The project of flooding the Salles valley, with the creation of a lake by the Verdon river, dates back to Georges Clémenceau, in 1908. But it was only implemented by Électricité De France in 1968. Initially the lake was supposed to engulf the villages of Les Salles sur Verdon and Bauduen and would have make Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon inhabitable. The artificial lake was finally created in 1973, following the construction of the Sainte-Croix dam. The villages of Sainte-Croix and Bauduen were ultimately saved and Les Salles rebuilt on a plain above.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie - Lake of Sainte Croix
- Walk : 5 km - 1 hr15 min walk one way, yellow signs, easy.
- Mountain or cross bike : 5 km, 45 mins one way, easy, follow the "bike" signs.
Go down the village via chemin de la Maladrerie, cross the road and follow the path to Quinson. At the end of the path, cross the Maïre stream, turn left and follow the sign to Sainte Croix lake.
- Drive around the lake : 60 km, 1 hr.
Stops : Stop on the plateau for spectacular views over the lake, then visit the villages of Sainte Croix, Bauduen and Salles sur Verdon.
Nowadays: the third largest lake of France
The Lake of Sainte-Croix stretches over a surface of 2200 hectares (10 km long and 2 km wide). The dam, built at the entrance of the gorges of Beaudinard, holds back 760 million cubic metres of water and generates more than 150 million kWh per year. It also supplies power to the adjacent cities.
It is now a major tourist attraction and a perfect space for swimming, boating (electric and sailing boats), windsurfing, pedalo or canoe-kayak.