The Verdon Gorge


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The Verdon is a river in the south of France who begins near to the « col d’Allos » in the Alpes of Hautes Provence. After, this river goes to the Durance, near the village of Vinon sur Verdon. On tis way of 175 kms, it cross the famous “Gorge du Verdon”. Its principals affluents are “la Lance”, (famous canyon placed in Colmars les Alpes), the “Jabron” (the “one” in this area, in Castellane), “l’Artuby et le Collostre (near “Gréoux-les-bains”). It cross also Castillon and Chaudane lakes before the “Gorge du Verdon, and the Sainte Croix Lake, just after, on Moustiers Sainte Marie village.

Etymology and history

Its name come from latin « viridum » means « a green place ». It color is certainly at the origin of it name.

Historically, the Verdon is like a border. Still now, it is the border between Alpes de Hautes Provence and Var. Men has always be interest about the Verdon since the Preshistoric Age. It exists many traces from humain being since the paleolitique. There is a famous museum in Quinson. During Antiquity, Riez was a important city .In the Middle Age, the Verdon belongs to nobles and rich family or church of Riez. At the XXth century, A dam been built, who changed the ecosystem of the river.The sites of Castillon and Chaudanne started in 1928 and finished in 1949 for Castillon and 1952 for Chaudanne.The dam of Sainte Croix started in 1970 and finished in 1975. All these infrastructures product electricity and make the Canal De Provence up

Flow and hydrology

The water of the Verdon is controled by EDF. There are a lot of dams, Castillon, before Castellane, become Chaudanne’s Lake. Chaudanne’s dam become the Verdon River, 2 kms far from Castellane. The Verdon is an important river with a debit of 27m2/sec in Vinon sur Le Verdon. There are two flood. A small one in autumn with the rain, and a big one in spring. In May, there is 47m2/sec in Vinon. The debit is not natural and depends of EDF. In our activity, only the second part of Mainmorte is impossible when water is up.

Ecology, flora and fauna of the Verdon

The famous colours of the Verdon is fluorine and algaes into the water. In the area of Sainte Croix, the colour could be the result of argil.The wildlife is important. Fishes as trouts, chars, carps, barbells, roaches, pikes…The Verdon, as a Regional and Natural Park, is a home for chamois, deer, roe deer and wild boar. This place is famous also for birds as griffon vulture, the bearded vultures You can find also many reptils, as vipers, snakes and lizards.At last, small black scorpions could be seen with all your attention.

Verdon flora is very dense. Many forests are equipped with Scots pine and boxwood. The flora is very rich with juniper, hawthorn, yarrow and common yarrow to lavender, lily, sage, thyme and rosemary. The forests of the Parc Naturel Regional du Verdon are a real treat for the eyes and smells.