Villages around the Lake of Sainte Croix
Les Salles sur Verdon 1 km
Long ago, Les Salles sur Verdon was a typical little village of Haut-Var which existed peacefully at the end of the valley. In 1973 the village was sacrificed for the production of electricity and disappeared under the waters of the lake of St. Croix.
The first stone of the new town was laid in May 1970 and the village was rebuilt at the edge of the new lake on 2,700ha. Because of this lake, Salles has become a summer resort and a tourist attraction. The town is a mixture of modern architecture and traditional Provençal styles. Before the original town was destroyed, many ot the objects of Provençal interest were saved. One can see the old fountain, both wash houses, the bell tower, the monument to the dead and some typical door frames.
With its incomparable location the village people are trying to develop their new life in a way that will be advantageous to all and well balanced at the same time. ln the summer the village can count up to 4000 inhabitants.
Aiguines 7 km
Located at the gateway to the Verdon Gorge, above the superb Lac de Sainte Croix, Aiguines is a perfectly located little village nestling in the heart of a magnificent untouched natural environment offering spectacular views of the Verdon Canyon (from the D71 and D23) and also of the Lac de Sainte Croix.
At Aiguines you will find a wonderful privately-owned chateau, dating back to the Renaissance. It has been tastefully restored with its varnished roof tiles, and overlooks the lake majestically, offering a breath-taking view stretching to the Valensole plateau, the Alpine foothills and the Luberon mountain chain. If you like crafts and woodworking you should visit the wood turning museum (open in July and August) as well as the arts and crafts shops and workshops to be found in the village.
You can also take the opportunity to discover the old alleyways of the village, lined with beautiful old authentic houses, giving the village great charactere.
Aiguines offers tourists, hikers and sports lovers a wide range of activities to discover the beauty of the surrounding area and natural environment in every detail. Anything is possible here. If you want to take it easy, simply stretch out on the beaches of Sainte Croix lake. More active visitors are spoilt for choice, with climbing, white water sports, air sports available, as well as the simpler pleasures of pedal-boating or windsurfing!
Aiguines has become a regional climbing capital thanks to the many climbing tracks in the village. Whatever your level, you can climb in all seasons. In summer you can focus on tracks located north, cooled and ventilated by the Gorges, in winter the tracks of the western side are in full sun in the afternoon.
Extreme sports enthusiasts will be delighted also with bungee jumping from the bridge of Artuby, the highest bridge in Europe (182m), big thrills guaranteed (from April to November only)
What to see
The Chapel Saint Pierre and table of orientation, the Château
Hiking the “Grand Margès”, horseback riding. Kayaking, boating, climbing, bungee jumping
Market on Tuesday morning
Moustiers-Saint-Marie 11 km
At the entrance to the Gorges du Verdon Canyons, Moustiers Sainte Marie is the mecca of earthenware.
There is a little lake here of 6 ha. which is very well equipped, Because of its port, its boat club and its activity house, Moustiers is one of the most attractive spots of the Emerald Valley.
The site is exceptional and quite amazing. Moustiers is set in a semi circle of rocky cliff at 630m. altitude. .
Two peaks at either end of this cliff are linked together by an iron chain (227m. long) on which is hooked the star of one of the knights of the Crusades.
At each season Moustiers offers wonderful walks either in the heart af the village (the architecture is surprising) or in the outskirts ( waterfall of Rion, Notre Dame de Beauvoir, the grotto of St. Madeleine.
Legend of the star
According to Frédéric Mistral, the star is an ex-voto dedicated to St. Mary. The knight Blacas decided to hang a star there as a homage to the Virgin on his return from the Crusades.
Other versions talk about love stories, the Three Kings or Chivalry… Although many versions exist about the origin of the star none have been verified to date. The mystery remains total on the origin and meaning of the star above Moustiers… The size of the star we see today dates from 1957. It is the eleventh to hang above the mountain road. In 1995 it was covered in gold leaf before returning to its vigil over the village. The size of the star, which originally had five points has changed over time from 1.80 to 30 cm. Today, the chain is 135 m long, weighs 150kg and the star covered in gold leaf measures 1.25 m.
What to see
The pottery museum.
The medieval church.
Hiking, horseback riding. Mountain biking.
Climbing, paragliding, ULM, hang gliding, sailing.
Windsurfing, kayaking, river runs.
Market on Friday morning
Tourist Office Moustiers
Bauduen 21,6 km
Situated on the banks of the pure and calm waters of the lake of Sainte Croix, the village of Bauduen is one of the most remarkable sites of Verdon.
The old village, typically Provençal, is terraced in the form of an arc facing out onto the lake. The old stone houses and the narrow streets will charm you as will the excursions available in the surrounding.
What to see
The medieval church of St. Peter and St. Paul.
The Saracen tower, ruins of a medieval castle.
Swimming, pedal boats, sailing.
Rowing, fishing, tennis, horseback riding, hiking.
Tourist Office Bauduen
Sainte Croix du Verdon 26 km
Situated at the exit of the famous Verdon Canyons, this charming Provençal village is built high on a rocky promontory and at its foot lies Lake Ste. Croix.
14 km. long and 2 km. wide, Lake Ste. Croix is a wonderful spot for families with its well equipped beaches and the many activities offered.
The old village has some lovely houses and pretty public squares, shady and blooming with flowers.
From the top of the village there is a splendid panorama of the lake…don t forget your cameras !
Ste. Croix du Verdon is without a doubt one ot the nicest places of the Verdon region, and is appreciated by many visitors. Its few permanent residents are very busy in the summer.
What to see
16th c. parish church.
Picturesque village houses.
Activitiy center at the lake. Fishing. Sailing lessons.
Club Nautique (water sports club) Windsurfing. Kayaking. Pedalboats.
Tennis, Volleyball. Hiking. Riding school. Poney Club.
Village Festival: August 6.
Ste. Croix Festival: September 14.
Market on Tuesday morning.
Tourist Office Ste Croix