CIRCUIT 1 – LE VERDON
Plateau of Valensole
The village called Valensole (Sun Valley), is located on a wonderful plateau (800 kilometers, 12700 ha, 500 meters above sea level). It is the biggest area in France dedicated to lavender culture. The blossom season starts from mid-June until the end of July.
With lavenders, we harvest cereals (wheat) and almonds (blossom of almond trees in March).
Close to Valensole village, you will visit lavender fields and local shops with products from the producers/distillery.
There are several and different local products such as honey, lavender, goat and sheep cheeses, olive oil, truffle, essential oils, soaps and country pâté.
Then, we will cross the Valensole plateau during several kilometers and you will feel the evasion and freedom because no matter the period you come, the colours are wonderful.
Located on a valley, and snuggled against a rocky cliff, crossed by waterfalls because a river cut the village in half. Moustiers village is classified as « One of the most beautiful village of France ». It is often compared to the provencal cribs. Several fountains, restaurants with beautiful terraces, souvenir shops, local products and earthenware are all around the village. Famous for its earthenware, Moustiers is organised around tourism.
On the 5th Century, a monk community founded a monastery (monasterium in latin language), the name of the village comes from this monastery.
Between two rocky cliffs, there is a gold star of 1,25 meter in diameter suspended on top of the village. It is suspended by a 135 meters chain, the star weighs 150 kg. It dates from 1957 and it is the eleventh star we can see. One of the legends say that a knight, made prisoner by the Sarazins in 1210, swore to suspend a big gold star if he succeeded to go back to the village, to thank Saint Mary. But there are at least 17 different legends about this star.
After the visit of the village, we will go to Palud-Sur-Verdon to see the canyons. On the road you will see the artificial lake of Sainte-Croix created in 1973. It is the third biggest lake in France (10 kilometers by 2 kilometers wide). It gives electricity to close cities and provide good places for swimming and boating.
This is one of the deepest cayons in Europe. It was created by the erosion of limestone of the Vernon plateau. The canyon is 50 kilometers long and sometimes go to 700 meters deep. This jewel is classified as “big site of France” The road offers several view points to admire the canyon. We will stop at one of the most beautiful points. Then we will go down the Verdon banks where you will visit a part of the Baou tunnel (670 meters long, the construction started in 1890 for a hydroelectric project but it has been abandoned in 1914 because of the war. If we have time left before the end of the visit, we can return passing through Galetas bridge which cross the Verdon. The bridge offers a postcard view.