Verdon Gorges, The Largest Canyon in Europe

Verdon Gorges as sunset
Located in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department of southeastern France, an area known for its alpine vistas, limestone mountains, and fields of lavender, is Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in the country, it sits at the edge of a mountain from which a spring flows, creating a waterfall that provides hydropower to the town. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is also noteworthy in that it's located at the western entrance to the Verdon Gorges, a spectacular canyon that runs 50 km (31 miles) and reaches up to 700 meters (2,296 feet) in depth in places. This canyon is the largest in Europe and was formed over millennia from erosion of limestone plateaus by the Verdon River.

After a hands-on-ceramics lesson in town (Moustiers-Sainte-Marie has been a center of the pottery trade for generations), it's time to head into the Verdon Gorges. There are a number of active excursions to choose from, be it hiking, canyoning, or rock climbing. It's also possible to take off down the Verdon River on a kayaking or canoe trip. This is an unforgettable experience as the waters of the Verdon are famous for their electric turquoise color. Another option is to head out on Lake Sainte Croix, a tranquil man-made lake at the end of the canyon that's perfect for boating. 

Stages: Gréoux-les-Bains – Moustiers-Sainte-Marie – La Palud-sur-Verdon 55 km
What to see: Moustiers Sainte Marie, Gorges of Verdon

Itineraries with Verdon Gorges, The Largest Canyon in Europe

Pure Provence Road Trip: Marseille, Avignon, Verdon Gorge & More - 12 Days

France is known the world over for its romance, but there might be no other region that encompasses its quintessential beauty—the cities, villages, hills, and beaches—quite like Provence. This is where the countryside meets the coast, where the Alps meet lavender fields, and where the French Riveria runs from Marseilles to the Italian border. Experience it all on this luxurious 12-day driving tour. 

Provence Highlights and Culture Self-Drive Tour - 11 Days

One region that perfectly encapsulates France's rich culture is Provence. On a self-drive tour, you'll stop in historic cities like Marseille and Aix-en-Provence as well as hilltop villages like Uzès and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. As an added treat you'll hike canyons, kayak along the coast, and participate in a cooking class and wine tour.  

Provençal Alps Adventure: Marseille & Verdon - 10 Days

Take every matter  of transport on this ten-day adventure trip. You'll cruise along the coast of Marseille, ride horses up to Sainte-Croix Lake, and tackle the Verdon Gorge by foot, river raft, and via cordata climb to take in the wild face of Europe's largest gorge.