Located deep within the rugged mass of the Haute Provence mountains Castellane makes the perfect spot from which to hike and explore the Gorge du Verdon. In the summer months Castellane, its hotels and surrounding campsites are bursting with activity as people flock to discover this wild and inaccessible area.

Just a few kilometres up the road is the start of the Gorge du Verdon, the longest and deepest canyon in Europe, indeed, France's own Grand Canyon. The road provides a helter-skelter trip along the narrow Gorge with towering cliffs on either side and the Verdon tumbling, sometimes far below, sometimes right beside you.

Eventually you will reach the viewpoint overlooking the stunningly blue Lac de Sainte-Croix. Descend to the lake and hire a pedalo or a rowboat. If the kids can keep their excitement under control long enough keep a look out for the rare and colourful birdlife to be found on the lake.

Other birdlife to be discovered in the area are the Griffon vultures reintroduced and now thriving in the region. You can't mistake these birds as their size alone makes them stand out; with a wingspan of nearly 3m you can easily spot them wheeling high in the sparkling blue sky.