The Verdon, a river in  France whose source is at the foot of the head of the Sestrière, between the Col d’Allos and the Pic des Trois-Évêchés, flows into the Durance, near from Vinon-sur-Verdon, after covering 166.5 kilometers.

The name of Verdon (Virdones, Viridionis around 1030), called Vardu by the Gauls, comes from the pre-Celtic term vara, which is used to designate water.

In its upper course, the Verdon has the appearance of a torrent and has a significant slope: in Saint-André-les-Alpes, 45 kilometers from its source, the river is already at an altitude of 900 meters. Downstream from this point, gradually swollen by its tributaries, the Verdon crosses several mountain ranges through imposing gorges (including the Verdon gorges), several of which have been equipped with hydroelectric dams.

Sources of the Verdon

The Verdon’s source is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department).

The Verdon is born from the confluence of three torrents:

  • the Verdon de la Foux, born on the Trois-Évêchés mountain;
  • the Bouchier torrent, born on the Mont Pelat massif and
  • Chadoulin, emissary of Lake Allos.

Communes crossed

In the three departments of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, of Bouches-du-Rhône and Var, the Verdon crosses thirty-two municipalities.

Between 1929 and 1975, five dams were erected on the course of the Verdon, between Castellane and Gréoux-les-Bains. These dams hold back water in the following reservoirs:

  • Castillon lake, which was created by flooding the village of the same name,
  • Sainte-Croix lake, which flooded the village of des Salles-sur-Verdon,
  • and Esparron-Gréoux Lake, known locally as “lac d’Esparron.”
  • Reservoir at Chaudanne

Reservoir at Quinson is sometimes improperly called the “lac de Montpezat,” the name of the village over which it dominates.

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