Martel expedition 1905 in the Grand Canyon du Verdon

The Martel expedition was led by the French speleologist Édouard-Alfred Martel (1859-1938). He went to Haute Provence in 1905. Sent by the Ministry of Agriculture, he came to study the resurgence of Fontaine l’Evêque (today drowned in the lake of Sainte-Croix). He then turned away by the Grand Canyon du Verdon, in particular by Rougon where a team went up to explore the Grand Canyon. It is Isidore Blanc, guide of the expedition and teacher who brings together a team of villagers. The Martel expedition was launched on August 11, 1905.


Martel expedition day 1

The whole team starts from Rougon to reach the Samson corridor. They embark men and equipment on three frail canvas and wood skiffs. After a first day of laborious navigation, they set up camp at La Baume aux Pigeons. Barely 2 kilometers traveled.


Martel expedition day 2

A boat is destroyed and progress is then made by the shore. They arrive at the beginning of the afternoon at Estellier. At nightfall, they enter the corridor of the Styx, a second boat shatters sending men and equipment into the river. They then set up camp on the Imbut beach. Martel at the end of his strength then wishes to abandon the adventure. It is encouraged by the rest of the team that he manages to regain his motivation. It must be said that this represents a very big day. Going from Stix to Imbut during the night to finish off the most seasoned.

Martel expedition day 3

Not venturing inside the Imbut, the expedition must go around it through the chaos of the same name. Getting these cumbersome boats over the huge blocks forming chaos must have been a heavy task and particularly time-consuming. The camp is established at the end of the day in Les Cavalets.


Day 4

The progression is very slow, chaos of rocks, multiple logs brought by the floods obstruct the passage. Arrived at Pas de Mayreste some men exhausted to the nerves decide to give up. It wasn’t until the end of the day that the rest of the team arrived at Pas du Galetas. Martel who was then part of it, near the Roman bridge of Aiguines (today drowned in the waters of Lake Sainte Croix) the first successful expedition of the Gorges du Verdon.

It was not until 1928 to see Robert de Joly cross the rooms of the Imbut for the first time.


Funny Helmets


Rafting Nice – Canoe Nice – Adventure for Everyone

Rafting less than two hours away from Nice? Yes it’s possible! It is in the Verdon, in the heart of the Alpes de Haute Provence that we are pleased to welcome you. In Castellane exactly, on our brand new base! Let yourself be carried by the Napoleon road, it will guide you to us. All our activities are supervised by a certified guide. Some are reserved for the more athletic while others are very family oriented. Reservations and Information by email, whatsapp or phone.


Rafting Nice Verdon

The Verdon in complete safety! You descend the Verdon in a large inflatable boat type “zodiac”, operated with a paddle. A qualified guide directs the boat and gives you all the information to follow. An ideal activity for family and friends. During the descent and especially when it is hot, we always take the time to indulge in some “aquatic activities” for those who obviously want it. Jumping and fast swimming, there is something for everyone!

From 8 years and 40 € per person

Several routes are offered;

-The 2h30 classic from Castellane to Pont de Soleils. A very progressive course, both in terms of landscapes and rapids on the river. A route that brings together the essentials of Verdon and avoids the portage of Point Sublime.

-The short descent of 1h30 from Castellane to Chasteuil. Economical for large families! Even if it lasts only 1h30, you still pass the famous rapid of the Porte Saint Jean. We take the time to stop and swim in it. Super fun!

-Chasteuil-Point Sublime, 2h30. A course that makes you discover the first kilometers of the Grand Canyon. More sporty and absolutely formidable course. Navigating the canyon will leave you with unforgettable memories. Be careful, once you get to the bottom, you will have to bring the equipment back up, including rafting to the parking lot for the last 500 meters of Chemin Blanc-Martel.

-Castellane-Point Sublime. The complete Verdon! A descent that brings together all the aspects of the routes mentioned above. It is declined in two modes. The 3h30 mode, or the descent in a row with a few pauses. Day mode, i.e. the descent cut in half with a good lunch break in the middle. We do not offer “Castellane-Point Sublime” in July and August.


Canoe Nice Verdon

An activity for the most athletic! Indeed, it is up to you to manage your single or two-seater boat. A guide also accompanies you, but from his own boat. He will have taken care beforehand to give you all the maneuvering and safety instructions.

From 12 years and 50 €

The proposed routes depend on the water levels given by the Chaudanne dam;

-When the dam is open, we exclusively do the “classic” route from Castellane to Pont de Soleils for a period of 2h30 on the water, or about 14 km.

-When the dam is closed, we start from Pont de Soleils and end at Point Sublime. A very easy course technically which cannot be done in July-August because the reserved flow is too low in this season.


Aqua Trekking Nice Verdon

By low water level (when the dam is closed), we go for a “swim” in the Grand Canyon of Verdon. An activity that is done with a neoprene suit, a helmet and a suitable life jacket that allows very good mobility in the water. We offer several routes; Super Easy, from 6 years (45 €), Full day, from 14 years (75 €) and XXL on 2 days, from 16 years (150 €).

The two half-day routes are located at the Belvédère du Couloir Samson. From upstream to downstream;

-Pont de Tusset route; Very easy and very sunny. Usually reserved for the youngest, it nevertheless has a very nice jump that you can do again at will.

-The Samson corridor; the classic. Formidable narrowings, points of view inaccessible from the bank.



The Days and XXL routes are the most beautiful activities that we can offer in the Verdon.

– Routes that start much lower downstream. At the Chalet de la Maline from the right bank or at the Hotel du Grand Canyon on the left bank.


Rafting Nice-verdon – Canoe Nice-verdon, call the +33 6 62 48 12 70. Come many, we are waiting for you!