The Lac de St Croix is an enormous artificial freshwater lake in an area known as the Verdon, a vast nature park that sits above Provence and is framed by the Alpes of Haute Provence. The best known attraction is the Gorges du Verdon, a valley that is France’s answer to the Grand Canyon and with numerous possibilities for sporting pursuits from climbing and canoeing to bungee jumping.
We often head up that way for a day trip so as not to run into the crowds on the Cote D’Azur and because it is a much shorter distance from us in the Haute Var. The lake’s vastness means it resembles the sea in many ways and it’s always beautifully refreshing with none of the sticky, salty mess of the beach. You can rent sail boats, canoes, paddles boards and paddle boats for a more active day at one of the many beaches the lake has to offer.
The village of Bauduen is a quaint, small village perched on the rocks of the south side of the lake that has a couple of places to rent boats, as well as a shallow pebble beach to while away a sunny day located just underneath the town’s generous parking area as you enter the village.
A gentle stroll through the village is rewarding for it’s many nicely kept stone houses, medieval chapel and old Sarrazin tower. We tend to head to our favourite restaurant called Le Café du Midi, which is one level up from the seafront. They are a friendly bunch, who serve simple but well executed food and always have a nice dish of the day. Their speciality are the flavours of Provence, so be prepared for plenty of herbs and garlic, but the quality of the fish and meat is always impeccable, as is the freshly baked bread. The service is charming and you have one of the best views to the emerald waters of the Lac St Croix, as well as a small boule court that is a safe area for kids (unless they are prone to scale the perimeter wall).
So if you haven’t been to that lovely area of the Haute Provence, go and visit, you won’t regret it!