturesque Provençal landscape. Follow your knowledgeable guide through the region's forests and fields as he points out historical sites along the way.

Driving duration: 30 minutes
Driving distance: 18 miles (27 km)

Day 4: Guided hike to Saint Maurin Natural Reserve

France - Gorge Du Verdon - Hike
Trek above the Verdon Gorge for stellar views

Today, you'll join a local guide for a spectacular hike above the canyon. The trail is gentle but offers epic views of the lush valley that sits a whopping 2,300 feet below. You'll also enjoy views of Lac de Sainte-Croix, a beautiful manmade lake that you'll have the opportunity to explore further later on. Your trail takes you into an oak and pine forest leading you to the Saint Maurin Natural Reserve. Enjoy a picnic lunch with rewarding views of a stunning waterfall. 

Day 5: Free Day 

Lac de Sainte-Croix, Provence, France
Eat al fresco with stunning views of Lac de Sainte-Croix

Today is yours to explore on your schedule. Hang out at your hotel's swimming pool or head into the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie—considered one of the "most beautiful villages of France." Stroll the cobblestone streets and sample local specialties for lunch. You can also spend your day swimming and hiking at nearby Lac de Sainte-Croix, surrounded by pine forest, lavender fields, and plenty of accessible walking trails.

Day 6: Canyon flyover & Rock climbing

Via Cordatta in the Verdon Gorges
Try your hand (and feet) at Via Cordatta 

This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for a day of reaching new heights, starting with an aerial flyover above the canyon. This activity begins in the early morning to avoid the midday heat, and you'll head back to the hotel for lunch.

The fun continues in the afternoon with a guided rock climbing session. Two natural climbing walls are nearby, Via Cordata and Via Ferrata, and their accessible routes offer novice climbers access to some awe-inspiring mountain views. Your guide will instruct you in using the proper equipment before you safely make your way up the rock face. When you're done, try rappelling, zip-lining, or another sky-high activity.

Day 7: Visit Castellane - Whitewater raft the Verdon River

Rafting on the Verdon river
Work as a team as you whitewater raft the Verdon River

Make the 15-mile (25 km) drive to Castellane, a charming 14th-century town situated at the entrance of the canyon. Take some time to walk around the ancient streets, shopping and eating lunch in Marcel Sauvaire square. You'll then embark on a thrilling whitewater rafting excursion through the gorge, marveling at the scale of the canyon walls while paddling with your guide and fellow rafters. Working together, you'll take on the fast-flowing water of the Verdon River and tackle more than 8 miles (14 km) of roaring rapids.

Day 8: Food, Fashion, and Relaxation in Aix

Spend the day relaxing poolside in your hotel
Spend the day relaxing poolside at your hotel

Today you will drive to Aix-en-Provence where you will spend your last full day. Mix and match your choice of leisure activity according to your tastes and interests. Visit the traditional Provençal market in Aix-en-Provence's Old Town—a perfect spot to shop for gifts and souvenirs. Pick up some local honey or a bundle of dried lavender and mingle with the locals as you shop. Interested in upscale souvenirs? There is plenty of trendy shopping in the nearby town center. Return to your hotel to lie out by the pool or go for a dip in the outdoor pool at the foot of ancient Roman ramparts.

Driving duration: 2.5 hours
Driving distance: 73 miles (117 km)

Day 9: Depart

France - Aix-en-Provence - Market
Enjoy Aix-en-Provence markets and shopping

After breakfast, pack your bags for your onward journey. Make your way to your choice of train station (Arles, Avignon, Marseille, or Nice) to return your car and board your train to the Paris, Nice, or Marseille airport.

Map

Map of Active Family Adventure in Verdon Gorge - 9 Days
Map of Active Family Adventure in Verdon Gorge - 9 Days