Angouire valley, canyoning in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

This morning, it’s 9:30 am and I enjoy my coffee with a chocolate bread on the terrace of the “Tourisme”, an institution of the village where the outdoor professionals like to meet. Christophe, a canyoning guide friend is passing by. “Say, I’m going to do a canyon, the Angouire valley in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, are you coming ? And I answer: “Well, listen, no activity on the Verdon this afternoon, come on, let’s go! It’s still an hour’s drive from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to Castellane on the D952, known as the “route des gorges”. In July-August, with two-three campers in front, it can take a little longer.


Approach walk and organization

So here we are on the road to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. It is now 11:30 am and we are leaving for a canyon day, le Val d’Angouire! Fortunately, there are only two of us and we know that we will go faster than a group of beginners. However, it is always interesting to be one more in order to share the material and especially the ropes!

We leave the car on the highest parking of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and start the ascent towards this medieval road which leads to the Roman way leading to Castellane via Chasteuil.

First impression; this walk must be unbearable in summer under the sun. Second impression; it is better to come with two cars and take a shuttle to get closer to the start of the canyon because we walked for more than two hours at a rather steady pace before starting the activity. To do this, it is necessary to take the direction of the lodging of Venascle. We follow a track at the exit of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie which also leads to a takeoff of paragliding.


Progression in the Canyon of the Val d’Angouire

This canyon is in a particularly wild and little frequented environment. It dries up very quickly in the season, so it is only practicable in spring, even in years with a lot of rain. We are finally at the start, it is already time to get equipped. We do the first rappels which are not difficult at all. Even on a sunny day, I’m glad I put on my 7 mm wetsuit because the abseils under the waterfalls are very very refreshing…

We finally arrive at the passage known as the “Pear”. Here, the phenomenon of erosion reaches its paroxysm, the water cut about 30 meters into the limestone layer to form a narrow corridor. The sunlight even has some difficulties to come to the bottom. This is often the problem in this sport.

Little by little, the canyon comes to an end. We finish in a luxuriant vegetation, decorated with multiple tuff waterfalls. Another 40 minutes of walking to find the car left in Moustiers. Be careful to follow the way back or you will quickly end up at the neighbor’s. He is not very inclined to receive “canyoneurs” on his property.

The setting was great and the route was quite sportive as we took more than seven hours in total, at a rather steady pace. Still a good day as we like them, we did not make the road for nothing.


The Funny Helmets.