Time: 5.5h. Up: 650m. Down: 600m.
Distance: 18km. Difficulty: easy.

Previous Stage  Section  Next Stage

Stage 80: Castellane (738m) to Point Sublime (787m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

Today's stage takes you into a dramatic landscape: you climb high up above the deep gorge of the Verdon River, arc away around the massif of Les Réglés, and then return to the "Grand Canyon" of the Verdon at its most beautiful lookout: Point Sublime.

During the next couple of stages you'll hike down into and along the canyon, together, probably, with many other visitors. Even though it will probably be October by the time you get here, this is one of the top tourist attractions in Provence.

However, as another long-distance hiker on the Net commented: surprisingly, the hype is not overdone. The terrain is as wild as it gets -- the gorge was explored for the first time only in the early 20th Century -- and the bright green Verdon, cutting deeply into the limestone hills, has carved fantastic forms in the rock.

When planning the H2H I'd have been tempted to make a long detour to come along here... but it was not necessary: the Gorges lie exactly on the most direct path between Monaco and St.-Rémy. It is as if it was meant to be....

Today's hike is identical with the GR4. From Castellane head west, at first along a side-road, then a farm-track, and finally a trail. You go through the hamlets of la Colle (763m) and Chasteuil (900m), before curving south over a low pass to descend to the village of Rougon (1003m). From here it is just a short distance downhill to the Auberge du Point Sublime (787m) where you'll spend the night.

Alternatives: none (other than skipping the day and taking a taxi).
Maps: IGN-3542OT Castellane, IGN-3442OT Gorges du Verdon.

The House to House blog... stage 80.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: picnic. In Rougon, or earlier in Castellane, pick up food for picnics during the following two stages (there are no more shops or lunch-time restaurants until the end of Stage 82 in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie), or possibly for three days if you are going to take an extra day to hike the Sentier de l'Imbut (see Stage 81).
Dinner and overnight: the only place to stay at Point Sublime is the Auberge du Point Sublime (+33-(0) or -69.15, 15 rooms). However, if it is full, or if its restaurant is closed (as it is on wednesdays), then there are a couple of places to stay in Rougon: the B&B la Bastide du Rocher (+33-(0) or +33-(0), 3 rooms) and the B&B le Mur d'Abeilles (+33-(0), 4 rooms with 2-4 beds each and a café that serves crêpes below). Stopping in Rougon shortens this stage by 25 mins, 220m, 1km. Alternatively you could call for a taxi (information here) to take you 10km to the larger village of la Palud-sur-Verdon, where there are several places to stay (for a complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Castellane: buses go some days to Castellane from Digne-les-Bains (1h) and Marseille (3.5h), where there are railway stations (bus information here). Alternatively, from Nice, where there is a regular railway station, take the steam train to Saint-André-Les-Alpes, from which you can take a taxi the 37km to Castellane (for taxi information, see here, for steam train information, see here, and for regular trains, see the SNCF).
Point Sublime: call for a taxi (information here) to take you 17km to Castellane. Alternatively the taxi can take you some 70km to Les Arcs, where there is a regular railway station.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Castellane, centered on Point Sublime .

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

Previous Stage  Section  Next Stage