La balade du Quartier
This hike allows you to access an exceptional site in a protected natural area for its biological, geological and landscape wealth that starts at the very bucolic "Saint Julien Plage" where it is good to stroll on the banks of the lake then you will walk then on the old canal guard trail and its many works overlooking the lake and coves to reach the cliffs with remarkable views with the beautiful beaches of Esparron Lake.
The intake from the canal de Provence
The first of two large water intakes contributing to the power supply of the EDF Vinon sur Verdon and the Canal de Provence to supply domestic and agricultural water, 116 municipalities, including Marseille, Toulon and Aix-en-Provence. The water then passes through the Maurras Gallery and other galleries and open channels to start as Canal de Provence near Rians.
Bridge or aqueduct?
Seen from below it looks like a bridge but it is the water of the old canal of Provence that was ended in 1875 which passed over then it is indeed an aqueduct, one of the many remarkable works of this old canal which operated until 1969 and it is the water intake of the canal of Provence with the creation of the lake which took the relay to convey the water until Aix en Provence, Marseilles, and many cities from the south of Provence.
Sensitive Natural Area
The Sensitive Natural Areas of the Var, known as ENS, are sites located in environments remarkable for their biological diversity. They are inherently fragile, rare or endangered. These treasures of biodiversity are managed according to this fragility. Appropriate amenities enhance their wealth and avoid over-frequenting harmful environments. The County Council strives to preserve the remarkable sites and the landscapes, to safeguard the natural habitats.
Like a Caribbean air
The impoundment of Lake Esparron in 1969 drowned the rich agricultural lands of the valley but in return the rise of the waters allowed to redraw the banks leaving sometimes beaches, sometimes steep cliffs, redrawing the landscapes that were transformed into an idyllic place if only by the colour of the water or by creating real small coves.
Between Provence and the Alps
Just before going down towards the lake an opening is offered to you with the view on the village of Esparron de Verdon, the immense plateau of Valensole and on the bottom the Alps massifs, you are at the heart of the high Provence, the prevailing winds with evocative names Tremontano - Tems dré - Montagnero - Ventouresco often bring back the freshness of the snow-capped peaks.
The cut off bridge
Here the little road seems to flow into the lake. It has not always been so. In 1967, the launching of the lake submerged a stone bridge by 12 meters with three arches that spanning the Verdon connected "Le Quartier" to the rest of the Esparron town. Passage between the Var and the Alpes de Haute-Provence This bridge built in 1725 by the municipality of Arles was a passageway for transhumance herds between the Crau and the pastures of the Pre-Alps avoiding the quirks of the Verdon.
Far off the Chiran
From the limestone cliffs overlooking the lake we have a magnificent view of Esparron de Verdon and its castle, we can also see in the distance the snow-capped Mount Chiran which is the second summit of the Verdon Prealps (1 905 m) after its neighbor on the right the Mourre de Chanier (1,930 m). Just above the keep the Grand Mourre (1898 m). The Chiran is separated from the Mourre de Chanier by the Portal of Blieux, col of 1,595 m of altitude.
Medieval route or Roman road
If you are careful the path is a true archaeological treasure, indeed there is a paved path, medieval for some, Roman for others, it is true that here the Verdon valley has served as a place of passage from time immemorial for but also for transhumance herds between Crau and the Prealps pastures. In 1725 the town of Arles built a bridge a little further upstream avoiding the vagaries of the Verdon in 1967 the launch of the lake has submerged it.
From Saint-Julien beach go on the right (starting post of the trail) climb the few steps and follow the path along the old Verdon canal (yellow and red marking GR® de Pays). Pass the water intake of EDF and the Canal de Provence and walk on the path between the lake and the channel. Pass the stone bridge of the Barade and continue on this path to the end of the canal a little before the tunnel closed by a gate turn left.
1- Go through the opening of the channel turn right and climb on the plateau overlooking the lake. Follow the markings on the cliff (note you are on a Var ENS Sensitive Natural Area) do not go out of the path, until a large pebble track.
2- At Poteau Balcon du lac (385 m) - Go down the track to the left to its end, cross the channel and reach the edge of the lake by a path on the left.. Continue to follow the path along the riverbanks past the "Ponton du Lac" and continue to the level of the concrete bridge. Continue along the route of the old canal guard road to the left of it. Follow him to the house of the canal guard (Provence canal property) on the left at the locality of the district.
3- Return either by the track going up on the right (Beacknoning) At the next intersection continue straight and join point (2). Return to departure by the route taken on the way. Otherwise redo the return by the same path.
The site of Saint-Julien beach is equipped with a parking lot whose number of places is limited (150 places). In July-August access to parking is not free.Do not park on the banks.Prudence during the journey along the canal, monitor the children.This route is located in a Sensitive Natural Area (protected areas) picking, sampling, cairns forbidden do not go out of the dog trail on a leash. Provice 2 l of water per person, hat, walking shoes. From 15th of June to 15th of September risk of closure of the massive look at the site of the prefecture in "find out more" fire risk access to the mountains.
House of the Verdon Regional Nature Park
Domaine de Valx, 04360 Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
+33 (0)4 92 74 68 00
House of the Verdon Regional Nature Park
OT de Brignoles - Provence Verte & Verdon Tourisme
Carrefour de l'Europe, 83170 Brignoles
+33 (0)4 94 72 04 21
7 place de l'hôtel de ville, 04800 Gréoux-les-Bains
+33 (0)4 92 78 01 08
Access and parking
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