The Roc of Castellane, breathtaking view of the Verdon.

It does not matter which path you take to come to Castellane the first time. We will always remember the appearance of the Roc in the landscape. For my part, I came that day from Digne-les-bain. Once the bus arrived at the top, at the Col des Lèques, I saw this enormous block of limestone below. Le Roc; surmounted by its small chapel, rising above the village of Castellane. This memory still comes back to me each time I take this road more than came years later.

 

The Roc de Castellane

It culminates at 930 meters, this limestone formation rises more than two hundred meters above the village. The ideal place to take shelter from the Verdon floods and invaders. Indeed, during the middle ages, the habitat moved to the top of the Roc. It was appropriate at the time to protect oneself from the Moorish invasions which led lightning attacks from the Mediterranean coast. Afterwards, the village was set up a little lower down on a small plateau with easier access. Some traces of this site called Sinaca are still visible during the ascent.

The site has been classified since 1933 and climbing is prohibited there mainly to avoid rockfall in the village. Some say they saw someone base jump from up there.

A few years ago when the summers weren’t too dry, the July 14th fireworks display was shot from the Rock. Unfortunately, following these events, the Roc experienced many fire problems. This is why for several years now, the municipality has chosen the primary school at the bottom of the village as a launching point for the many rockets that illuminate the sky of Castellane on that evening.

 

Go up to the Notre Dame chapel

The Notre Dame du Roc chapel installed at the top of the limestone complex. This building, which may have replaced an older place of worship, was erected as a chapel in the 12th century. Only the south-eastern facade remains from this period, the rest of the building was restored in the 18th and 19th centuries. The chapel remains open at all times, go inside! The walls are covered with votive offerings; These plaques affixed by believers who have seen their requests come true. In addition, we saw fit to let a little relaxing music scroll, day and night. Guaranteed atmosphere.

It is not possible to drive up to the Roc because no road leads there. However, it is also not necessary to go there by helicopter, a 30 minute path will get you there. To do this, go to the Place de l’Eglise then take a tour of the Church of the Sacred Heart. You will then come across the famous Stations of the Cross which goes up to the Roc. You can also get there by a slightly longer path. It starts at the exit of Castellane towards Digne. On the right, following the fire station, the small yellow signs lead you to the top. You will pass by the Pentagonal Tower and its gardens, a magnificent place of relaxation overlooking the village and little frequented even at the height of the season.

An ideal excursion to complete a half day of Rafting!

The Funny Helmets