Castellane, which dates back to the sixteenth century, is located at the cross-roads of the Route Napoléon and the Upper Verdon road.
Nearby: | Bargeme 30 km | Batie 10 km | Digne-les-Bains 54 km (1 hr) | Entrevaux 43 km | Frejus 85 km (1h15) | Grasse 63 km (1h15) | Moustiers-Sainte-Marie 45 km | Nice 103 km (1h45) | Rougon 20 km | Saint Vallier-de-Thiey 51 km | Sainte Croix Lake 48 km | Senez 19 km | Trigance 19 km | Verdon Gorges 16 km |
Castellane is the opposite of a perched village. Tucked down in the throat of the steep Grand Canyon du Verdon, the town is invisible from a distance as you approach, except for a tall rock jutting straight up out of the valley, with a stone chapel (from 1703) perched on top.
The Chapel Nôtre-Dame-du-Rock perched high above Castellane (small photo-4 10k) is built on the site of a Roman fort and the ancient Roman town of Petra Castellana.
The Romanesque Eglise St-Victor dating back to the 11th century, was built by the monks of the Abbey of St-Victor of Marseilles. The aisles of this parish church were built in the 16th and 17th centuries.
It wasn't until the 14th century that the inhabitants of Castellane moved completely down off the rock and into the lower town.
Castellane is pretty much a Summertime Town. Its 1500 plus population expands to about 20'000 during July and August. During the winter, there is life here, but it resembles a ghost town compared to the summertime activity. In the off-season we've had trouble finding a place to eat lunch, but it is possible. During the summer, if there's any problem for dining, it's more about finding an available table at one of the many terrace restaurants.
In the "Modes" hat shop they are serious about their hats, and have been for a very, very long time. The lady who looks after the shop sometimes to help out her friend is 87 years old . The proprietor is responsible for the design or purchase of everything she sells, and is knowledgeable and proud of her wares; she's 102 years old.
[Sept 1999] The proprietor is now 105 years old. She's relaxed her work to only half-days now, attending her shop only in the afternoons, and she no longer makes her own hats. She does, however, personally select all wares that are offered for sale (and there's a great selection, including some for hiking and strolling). During the mornings, you'll find her granddaughter looking after the shop, maintaining the family's friendly service.
First record, 965: Petra Castellana; earlier called Salinae because of two salt-water springs.
Celto-Ligurian: The ancient Ligurian village of the Suetrii tribe, then a Gallo-Roman town.
Gallo-Roman: Vestiges remain of the Roman town, including tombs, funerary stela and medals. A knowledgeable friend has shown us the route of the Roman road west of the town, and we've hiked part of it in the hills down towards the Gorges du Verdon, just a few km away.
Office de Tourisme
Tel (V.A.): 04 92 83 61 14; Fax: 04 92 83 76 89
Wednesdays and Saturday are market day, and the market is big, busy, and interesting.
Every Aug - Festival d'arts traditionnels "folklore"
- Art et Traditions Populaires
- Association Petra Castellana
- Ancienne Sous-Préfecture
- 34, rue Nationale
- tel: (33) 492 83 71 80; or 92 83 61 14 (Office de Tourisme)
- Ancienne Sous-Préfecture
- Maison des Sirènes et Siréniens
- Location: Place Marcel-Sauvaire
- Open: 9-12h, 14-18h
May-Sept: 7 days; Oct-Apr: closed weekends and holidays
- Tel: 0492 831 923; Fax: 0492 83 19 27
- Email: email@example.com
- The House of Mermaids and Sirenians, and the Valley of Fossil sirens is about the myth of mermaids, with many "supporting" fossils.
Bus service is provided once a day, every day (including Sundays) between Castellane, Grasse and Nice. The schedule is subject to change; verify the times with the Office de Tourisme.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. One bus a week (Saturday) connects Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
From Nice, take the A8 autoroute west (direction "Aix/Pce") and exit at Cannes. From the Cannes-exit roundabout, follow the signs for Grasse, taking the limited-access road. From Grasse, take the N85 Route Napoleon. It's a nice drive with some great scenery, and a bit twisty in places.
- Department 04, Alpes-de-Haute Provence Buses
- See Beyond's Alpes-de-Haute Provence (04) Bus Schedules for downloading Alpes-de-Haute Provence bus-lines map and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
- Marseille - Gréoux - Riez - Castellane Bus FH-27
- LER line 27 (part A): 3 buses/day, between Marseille and Riez, trip time 2 hrs. Stops: Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Venelles, Meyrargues, Peyrolles, Pont Mirabeau, St Paul-lez-Durance, Vinon, Gréoux-les-Bains, St Martin-de-Bromes, Allemagne-en-Provence, Riez.
LER line 27 (part B): 1 bus a day between Riez and Castellane (via the Gorges-de-Verdon), trip time 1h30. Stops: Riez, Roumoules, Moustiers-Ste-Marie, Lapalud, Rougon, Pont de Soleil, Castellane.
On the LER website (http://www.info-ler.fr/fr/lignes-horaires/carte-et-fiches-horaires-n287. , select Ligne 27: Marseille / Greoux / Castellane to display the bus schedule PDF.
Castellane has a public swimming pool located on the Verdon river, and many (17) nearby camp sites. There are several hiking trails climbing the nearby hills surrounding the town. There are many sports and leisure activities available in and around Castellane, including: horseback riding and kayaking.
- AAPPMA La Gaule
- Fishing Association
- Location: Mairie de Castellane
- Tel: 0492 836 007, or 0493 936 259
- Magasin Safari
- Fishing permits (carte de pêche)
- Location: Rue du Mitan
- Tel: 0492 837 048, or 0493 936 259
- Le Pont de Soleils
- Fishing permits (carte de pêche)
- Tel: 0492 836 039, or 0493 936 259
- Verdon River Fishing
- Between Castellan towards the Gorges du Verdon (to the Pont de Carajuan). This sectioin of the river is easily accessable, for trout fly-fishing.
- Base Sport Nature
- Rafting, canyoning, kaya-raft, cano-raft (hot-dog), baby-raft, family raft, via-ferrata, climbing, hydrospeed and river-hiking.
- Location: 10 rue de la Fontaine
- Tel: 0492 831 142, or 0663 633 828; Fax: 04 93 05 42 12
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: basesportnature.com/
- Based in Entrevaux and Castellane, the professional team of Base Sport et Nature has over 15 years experience in accompanying clients down the most beautiful rivers in the South of France, and up the most breath-taking cliff faces!
IGN (1/25,000) #3542 OT "Castellane, Lac de Castillon"
There are many hiking trails in and around Castellane well marked by wooden sign posts at the starting points and junctions, as well as the standard paint marks along the trails.
• The GR4 (Grande Randonnée) goes through Castellane, with Entrevaux to the northeast and the Grand Canyon du Verdon to the southwest. The hike through the Grand Canyon du Verdon is famous, and beautiful.
• Northwest out of town you can hike up to the Col des Leques, or you can pick up trails out of town or at the Col itself. From the Col des Leques, the N85 winds down through the Clue de Taulanne, a really gorgeous gorge.
• South of the town, several loop hikes go to and around the Montagne de Robion (1660 m) and Destourbes (1543 m), or to the little villages in the next valley.
A couple of good guidebooks are the Guides IGN: Ubaye-Verdon and the FFRP Tope Guide: GR4 - Ref. 401 (Guidebooks and Maps).