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Clifftop adventures — 10 rides in France’s Verdon Gorges

Chloé Perceval

Clifftop adventures — 10 rides in France’s Verdon Gorges

Road Cycling Collection by Chloé Perceval

10

Tours

33:16 h

392 mi

39,425 ft

If we were to paint the Verdon Gorges, we would need all the colours of an artist's palette. From the emerald blue of the lakes and rivers to the bright purple of the lavender fields, via the bright white of the limestone cliffs and the clear green of the vegetation, the Verdon promises you a colourful journey, in every sense of the word!

Nestled between the Alps and the Mediterranean, the Verdon Regional Nature Park is a place of rich historical and geological heritage. You can discover as many traces of the past by walking through the narrow streets of its many perched villages as by climbing the numerous passes and summits which overhang the gorges.

The region is known for climbing, canyoning and kayaking but it’s also an incredible playground for cyclists. You ride across cliffs, along gorges carved by water and time, and through villages built directly on the rock. The effort is rewarded with incredible views of rocky canyons, the Verdon and the lakes that punctuate this region.

All the circuits proposed in this Collection are easy to access, can be started from any point along the route and can be done in either direction. I’ve ordered them from longest to shortest but don't forget to look at the elevation gain to get an idea of how long they will take and the effort required. One thing is for sure, the region is not very flat! These routes are all designed for intermediate to advanced cyclists, not for beginners.

The best way to get to the Verdon Regional Nature Park is by car, but once there I recommend that you use the bike-friendly ZOU! buses to get to the starting points. For more information, go to zou.maregionsud.fr/en.

These routes arebest explored during spring and autumn to make the most of the vibrant colours and good weather, but avoiding the hot summer and busy traffic. In the autumn, the gorges and canyons turn red, orange and yellow, and it’s a real pleasure to ride in such colourful surroundings.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    01:48
    14.6 mi
    8.1 mph
    3,975 ft
    3,975 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    This is THE classic around! The Route des Crêtes is a superb signposted bike route that takes you to some of the most beautiful viewpoints over the Verdon gorges. Departing from La Palud-sur-Verdon, this circuit is accessible to everyone, and may take you more or less time depending on the number of

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  • Intermediate
    02:11
    28.2 mi
    13.0 mph
    2,050 ft
    2,075 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Here is a beautiful marked cycle route that takes you to the Plateau de Valensole, between fields of lavender and vestiges of the region.

    

    You start in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, a magnificent little village nestled at the foot of the cliffs. The warm-up is quick on this tour: you quickly start the climb

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  • Intermediate
    02:15
    30.5 mi
    13.6 mph
    1,850 ft
    1,850 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This loop differs from the other circuits in this Collection since it is located a little more off the beaten track. You will discover superb roads and picturesque villages with rich historical heritages.

    

    You start your walk in La Verdière, and take the Route des Lacs, a superb road that takes you between

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  • Intermediate
    02:24
    34.1 mi
    14.2 mph
    1,800 ft
    1,800 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This marked route takes you to discover the Plateau de Valensole, its charming little villages and its famous lavender fields. A colorful circuit that allows cyclists of all levels to discover a magnificent corner of the region.

    

    You start the route in Riez, and take the direction of Puimoisson. After

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  • Difficult
    03:11
    40.8 mi
    12.8 mph
    3,200 ft
    3,200 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Between lakes and hills, here is an incredible loop which makes you discover a side a little less known of the natural regional park of Verdon. I was impressed by the contrast of colors on this tour, between the turquoise of the Verdon, the clear green of the vegetation and the white of the limestone

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  • Difficult
    03:16
    35.4 mi
    10.8 mph
    4,425 ft
    4,425 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    This marked route takes you to the heart of the Moyen-Verdon massifs. Departing from Castellane, get ready to experience a great cycling adventure, in a wilder part of the regional park, and away from the crowds.

    

    Your first ascent of the day begins at Col de Cheiron. A little over four kilometers at 4

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  • Difficult
    03:23
    42.2 mi
    12.5 mph
    3,500 ft
    3,500 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    A superb loop, which starts from Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon and takes you along magnificent lakes and rivers and pedaling through the heart of the lower Verdon gorges.

    

    You start on the heights of Lake Sainte-Croix, and descend to the lake, which can be admired in all its splendor from the Pont de Sainte-Croix

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  • Intermediate
    02:50
    36.0 mi
    12.7 mph
    2,875 ft
    2,900 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Here is a really nice route, which takes sections of several marked routes to take you around the most important lake in the region, that of Sainte-Croix. Coming from Annecy, where the tour of the lake is a classic outing for cyclists of all ages, I personally have a soft spot for routes that allow you

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  • Difficult
    05:18
    60.5 mi
    11.4 mph
    6,625 ft
    6,625 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    A beautiful loop, designed for the more athletic and athletic among you. This marked route takes you to some of the most beautiful viewpoints over the Verdon gorges.

    

    You start in the heart of the superb village of Aiguines, and gain a little height from the start of the course. Take a last look at the

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  • Difficult
    06:39
    69.5 mi
    10.4 mph
    9,150 ft
    9,125 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    A great ride, designed for experienced cyclists, which takes you to both sides of the Verdon and allows you to discover some incredible views of the gorges.

    

    You start in La-Palud-sur-Verdon, and take the road towards Rougon. A first beautiful descent takes you into the heart of the gorges, and you ride

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    10
  • Distance
    392 mi
  • Duration
    33:16 h
  • Elevation
    39,425 ft

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Clifftop adventures — 10 rides in France’s Verdon Gorges

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