A wonderful getaway day in the Verdon valley

Get ready for a thrilling getaway day in the Verdon Regional Natural Park, where each village, and each view, is a wonder. Just a 45-minute drive from Cotignac, discover the Lac de Sainte-Croix that sits at the gateway to the famous Verdon gorges valley, beside the famous villages of Bauduen and Moustier-Sainte-Marie, and the unmissable lavender fields of Valensole plateau beyond.

In the early morning, head towards Bauduen, a small medieval village built around the Défens hill on the edge of the lake’s crystal clear shore. Stroll through the cobbled streets steeped in several centuries of history, and discover the two churches of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul, as well as the ruins of a medieval castle and its Saracen tower. Climb to the top of the village to take in a breathtaking panoramic view of the lac de Sainte-Croix’s turquoise waters and the surrounding hills. The lake in one of the largest man-made reservoir lakes in Europe, and it is the ideal playground for water sports enthusiasts looking for new adventures.

At the end of the morning, stop by the small port of Bauduen for a trip across the lake in an electric boat, canoe or pedalo boat. The choice is yours – even a windsurfing lesson, if you so wish!


Continue your epic journey to Moustier Sainte-Marie, a medieval village perched majestically on a steep cliff overlooking the lake and the rest of the valley. Labelled as one of the “most beautiful villages in France” Moustier will charm you with its narrow streets lined with stone houses and their colourful shutters. Stop for lunch at Bastide de Moustier, a one-star Michelin starred restaurant, renowned for its refined cuisine showcasing the authentic flavours of Provence. Settle yourself in comfortably and let yourself be seduced by the gastronomic delights of Alain Ducasse, the restaurant’s famous chef  owner. After lunch, take the time to soak up the peaceful and authentic atmosphere of this village steeped in centuries-old tradition, and often compared to the Christmas nativity scene with its hanging star, like an ex-voto dedicated to the Virgin Mary. To walk off your lunch, climb to the Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir chapel to say a thankful prayer and enjoy an exceptional view of the village.

On the way back to Cotignac, stop at Riez, an ancient Roman city famous for its remarkable archaeological ruins that go from the Gallo-Roman era to the Renaissance: the ancient columns that stand as a portico of a temple dedicated to Apollo; the 5th century baptistery that now houses a museum; the Sainte-Maxime chapel built into the hill; the 14th century rampart built around the city and lined with towers and gates; the Hôtel de Mazan, a private mansion designed and built within the Gothic era, classified as a historic monument. Beyond Riez there are lavender fields as far as the eye can see, since the village is located on the famous Valensole plateau, sitting 500m above sea level. This is one of the oldest cities in the Alpes de Haute Provence, and its stunning location offers unforgettable sights, sounds and smells in the spectacle of the Provençal summer.