Just around the bend in a winding road on the way to the Gorges du Verdon and Lake Sainte-Croix, the old village of Baudinard-sur-Verdon, perched on the hillside, casts its benevolent shadow over an area full of surprises.
Where is Baudinard-sur-Verdon?
Just 11 kilometres separate the campsite from the village of Baudinard, and it will take you around 15 minutes by car to reach one of the local car parks. From the campsite, follow the road to Riez and just before the Sainte-Croix bridge take the road to Baudinard-sur-Verdon. The winding road skirts the Gorges de Baudinard for a while before leading you to the village through a forest of oaks and pines.
A brief history of Baudinard-sur-Verdon
Like many villages in the region, Baudinard entered the history books in the Middle Ages. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the land was ceded and the village was recorded in deeds under different names, first "Bellum Dinarium", then "Beldisnard". In the 14th century, the lordship passed into the hands of Élzéar de Sabran and remained in the hands of this family until the French Revolution.
The area itself has been occupied for much longer. From the Neolithic to the Iron Age, a number of inhabited caves bear witness to the passage of mankind. These caves are not accessible to the public and have been the subject of several excavation campaigns since 1958. The discoveries made here can be seen at the Musée de la Préhistoire in Quinson.
What to do in Baudinard-sur-Verdon
Visit the village of Baudinard-sur-Verdon
The shady lanes of the old village take us back in time. From the gardens in the upper village, discover the ruins of the Sabran castle, of which all that remains is the ground floor of a mighty stone keep. Walk down to the square in front of Saint-Jacques church, then cross the Grand Rue and take the Rue du Grand Puit. From the well, pay a visit to the old wash-house at the bottom of the village.
The gorges and caves of Baudinard
To see the Gorges de Baudinard, you can either take the hiking trails overlooking the gorges or enter the gorges by canoe from one of the water sports bases along the Verdon.
The Gorges de Baudinard stretch over 13 kilometres and form the first part of the Basses Gorges du Verdon. The calm waters of the Verdon wind their way between rock faces sometimes 100 to 150 metres high. Along the way, you'll come across natural caves carved out by the river thousands of years ago. It is these caves or balsams that have brought us the stories of the men and women who lived in the region centuries ago.
The heritage of the village of Baudinard
Visiting Baudinard? During your visit to the village, we recommend that you visit Saint-Jacques church, built in the 11th century and restored several times. Stop off to see the ruins of the Château de Sabran and its keep, before touring the old chapels of Saint-Jean, Saint-Michel and Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, which bear witness to the faith and life of the villagers in the not-too-distant past. Finally, if you feel like it, on the way to Vaumougne, take a look at the Romanesque priory of Valmogne, part of the Lérins abbey, built in the 13th century on a late 5th-century building. Today, the former priory is privately owned.
Hiking from Baudinard
The 2 km botanical trail, which can be explored with the whole family from the charbonnières visible from the roadside, reveals the full variety of Provençal flora. The path takes you to a lookout point offering a magnificent view of Lake Sainte-Croix.
At the top of the village, walk up the hill known as Haute Éouvière, where one of the paths leads to the Notre-Dame-De-La-Garde chapel and its extraordinary panoramic view.