This magnificant turquoise lake was formed by the Barrage (dam) de Ste. Croix, built on the Verdon river in 1975. Sitting on the open Plateau de Valensole and the Grand Plan de Canjuers, the lake has a feeling of endless space and light. At the northeastern end of the lake at the Pont du Galetas, an almost invisible slot in the mountain wall hides the deep, wild Verdon canyon where the rushing green waters of the river enter the lake.
The lake is about 10 km long and about 3 km wide at the widest part.
There is easy acces to much of the lake shore, and pleanty of beaches and picnic areas. The size of the lake, however, accepts the summer visitors without a feeling of overcrowding its vast surface.
Although the village of Ste-Croix-de-Verdon gave the lake its name, the village of Les Salles-sur-Verdon on the opposite side is more a part of the lake itself: the old village rests 40 m below the surface of the water. When the dam was built, Les Salles-sur-Verdon moved to higher ground, taking some of the old village with it, including the church belltower and the fountain.
The Other Lakes
Allos Lake (Lac d Allos) is a lovely mountain lake at the edge of the Mercantour National Park.
Lac de Castillon is 5 km north of Castellane.
Lac d'Esparron is in the Lower Gorges du Verdon, downstream of the Lac de Ste Croix, by Gréoux-les-Bains.
• GPS: 43.773634, 6.21024
IGN (1/25,000) #3542 OT "Castellane, Lac de Castillon"
A centre équestre is located on the plains of the northwestern shore, near the village of Ste-Croix-de-Verdon. Other riding stables are located at Moustiers-Ste-Marie and at the Château de Chanteraine near Les Salles-sur-Verdon on the eastern side of the lake. There are many riding trails in the area, and one of them follows the GR99 hiking trail along the southeastern side of the lake.