A must see experience if in South of France: the lake of Sainte-Croix. It’s milky-blue water is incredible.
Lake of Sainte-Croix is the third largest lake of France and only an hour and a half away from Nice. Many people say it is one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe, and I fully agree. It is a more than perfect place to swim, windsurf or canoe-kayak. And I especially love the latter!!
Gorges du Verdon
There are several small beaches around the lake from which you can rent boats and canoes. This is perfect because you can paddle straight into the gorges and take some rest on the beach afterward. Gorges du Verdon is the deepest gorge in France and one of the must-see natural wonders of central Provence. It is an amazing experience to float on its beautiful turquoise water between those impressive mountains and a lovely way to spend a few hours surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Village around the lake worth a visit
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie: Moustiers is a wonderful old village with no vehicular access due to the tiny roads around the centre. It’s simply stunning with good restaurants and accommodation. the little cross lit up above the church is a very nice touch. There are plenty of restaurants of varying standards. As far as I know there are no 100% vegan restaurants, but some restaurants offer vegan-friendly options. Just ask the staff what the possibilities are! For the shopaholics, there are plenty of shops with authentic local objects to purchase. There are stunning views at every turn in this village, which offer fantastic photo opportunities.
The Lake of Sainte-Croix (In French Lac de Sainte-Croix) is a man-made lake that was created in 1973. The aim of this project was to engulf the Salles valley and the villages of Salles sur Verdon and Bauduen, so that the village Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon became inhabitable. Luckily, the villages of Sainte-Croix and Bauduen were eventually saved and Les Salles rebuilt. After the creation of this lake by the Verdon river, the construction of the Sainte-Croix dam followed. Today the dam holds back 760 million cubic meters of water and supplies an enormous amount of power (almost 200 million kWh).
Lake of Sainte-Croix and Gorges du Verdon are most easily accessed from the Manosque exit (exit 18) of the A51 motorway (Aix en Provence to Gap), and thence via Valensole and Riez, to Moustiers Sainte Marie (source: www.about-france.com).