I discover a whole region

Protected areas

An exceptional natural heritage!

Castellane is located in the heart of the Verdon National Park and the Haute-Provence Geological Reserve. Nestled in the middle of a remarkable area, come and discover the protected landscapes and species.

 

Route des Crêtes - Canyon du Verdon © verdonpictures.com

Route des Crêtes – Canyon du Verdon © verdonpictures.com

The Verdon Regional Park

Founded in 1997, the Verdon Regional Park straddles the Var and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and covers over 444,000 acres. The Park covers the Verdon Valley from Vinon-sur-Verdon to Saint-André-les-Alpes and includes the infamous Gorges du Verdon. With extensive knowledge of the natural and cultural heritage of this area, the park works on preserving and enriching the area and the technical know-how surrounding the Verdon.

The Verdon Regional Park office is located in Castellane, within the Maison Nature & Patrimoines. Feel free to drop in for a chat with a park ranger who can tell you all there is to know about the Verdon.

Les Gorges du Verdon © verdonpictures.com

Gorges du Verdon © verdonpictures.com

The Haute-Provence Geological Reserve

The exceptional area covered by the Haute-Provence Geological Reserve spans over 2,000km²; the largest in Europe. It could be described as an open-air museum and the Reserve’s goal is to protect the rocks, fossils, and landscape. They have worked on various sites so that visitors can retrace the marks of time. 8km away from Castellane you can visit the Siren Fossil Valley.

From the sheer quantity and high quality of the fossils that date back to 40 million years ago, this geological site is the only one of its kind in the world. It can be easily accessed by foot (in 40 minutes) along the Siréniens trail. You can complete the visit with a trip to the Siren and Fossil Museum in the Maison Nature & Patrimoines.

 

Sentier des Siréniens à Castellane © verdonpictures.com

Sentier des Siréniens à Castellane © verdonpictures.com

The Verdon River, lakes and canyons

The Verdon source is close to the Col d’Allos at 2,150m and travels 175km before joining the Durance. It is named after the unique colour of the water, emerald green, which comes from the fluorine and tiny seaweed that live in it.

The Verdon has carved out a canyon 50km long and up to 700 metres deep… the Gorges du Verdon. It is juxtaposed between the Vars and the Alpes de Haute-Provence, and is the deepest canyon in Europe.

With various artificial lakes along the river, the Verdon is one of the main sources of electricity and water in the region. Lake Castillon, located above Castellane, has a surface area of more than 1,200 acres. The lake was formed on completion of the Castillon dam in 1948, on which the largest sundial in the world has been painted.

It is less commercial and much more of a mountain lake than that of Sainte-Croix, yet still offers a wide choice of activities and well maintained beaches. Below Lake Castillon is Lake Chaudanne: the second flood defence structure close to Castellane. Its craggy lakeside is perfect for fishing enthusiasts.

 Lac de Castillon à Castellane © verdonpictures.com

Lac de Castillon à Castellane © verdonpictures.com

The Verdon vultures

Since the vultures were reintroduced in 1999 in Rougon, they have settled in the vertiginous cliffs of the Gorges du Verdon. More than 150 vultures are now living in the canyon and reproduce naturally.

You can observe these majestic birds (whose wingspans can measure up to 2.5 metres) in the Gorges du Verdon, more specifically from the viewpoints along the famous Route des Crêtes.

Vautours du Verdon

Vautours du Verdon