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May 30th, 2013, 07:07 AM
  #1
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Gorges Du Verdon- Drive or day tour

Hi guys

Will be based in Nice and seeking to do a day trip to the Gorges Du Verdon. Looking at either hiring a car (although have heard it's quite a challenging drive) or booking a day tour. Which would you suggest? If a day tour do you recommend any local tour operators. Thanks.
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May 30th, 2013, 07:08 AM
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Will be there from 4th -8th July 2013.
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May 30th, 2013, 07:32 AM
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Well yeh as I recall quite a poke along the Route Napoleon, military road up from Grasse built for military purposes - I drove along the north rim and we rented a canoe to do a canoe trip on the river - we overturned only once. Easily done on your own - can't see how a tour would be any quicker and probably slower.
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May 30th, 2013, 08:35 AM
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We drove through it and stopped for a picnic. A wonderful drive. It's called The Grand Canyon of France (no where as majestic)
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May 30th, 2013, 09:20 AM
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The drive out and back will consume an entire day, no matter how you do it. The drive across the Route Napoleón from Grasse is pleasant, but only 2 lanes and often trucks make for slow going. The drive around the Gorges can indeed be challenging if you're not used to narrow, winding roads with steep drops on one side.
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May 30th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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Done it twice in a rental car. It's a long day out but you'll NEVER forget it. The driving is not that difficult but you must be vigilant. Take a picnic and a camera.
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May 30th, 2013, 10:35 AM
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and getting there is part of the lure - you will see a Provence very very different from the heavily developed Cote d'Azur - a sleepy Porvence!
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May 31st, 2013, 12:31 AM
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thanks all for your help, looks like hiring a car is the way to go!
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May 31st, 2013, 07:13 AM
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We've visited the Gorges du Verdun twice. Compared to the US Grand Canyon and also the Gorges du Tarn and the Gorges du Cains in France - we were underwhelmed with the Verdun Gorge. I also think the Gorges de l'Ardeche is more interesting - mainly because you can also include a visit to the Aven d'Orgnac cave. The Route dues Cretes loop off the Gorge du Verdun was scary for me - and I've driven the Hwy #1 drive in California (where I've lived all my life) many times. Try to include a visit to Moustiers to make the Verdun Gorge more worthwhile.

If I were staying in/near Nice (which we've done for around 8 weeks) I would instead take the 1 hr drive to Entrevaux, visit, then do the following gorges drive. This is from my 27 page Provence/Cote d'Azur itinerary. If you would like the entire itinerary, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach it to the reply e-mail. The stars reflect the rating given to the site by the Michelin Green Guide. Note that the Gorges du Cains has the same rating as the Gorges du Verdun.

In early July of ’07, we stayed in a Gite just outside of the old town of Entrevaux*, and explored the beautiful canyons, mountains, and small villages in the area quite thoroughly. Entrevaux is only 1 hr from Nice along the Var River. The town of Entrevaux is quite remarkable. Look up Entrevaux in the Michelin Green Guide for the French Alps and you’ll see a picture of the town. However, it’s more dramatic than the picture shows. There is a huge rock spur that sticks up along the northern bank of the Var River. A Cathedral sits on top of the spur, with a fortified zig zag wall (built by Vauban) running down to the medieval village below – it’s quite a sight to see. For the best view of Entrevaux and the surrounding area, drive into the large parking lot (looks like a strip mall) that’s opposite the drawbridge entrance to medieval Entrevaux – on the opposite side of the N202. The entrance to the lot is at the extreme west end of the lot. Immediately to your right as you enter, there is a restaurant/café and then a very steep road heading uphill just after the restaurant. Follow this road up & up – admiring the views of Entrevaux as you climb. There are several areas to pull out & take a picture – which you’ll want to do. Keep going till you can’t see Entrevaux anymore and then return to the “strip mall”, park the car, & walk over the drawbridge into the medieval village. There are a few cafes for lunch there, but there are better ones just east in the town of Puget Theniers (village not worth exploring). You can take a scenic train from Nice to Entrevaux, but you can’t explore the canyons without a car.

Next, drive through the very scenic gorges in the area. We made several drives along these gorges – taking advantage of the sunlight at various times of the day. These gorges are quite spectacular and different from the gorges closer to Nice. The sheer walls are red slate – a very dark red-rust colored rock. From Entrevaux, take the N202 west then head north on the D902 (which changes to the D2202 when it crosses into the Alps Maritimes dept) through the Gorges de Daluis**. The views are better going north than south. As you exit the gorge at Guillaumes, head east on the D28 to Valberg, then on to Beuil. Drive south through the Gorges du Cains*** on the D28. Visit the cute village of Riguald near the south end of the Gorge. When the D28 hits the N202, take the N202 east to Touet sur Var*. You will see Touet perched up above the road, but you’ll have to drive past the town to find the access to the town. Drive up to Touet & explore this picturesque village. Continue east on the N202 & then take the D26 to Villars sur Var. This town has some very interesting passageways. After visiting Villars, continue north on the D26 and visit the cute town of Bairols, and then the town of Clans. These are all miniscule villages, and you’ll be surprised that they are even inhabited today – we enjoyed visiting them. Continue north on the D2205, then east to St Martin-Vesubie* (see “Deeper” above), and then return to Nice.

Other villages that we’ve visited & enjoyed in the area are Annot*, Roubion*, Meailles* (more picturesque from the outside than inside), and especially Colmars* (old town** plus fort),. Castellane* is a popular town and a center for exploring the Gorge du Verdon. It has good “bones” but is very touristy. The main street through town has some of the tackiest stuff that I’ve seen this side of Mt St Michel. Villages that were mentioned in various guide books, but we didn’t find that interesting were St Sauveur sur Tinee, & Roure.

Stu Dudley
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May 31st, 2013, 08:39 AM
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I agree with Stududley - Gorges de Verdon not that awesome, especially if you have seen the other gorges he mentions - forget the Grand Canyon - ain't nothing like that - I would say it is not worth the long trek from Nice as there are many many other places much closer that would be better for the average tourist.
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