Picturesque villages of rural Provence, lavender fields and Verdon Gorge
A day trip to more rural parts of Provence is a must when visiting Southern France. Let's check it out! As we mentioned in our previous video, we recently went on a day trip in rural Provence, away from the French Riviera. By the way, we did this with French Riviera Sightseeing- highly recommended! The tour guide was very knowledgeable, and a great driver. Just be aware that the road is quite mountainous at times and therefore winding. Some people who easily get motion sickness may find the trip a bit challenging. Plus at this time, the masks must be worn inside the van . Another thing to keep in mind, as the tour was almost 10 hours long.
Anyway, the itinerary was quite packed. We visited St Paul de Vence (which we showed in our previous video), towns/villages of Castellane and Moustiers Sainte-Marie. We also saw Verdon gorge, lavender fields, and spent a bit of time near the man-made (but still very beautiful) Sainte-Croix lake. So, let's go with us! We are now walking on top of the medieval wall in Saint Paul de Vence. And this is a surrounding countryside, which inspired quite a few artists, who used to stay in this town. Brief stop to take a look at one of several nearby hilltop towns.
A brief stop by the waterfalls- a lovely place! First planned stop: town of Castellane. Castellane is the gateway to the gorges of Verdon, and therefore very popular with people who pass by and buy some provisions on their way. The nature here is amazing. On top of the hill is the main local landmark: Notre-Dame du Roc chapel.
Castellane is also a popular place for hiking and rafting. Local town hall. As you can see, the town was built in medieval times.
It's just the right size- not too big, not too small! It's quite easy to get away from the crowds, and in places it does feel very old. Saint-Victor church was constructed in the 11th century. Castellane is famous for the Notre Dame du Roc church perched high above the town.
Apparently, one can reach it in about 40 minutes (and also get great views). However, we did not have enough time for this, so we went to another good place nearby, where the views were also great. Castellane is located on the so-called Route Napoleon. It's a road on which Napoleon traveled after he had escaped from his prison in Elba. Apparently he had lunch somewhere nearby while on his way :).
After his escape, he started his famous 100 day rule, before he lost the Waterloo battle. He was then captured by the British on the Île-d'Aix (which we also showed in one of our previous videos), before he was transferred to Saint Helena Island. The views are great! Back to more central streets. And now we are going the Verdon Gorge- the widest and deepest gorge in Europe. It is basically a huge canyon which was formed by the Verdon river.
In the end, the river flows into the man-made lake of Sainte-Croix, which we will show a bit later... And now we've arrived at a very picturesque mountainous village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. In fact, it belongs to a list of the most beautiful villages of France. We've already showed a video from one such village before- Yvoire on lake Geneva.
We did not have much time here, but did walk as quickly as we could to the nearby monastery (popular with pilgrims), from which the views are spectacular. Just be aware that the road is EXTREMELY slippery. Be very careful, especially as you walk down. That's the most slippery part. Now we are inside the monastery.
Walking around the village. What we really like about France is that the entrance to all churches (which are not museums) are free. They are particularly great places to visit when it's very hot outside :).
And now we've arrived at the lavender fields. This was their bloom season, so we were very lucky. But we did wish we had a drone with us to show them from above. Let's walk around a bit! This is not lavender, and we are not sure what this is. But it looks great! And this is our final stop: Sainte-Croix lake.
When people think about water in Provence, they probably mostly think about the sea. But as you can see, the lake is also gorgeous, and it is actually very popular with people who miss fresh water. Thank you for watching our video, we hope you enjoyed it. If you would like to see more videos about Provence and the French Riviera- stay tuned, a few will be coming up soon :)