Grottes de Saint-Maurin

Useful Information

Location: Réserve naturelle régionale de Saint-Maurin, 04120 La Palud-sur-Verdon.
D952 Route de Moustiers, between Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and Castellane. From Moustiers south, at the roundabout turn left on D952, 6.9 km to a small parking lot, trail on the other side of the road. 30 minutes walk uphill.
(43.7987488, 6.2631893)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave House SpeleologyTufa Cave KarstTufa Deposits
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Mairie de La Palud sur Verdon, Rue du Château, 04120 La Palud sur Verdon, Tel: +33-492-77-38-02, Fax: +33-492-77-30-87. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


5th century first cave houses built.
1611 first written mention in the will of Lord La Palud.
OCT-2009 declared a Regional Nature Reserve by the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.


The Grottes de Saint-Maurin is a huge double shelter in a tufa cliff face which was occupied since the 5th century. The large cave is called Grande Baume (Big Cave) and the other one Baume Murale (Walled Cave), because its wall still exists. How long the caves were actually inhabited is unknown, but in 1611 the cave is mentioned in the will of Lord La Palud. There were terraces around the caves which were used for agriculture, and there is enough water even for irrigation.

The rock is soft tufa, a porous limestone which was deposited by a limestone rich karst spring. The pores are more or less algae and moss which grow on the rock, are encrusted by limestone, and then decompose leaving a small hole. The rock is rather soft when it is still underground, but when it dries on the surface it becomes hard. The rock was quarried for various purposes, for key stones, door and widow surrounds, and others. The spring still exists and forms the Cascade Saint Maurin at the foot of the slope.

The springs at the site St. Maurin are responsible for the tufa deposition, for the cave houses, and for the exceptional flora and fauna. Due to the cooler and wetter conditions the site has numerous plants which normally do not grow under Mediterranean climate. Above the site are the falaises de Barbin (Barbin cliffs) which are home to vultures and the peregrine falcon. As a result this area is protected by the Réserve naturelle régionale de Saint-Maurin which is managed by the nearby village La Palud sur Verdon. There is a museum named Maison des Gorges which informs about the whole georges including the cave houses. It is enclosed in the Regional Natural Park of Verdon.

The site is located in the famous Gorge du Verdon, and thus the road and parking lot might be crowded during school holidays and on weekends. However, if you are able to find a spot for your car you might be alone at the cave houses. Most people stop just for the view.