221 inhabitants, 11.400 ha , height 820 m
Aiguines is a 16th-century quiet village with a lot of character and an exceptional location: against the mountainside which separates the magnificent Gorges du Verdon from the splendid lake of Ste Croix. The area is breathtakingly beautiful: on one side the biggest canyon of Europe, on the other side the large turquoise lake which is great for swimming.
The village is not only a splendid base from which to explore the area (even the damous French Riviera is only about 80 km away!), but it is also a pleasant place to stay: it is very nice to saunter in the steep lanes with their age-old houses and on the shady café terrasses you feel like you are in 'heaven in France'.
In the village you may find some traditional shops (pottery, woodcraft, 'santons de Provence' which are a type of Christmas crib figures, fine groceries, leather, honey, jewels ....), a small grocery shop and a bakery. There's a butcher in the neighbouring village (Les Salles). For a bigger supermarket you can drive to Aups (20 km), which is a very nice and old little city. Not in the mood for cooking? In one of the five restaurants and pizzerias of Aiguines, you can find anything you wish from Easter till October.
Aiguines can be proud of its beautifully renovated renaissance castle, towering above the lake and the plateau of Valensole with its vast lavender fields. The four towers of the castle have splendid enamelled roofs, which symbolize the four seasons.
Besides the castle stands the old village church with its small grave yard. And besides the church lies ... the 'jeu-de-boules' yard, otherwise this wouldn't be the Provence! For the children there's a safe enclosed playground. On the football field beside it the older children (and youthful fathers and mothers) can get rid of their excess energy.
In the highest part of the village, there is a chapel, with a map beside it. From there you have a splendid panoramic view on the lake and the whole area: the plateau of Valensole, the Alps, the mountain chain of the Luberon and of course the very well known Mont Ventoux.
Aiguines offers in each season other attractions. During the hot summer months, you can practise water sports in the lake and in the Gorges du Verdon. Gloriously relaxing is of course another way of spending your time. Sports like mountain climbing and hang gliding can be done during the whole year. People who are fond of peace, and of long and secluded hiking or cycling through the unspoilt countryside, can come fully to their satisfaction in the off-season, when it's not so hot anymore: the ideal moment to explore the gorge by foot. Even in the very deep of the winter it can be comfortably warm during the day : picnicking at Christmas is not that exceptional, but it's not unknown that you will need your snow boots at New Year.....