In a recent blog post, I told you about the first half of a full day excursion to Moustiers and the lavender fields of Valensole. As much as I enjoyed the morning, the afternoon was even more spectacular.
Just outside of Moustiers, we stopped to admire the Gorges du Verdon, dazzling turquoise waters held in the embrace of deep limestone cliffs. The valley was carved by Alpine runoff, but the water is the result of the valley being flooded in the 1970s as part of a vast hydroelectric project. The astonishing color is the result of minerals suspended in the water. I’m no water sports enthusiast, but it was a fairly warm day when we were there, and all I wanted to do was jump in a paddle boat and join the people frolicking in the water below me.
We drove around the perimeter of the gorge and then to the village of Sainte-Croix-de-Verdon, perched above a lake of the same name, also part of the same system of vast reservoirs. We had time to either wander through the village or go down to the water. I opted for the village and photography, but it was so tiny that I think I would have been better using my time for paddling at the water’s edge. The tiny village was saved from being flooded when the dam was built, but some other villages have disappeared beneath those turquoise waters. (It makes me think of the French TV series Les Revenants.) I think this would be an amazing place to rent a vacation home for a week in the summer. (No matter how beautiful it is, I’d get bored of beach life after a few days.)
I’d never heard of the Gorges du Verdon prior to this trip, but all my French friends were in the know. How about you? Have you ever been there? How cold is the water?!