The Bastidon Trail
"One of the most beautiful hikes in the region despite 1,000m of vertical drop! For almost 2 hours by the Bastidon trail, I was able to discover, along the Verdon, the diversity of this sector. Accessible despite some wired passages. I loved the viewpoint at the Mayreste lookout on the Grand Canyon du Verdon, the pine and beech forests that cover the mountain of Barbin."
La Palud-sur-Verdon and the castle of Demandolx
The Demandolx, local lords, wished to develop a pleasure residence. Five centuries later, they began to build the contemporary castle with its four round towers. In 1789 (the Revolution) the building was completed and it came back to the inhabitants. It was therefore inhabited for nearly two centuries by a dozen owners before the town council decided to buy it to dedicate it to the environment. It was restored not long time ago, and it now houses the Maison des Gorges du Verdon.
The trails of the Verdon gorges will give you the opportunity to discover four endemic species of the Verdon. Honour where honour is due, on shaded dry walls, a small fern that grows by molding on the roughness of the rock. It is the Jahandiez Asplenium, named after a botanist from the Var in the beginning of the 20th century, to whom the “describer” of the species has dedicated it. Attention, pleasure of the eyes only, its rarity and originality deserve complete protection.
Belvedere of Mayreste
The Bastidon trail stands halfway up the gorges which allows it an almost "from the inside" discovery, on the cliff side. We are here in the heart of the rock and its natural vegetation. At the belvedere of Mayreste, you can look over some of the gorges and evaluate the distance between the road and the river. Then you get to the heart of the matter.
Lavandin with its “rustic" fragrance is a sterile hybrid of "broad leaved" lavender and "fine" lavender. It is used in detergents and other cleaning products. Fine lavender is the only prized by perfumers. To recognize them, your nose will remain the best way since the botanical differences are not clear and fairly relative: a ramified flower stalk and developed inflorescence for lavendin, a single stalk and short inflorescence for fine lavender.
Exit the village by the D952 towards Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. At the oratory, turn left to go along the campsite, then leave the road to go in front, on the trail.
1- Join the ridge road. Follow it on the right for about 250m. At the pumping station, turn right in the direction of Bonlau. Go behind the building. After the well, go down on the left. Farther, follow the ridge road for about 1km.
2- Leave the road and descend on the right by the Bastidon trail. Join the Mainmorte ravine. Then go back up to find the neck. Continue to flank. After crossing the ravine of Ferné exit the gorges by the path. Pass several ravines (the delicate passages are secured!). Turn left at the Mairestre belvedere.
3- Go up to the belvedere, then back and go along the D952 and then leave it to go straight into the first corner. After a series of winding roads, turn left into the Brusc valley. Climb into a rocky gully and exit into the Grinhan ravine. Join the GR®4 trail.
4- Turn right and follow the red and white markings of GR®4. Cut the turn of the trail, descend into the ravine and continue until the Jas de Barbin crossroad. Continue along the trail to the right under the woods (the trail changes slope). Continue on the mountainside of Barbin and after the passage of a ruin and an enclosed river, descend following the winding path. At the foot of the hill cross a trail and join the village road below. At the oratory, go straight on to reach La Palud.
Avoid high summer temperatures, leave early. Take: 3L of water per person, a hat, and walking shoes Be wary of certain wired passages (handrail). Not recommended for persons prone to vertigo.
Access and parking
19.6km southeast of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie on the D952.
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