Extending from the foothills of the French Alps, to the Mediterranean coast, the ancient kingdom of Provence is one of France’s most beautiful natural areas. A region of lavendar fields, vineyards, olive trees and rural communities, where the way of life still follows the rhythm of the seasons and where there is much to be discovered off the beaten track. Here are three of our favourite local destinations for hiking in Provence, although there are many more!
The Gorges du Verdon
The Gorges du Verdon are deep rocky gorges on the Verdon river, between the Castellane and the provençal village of Moustiers Sainte Marie. The high rocky cliffs were dug out by the torrential Verdon river over centuries, and today tower between 250 and 700 metres high, on the border between the Alpes de Haute Provence (Provençal Alps) and the Var region. The deep and turbulent water varies between 6 to over 100 metres in depth, and the area is home to wildlife such as rare vultures who fly from the cliffs. The gorges are situated in the beautiful and protected natural area of the Parc Naturel Regional du Verdon, with clear emerald waters and rare fauna. We visit the gorges du Verdon on our Walking in Provence holiday.
The walk below takes you from Quinson in a loop along by the Verdon river gorges, and returning above the gorges.
Moustiers Sainte Marie
A quaint and picturesque Provençal village nestled against a rocky escarpment, with it’s star suspended between two cliffs, Moustiers Sainte Marie has been often voted one of the most beautiful villages in france. With its stone buildings, churche, ramparts, and pretty tiled roofs it is live a step back into the past of Provence. Between the regions of the Var and the Provence Alps, it is the ideal starting point for hiking in Provence. It is also in the UNESCO territory Géoparc de Haute Provence, a nature reserve of 300 million years of the Earth’s history.
Historically, Moustiers is known for its china work, which has evolved in the village since the middle ages. At the Musée de la Faïence (china museum) you can discover the finest china objects from the 17th century to the present day. We visit Moustiers on our Walking in Provence guided holiday.
The Calanques of Cassis & Marseille
The “calanques” are natural rocky inlets on the Mediterranean coast, with steep sides and azure water. The Calanques Natural Park is a protected area on the coast between the vivbrant port of Marseille and the fishing village of Cassis. The best way to visit the Calanques is on foot, ant there are many hiking itineraries from Marseille, Cassis or la Ciotat on the coast. There are 26 calanques in total along the 20-odd km of the natural park. The hike below will take you from Cassis to one of the most well known. Discover more on our Calanques Marseille Walking holiday, or contact us for more information.