Day trip to Gorge du Verdon, Moustiers and Valensole

If you’re around in summer, enjoy this top travel tip that has something for everyone – from paddling about in Europe’s deepest canyon, to enjoying a picturesque lunch and then finishing off in the fields of lavender.

We recommend an early departure for the beaches near Aiguine, take the D957 past Hameau du Pont, mainly to beat the crowds queueing up for a pedalo. Hiring an electric boat is a good idea if there’s a breeze, and if you’d prefer a more relaxed time on the water. The views as you sail into the Verdon gorge are breathtaking with the canyon towering around you.

Then head off to Moustiers Sainte-Marie for a leisurely lunch and shopping in the artisinal shops. You can climb the 262 steps to the chapel on the mountain top, known as the Way of the Cross. The ceramic museum regales how Pierre Clérissy brought the secret of white enamel to Moustiers in 1668, making these ceramics famous in European courts for 200 years, until ceramics from China and England took favour.

We love supporting local artisans, as it helps them maintain these rustic lifestyles, and is a refreshing break from the highstreet stores in cities.

Then to round off this gorgeous day, head towards the Valensole plateau in the afternoon to enjoy the lavender fields basking in the Provençal sun, abuzz with bees and their hives. There are a few farmer stalls selling all things lavender. The essential oils are excellent, as are the soaps and honey. There’s a rustic open-air lavender museum just outside Valensole also worth a visit, which shows the distilling process.

Head back to Cotignac in the early evening to enjoy a glass of rosé, as you dine alfresco and gently process the sensations of the day.

This video by the Moustiers tourism boards gives us a lovely overview of the region. We’ve done this day trip numerous times, and love sharing it with family and friends. If you’ve followed it, we’d love to see your pics on Instagram or Facebook.

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