In the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Esparron-de-Verdon is tucked away at the foot of the Plateau of Valensole, in untamed natural surroundings on the edge of the Verdon Nature Park and at the entrance to its famous gorges.
The small hilltop village of Esparron-de-Verdon reflects in the blue-green waters of the lake with the same name. Its old and picturesque houses present a beautiful architectural homogeneity. Set upon a rock, the ensemble is crowned by its castle, one of the medieval gems of Provence. Originally a keep built in the 13th century to watch over the Verdon River and collect tolls, living quarters were added to it in the 15th century. But it was in the 17th century, with the addition of more apartments and the refurbishment of the façade, that the building took on the air of a beautiful Renaissance residence.
In the possession of the Castellane family, Lords of Esparron in the Middle Ages, the castle has remained in the same family's hands, practically without interruption, up until today. The present-day heirs have turned the castle into a luxurious guest house.
The little village of Esparron can be divided into three parts: the oldest part, at the foot of the castle, with the Romanesque Saint-André Church built in the 12th and 14th centuries and its 18th century campanile, another quarter along the transhumance route, built at the time when the village lived off the migratory passage of sheep across its lands, and, finally, the new village dating from our era.
The creation in 1967 of the Esparron Lake, a dam reservoir, transformed the area into a small and peaceful summer resort. With its pure waters, as clean as those of a swimming pool, the lake's 328 hectares offer a variety of aquatic activities, except motor-boating, prohibited for the tranquility of all and out of respect for the environment.
And it's a very well-preserved environment. With the cliffs and inlets around the lake, the woods and forests that make up half of the surface area of Esparron and, not far away, all the lavender fields, Esparron is a perfect spot for nature tourism.
For history lovers, even prehistory, at the Aven de Vauclare you can see a well for offerings dating from the Bronze Age. And in the heart of the old village of Esparron, the Ecomusée de la Vie d’Antan, created by two people passionate about Provençal heritage, presents a large collection of Provençal costumes and everyday objects from the 18th to early 20th centuries.
Lake of Esparron de Verdon