Rafting is not possible on the low gorges of Verdon. Indeed, if formerly the water of the Verdon dug these magnificent gorges, they are now part of the lake of Esparron. If the Low Gorges of Verdon do not allow white water activities, they still contain many treasures.
What is the Basses Gorges du Verdon?
The low gorges of Verdon are located between Quinson and Esparron-de-Verdon. It is in fact the waters of the lake of Esparron formed by the dam of Gréoux (hence the classification of this article in this category of the blog) which go up in the low gorges of the Verdon, until the dam of Quinson exactly. Like all the dams of the Verdon, the water that comes out of the Quinson dam is very fresh. Indeed, the water comes from 40 meters deep with a temperature of only 6 degrees Celsius! Don’t worry, with the July-August temperatures, the water warms up quickly.
The lower gorges of the Verdon are 8 km of Verdon Secret. These gorges are less deep than the Grand Canyon du Verdon upstream of the Sainte-Croix lake. Nevertheless, we find there a more Mediterranean character where the turquoise of the waters reflects wonderfully the surrounding green oaks. A magnificent course to be made in kayak. Electric boat rental companies are also available for the less athletic.
Old canal of Provence
One cannot evoke the low gorges of the Verdon without evoking the old canal of Provence. Also called “old canal of the Verdon”, it begins a few dozen meters after the dam of Quinson then follows the low gorges before leaving to irrigate Provence. Its construction was decided in 1857. Indeed, already at that time, with a much smaller population than today, people were afraid of running out of water. The work began in the middle of the 19th century. From 1866 to 1875, no less than 500 convicts sentenced to hard labor were put to work. Building a structure to bring water from the Verdon to Aix-en-Provence was not an easy task.
In 1969, when it was at its peak, up to 750 kilometers of canals were built. The old Canal de Provence was active for a century. Indeed, it was managed by several concessionaires during its existence. The latter did not always provide the necessary maintenance. Finally, the old canal of Provence ended up not meeting the growing needs of the population. The old canal was replaced in the 70’s by the new Canal de Provence with much higher volumes of water transported.
It is important to note that the construction of this canal was considered in its time as a real technical exploit. It was cited in the World Fairs of 1878 in Paris and 1880 in Melbourne, Australia.
The path of the Garde Canal in the low gorges of Verdon
The Canal de Provence or Canal du Verdon has been partly swallowed up by the waters of Lake Esparron. However, on the left bank, in front of Esparron-de-Verdon, there is still a part of this famous canal. It is the path of the canal guard, an agent whose job was to walk along the canal in order to check its good condition. A trail that was rehabilitated in 2014 on only 3 kilometers long. Many bats have found refuge in the disused tunnels. Watch out for Batman!