This little village sits on the edge of the artificial lake of Sainte Croix du Verdon and at the western end of the Gorges du Verdon. It is a beautiful Provincial town with its red tiles roofs, abbey, and vineyards. The setting could not be more perfect.We first noticed Aiguines as we were exiting the canyon and spotted it from one of the pull offs...more
One of the highlights of our trip to southern France was a drive along the Gorges du Verdon, the “Grand Canyon” of Europe. The gorge runs approximately 25 kilometers (15 miles) along the Verdon River, which formed the canyon that is in places 700 meters (2,300 feet) deep.It was about an 1 ½ hour drive from Nice to get to the start of the gorge. We...more
This area is a natural wonder in France. On a smaller (yet still impressive) scale than the Grand Canyon in the US, the Verdon river has eroded the land hundreds of feet down, leaving limestone cliffs and caves in it's wake and creating a massive gorge. Here there is swimming, rock climbing, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding,...more
A nice place to sit in the shade and have lunch. Overlooks the lake and has a nice breeze when it's hot. The food is typical local/provencal style fare - nothing fancy but very nice.
Driving around in February from Nice down through Castellane to see the Gorges du Verdon along the route from Compte sur Artuby to Aiguines, via the road that runs panoramically high above the canyon even to the height of being amongst snow, the next town that you arrive at the western end of the route is the town of Aiguines.
And it was lovely to see numerous trees in blossom around the town here!
Pink and white blossoms were lovely - in a lovely setting amongst a french village above a lake and with mountains in the background.
Basically the local Provencal area is famous for its lavender, local honey, olive oil and spices. The fancier the package the above items are put into, the higher the price tends to go. It doesn't necessarily mean the quality is any better! There are many many street vendors everywhere selling these items. Some are complete rip-offs.
Unique Suggestions: Try to find a real local farmer who is selling his own produce so that you are paying your money to the person who produces the goods. As they say 'don't judge a book by its cover' - pretty wrapping doesn't mean the lavender is fresh! These are wonderful products and really good quality can be found without paying a fortune if you are just patient and don't buy from the first/cutest stall that you see. If you want to buy some fancy really good quality olive oil for example, look for a shop that puts out samples so that you can taste the oil before you spend $40 for a bottle of it.
It is a custom in most of France (actually even in some public toilets in large cities this is true) that there is no toilet paper provided that there will not be any toilet paper in a large public or shared facility. This includes campgrounds. I think this is because many of these areas are cleaned with a hose. I am not joking :-) By not having toilet paper, they can really hose the places down and keep them very clean ... and the staff don't have to get germs either ;-). Anyhow - bring your loo roll or packets of tissue paper with you when you come to a campground.
Miscellaneous: And please don't do what I saw hundreds of examples of on the hiking trails - DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TOILET PAPER ON THE TRAILS - IT IS FOUL AND DISGUSTING AND DOES NOT BIODEGRADE AS FAST AS YOUR POOP DOES.
Really people of Europe, is this too much to ask that you learn to PACK IT OUT ? This is one of the few things that really irks me in Europe when I go hiking (especially in areas that are more accessible and which attract more I guess "city people") and which I see the Americans actually DO BETTER on than the Europeans.
PACK OUT YOUR USED TOILET PAPER and dispose of it in a bin or bury it in the dirt - DO NOT LEAVE IT SITTING OUT ON THE TRAIL. If you can't pack it out, for the sake of hygiene at least cover it up with some dirt. Bring a small shovel in your pack for this if you do not want to carry the toilet paper in your pack or use a rock to scrape the dirt if it is really some poop emergency.
It is so disgusting in so many areas we saw piles of poop and toilet paper only a few centimetres from the trail or behind the first tree from the trail edge. By the end of the summer (September early) I could see literally HUNDREDS of poop and toilet paper piles near the lakeside beaches and along the hiking paths in Provence. Do you really want small children and dogs running around and stepping in your poop and used poopy papers ? I do not.
If you have ever thought you would like to learn the ancient art of wood turning - you can learn this skill now in Aiguines from master wood carver Jean-François Escoulen . Short courses are available in English and French from beginner to advanced and you can spend a week (or more) in this beautiful area while learning a valuable craft. To really become a maître wood turner you can take a 15 week course as a stagiaire.
One of the things I love about being on holiday in a hot sunny place is that way that time sort of drifts around you. Always take time to stop for coffee in the local cafes and watch the world go by - you never know who you will meet or what you will notice about the place.more