Our Beautiful Region
Information on local attractions
Things to do
The beautiful, turquoise waters of the Lac Sainte Croix are a great attraction for all. The views are stunning.
The lake provides beach areas and safe swimming locations, along with a range of water sports.
A pedaloe trip from the lake up the gorges is a must. Canoes and kayaks are available too.
Not only is this a lot of fun, but the views of the Gorges from water level are amazing.
This is a superb area for challenging cycling and hiking.
Each tourist office has maps of the routes for their specific location
Experienced guides are available for organised hikes in the Gorges Du Verdon
There are more local walks around the towns and villages, with inter-village routes
For that extra adrenalin rush there is a wide range of extreme sports in the Verdon.
From white water rafting and canyoning to rockclimbing, paragliding to bungie jumping, there are activities for the more fit and adventurous.
Several of these activities take place from Le Palud sur Verdon in the centre of the Gorges Du Verdon.
Enjoy the thrill of the zip-line at Arnaude Adventures. This is an extremely well -run adventure park in the grounds of a local chateau vineyard. A fun day out for all the family.
Set in a beautful location the tree -top adventures range in levels of difficulty, offering fun for everyone.
Safety is of utmost importance with a spectacula zip-line of 200m
The Verdon area
We are lucky enough to be located in the most wonderful region for a holiday, with loads to see and do
Aups is the gateway to the Gorges Du Verdon, which is the largest canyon in Europe.
Because of its geological structure, many sporting activities are offered, making it a great attraction to all.
Things To See
We are surrounded by incredible scenery, from fortified medieval hill-top villages to the magnificent Gorges Du Verdon, the largest canyon in Europe. Car hire is highly recommended to enjoy the region to the full.
Don’t miss the “route des cretes” from Le Palud sur Verdon
Don’t miss the sight of majestic vultures flying overhead around the village of Rougon and surrounding area.
Several varieties of vultures -the Fawn, Monk and Egyptian vultures can been seen clearly.
The lavender fields are on the Valensole plateau with beautiful views over the Lac Sainte-Croix. Beautiful sunflower fields are magnificent too,when in bloom.
The view from Tourtour over Le Massif des Maures is also beautiful, especially at sunset.
The waterfall at Sillans La Cascade is magical. Also the gardens at Villecroze with beautiful waterfall and caves are well worth a visit.
The Verdon area is truly beautiful. At each turn there is exceptional natural beauty.
We are surrounded by authentic provencal villages, which house a wealth of history and architecture dating back to the 12th century
Village squares, cafés, the clink of the boules as the locals play pétanque under the plane trees, people bustling around,carrying freshly-baked baguettes, and the aroumas of a superb lunch being cooked in the local restaurants- a visit to any village provides a sensous experience.
Aups will not disappoint. Aups (Zaou) in provencal is the Capital of the Haut Var. Situated at 505m above sea level, in the lower foothills of the alps, Aups is 60km from the coast and 80km from the ski slopes with a healthy climate-dry and temperate offering ideal vacation conditions. has a twice -weekly market, not to mention the famous Thursday truffle market between November and February.
No trip to the region would be complete without a visit to the Aups market. We are very lucky, we can walk into town on market day, and enjoy the atmosphere.
Aups is not alone with its market, and the surrounding towns and villages have markets on different days, so there will always be a market somewhere near.
Do visit Tourtour, Villecroze, Moustiers-Sainte- Marie, Cotignac and Salernes, and our nearest”perched” village, Moissac Bellevue
Both the Alpes of Haute Provence and the resorts of the Côte d’Azur, such as St Tropez, Antibes, Cannes and Nice are easily accessible by car.
A two hour drive will take you on a journey through spectacular scenery to the source of the Verdon River at the Val d’Allos – also a ski resort in winter.
The nearest sandy beaches are at Fréjus or Sainte Maxime
The nearest beaches are those around the Lac Sainte Croix.
The Mediterranean beaches are just over an hour’s drive away.
Aix en Provence is a charming and sophisticated city, steeped in history and culture. The old town has a pedestrian zone with cobbled streets, beautiful old buildings, market squares, and chic retail outlets . Do take “Le Petit Train”, with running commentary, as you pass through the quaint old town.
If you want to partake of some “glitz”, then visit Saint Tropez and the famous Pampelonne beach
Nice and Cannes are easily accessible about an hour and a half away.
For keen driving enthusiasts how about a run along the “ Grande Corniche” dropping down into Monaco?
If you are departing from Nice airport and have a late flight, a trip to Antibes is well worthwhile. not only does it have moorings for some of the world’s largest super yachts, but it is also has a Picasso museum. Full of winding old streets, lined with restaurants and various shops, it has much to offer everyone.
In the other direction, Marseille, City of culture, underwent great refurbishment. The port comes right into the city, with many waterfront, seafood restaurants, as it is home of the Bouillabaisse
Not only is this visually a stunning region ,as a result of the geological formation, but as a result of the caves formed in the lower gorges, the area was the home to prehistoric man.
When the Lac Sainte-Croix was in its planning stage, archaeologists excavated the area and found extensive evidence of prehistoric man.
The story of the flooding of the lake and the findings are well documented and exhibited at the museum of prehistory at Quinson.
There is also a replica of a prehistoric village
Trips to the cave La Baume Bonne are available to see the site where there is evidence of 400,000 years of history
There is also the Terra Rossa Museum at Salernes, a major producer of ceramics over three centuries. Salerenes tomettes ( hexagnol tiles), formed the flooring in buildings all over the world.
This museum is centred around a historic factory, where the process of tile -making is explained.
Wine and Gastronomy
The black truffle, tuber melanosporum, otherwise known as “the black diamond”, and after which we named our property, is a very important commoditiy of the region. Aups holds the principal truffle market of the area, with restauranteurs coming from far and wide.
The truffle, which grows symbiotically at the root level of oak and hazlenut trees has a black bark , and within, a black and white marbled flesh. Its distinctive aroma is made up of more than 70 aromatic components. The best growing conditions are: a medium altitude, a generally hot and dry climate, spring rainfalls and a shallow limestone soil.
Although truffles occur naturally, such is their demand, that “trufficulture” is big business in our region, with the roots of truffle oaks, being impregnated with spores of tuber Melanosporum before being planted.
Do visit La Maison de la Truffe in Aups, for an in depth explanation on the growing cycle of the truffle and extensive exhibition of all things “truffle”
Restaurants of the area specialise in truffle menus, and there is an annual “journée de la truffe” in Aups at the end of January each year, bringing people from a wide area to celebrate this coveted black diamond.
Surrounded by local producers there are gastronomic delights at every corner, not forgetting many hectares of vineyards and the wine-tasting experience.
The area is home to several great chefs and there is a wide choice of restaurants in the area to suit every taste and pocket, from a local creperie to Bruno’s celebrated truffle restaurant, or the Bastide du Moustiers ( Alain Ducasse).
Aups itself has several good restaurants, all a short walk away.
For those who enjoy cooking, there are a wealth of local ingredients and all the utensils you require in your “gite”
Le rosé, c’est en Provence qu’il est né !- It was in Provence that rosé was born!
This is rosé country , with a great number of vineyards and chateaux to visit.
There are several wine routes, but most of the vineyards do non-obligatory tastings.
During the Summer months look out for open- air musical and theatrical events in the vines.
How about a day out to a luxury wine estate Le Chateau de Berne – with something for everyone.