Stunning scenery makes the Gorges du Verdon one of Provence’s main tourist attractions. Set within the Verdon Regional Natural Park since 1997, you can walk, bike, climb, fish, kayak and more.
It is one of the world’s largest gorges at 20km long and 300m deep. The distinctive turquoise Verdon River cuts through the limestone cliffs and then flows into the Sainte-Croix de Verdon Lake.
Many visitors tour the Gorges by car, stopping off at the pretty village of Moustieres Ste Marie well known both for its earthenware tiles and for its 227m long iron chain stretching between the cliff faces and on which is hooked a crusader knight star.
Griffon vultures have been re-introduced here – the best chance of viewing them is from either the Route des Cretes or the village of Rougon.
The Mercantour National Park is a virtually uninhabited area of outstanding beauty with high mountain peaks, olive trees and lavender fields. It is a walker’s paradise with a huge network of signed trails. Many visitors head for the Vallee des Merveilles with 37,000 Bronze Age rock carvings.
Within the park are 2,000 plant species including the rare edelweiss. You may see chamois, marmots, ermine, ibex and mouflon as well as boar, eagles and even wolves, re-introduced in the 1990’s.
The Parc National des Calanques is the first new national park in six years with around 30 long creeks to explore between Marseille and Cassis. The park also aims to protect land and the marine environment and is open to the public free of charge.
There are many great places to explore in Provence, but Sillans-la-Cascade in the Var holds a secret swimming spot, fantastic for kids to explore.