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Little stories of the Verdon

​The oppidum of Buffe-Arnaud at Saint-Martin-de-Brômes

At the end of the 2nd iron age, OM hinterland is dominated by the celto-ligurians of the Salyenne confederation tribes. During this period, there is the proliferation of fortified habitats known from the beginning of the iron age (at the beginning of the age oppidums). This abundance is likely due to the general climate of disorders, including against the sentence with which populations have sometimes strained trade relations. In 124 BC after several military expeditions to the call, the Romans decide to put an end to the problem Salyens and seize their heavy main before finally settling in Provence. It was probably during this campaign that the oppidum of Buffe - Arnaud is destroyed. Located at the confluence of the Verdon and the Colostre, on the territory of the tribe of the QEII, Buffe-Arnaud site is occupied from the 6th s. BC, and then, after a phase of abandonment, is reoccupied at the end of the 3rd s. BC During this second phase of occupation, it is a fortified village of 5,000 m², protected by a rampart reinforced with at least two towers including a unique gate tower Recalling the Greek military architecture. The area of this door were found fragments of two human skulls that were probably "exposed" in the walkway and that can bind to the practice of the "cult of the heads cut off", the presence of traits of Roman catapults and traces of fire attest to the battle which has probably fought against the troops of Gaius Sextius Calvinus and its fatal outcome. "

Napoléon 2, return...

On 1 March 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from Elba, landed at Golfe-Juan with some faithful, determined to take back the power. To do this, he must join Paris crossing lower Provence and the Rhone Valley or one is hardly favourable. The Emperor decided rather to borrow backcountry and Alpine mountains to Grenoble, following a route that he had ordered to build a few years previously. But unfortunate surprise, Napoleon view that road has never been carried out and it is therefore by bad paths and snowy mule that he starts running. Two days later, he entered in Castellane where reserves it a warm welcome. A commemorative plaque recalls, however, that he had lunch at the old sub-prefecture, rue Nationale, before winning Barrême, then worthy and Malijai overnight. It is a century later it will appoint "Route Napoléon"the RN 85, which did not exist at the time of the emperor. But the real route, through the mountain passes, is more difficult to monitor.

It is marked "Imperial way".

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1851: The Varois defend the Republic

On 2 December 1851, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon I, dissolved the legislative Assembly of the second Republic to restore the Empire. If in Paris and in major cities of the country, this Coup d'Etat is quickly accepted and insurgents controlled, from many towns and villages are up in arms especially in the departments of Var and the Basses-Alpes. La garde-freinet in Digne, men attached to the values of the Republic, "Bono" organize and take up arms in a few days, decided to walk towards the Prefectures or the new power centres. In the 'red' de Moustiers, Riez, Valensole townships it starts moving towards Digne.Baudinard, Montmeyan or Artignosc it arranges for the column headed Aups. Les Mées and Aups popular revolt will be severely repressed by the central power.And in the months that followed the insurgents were hunted ruthlessly judged. More than two thousand arrests in the Var and hundreds of deportees, mainly in Algeria. The third Republic will rehabilitate these men and women. 1851 remains a milestone in the history of the varois villages, forgotten from history books.Often, the words freedom and equality painted the porch of the churches, as in Aups or a bronze Marianne on the place of the village as Artignosc remind ancestral attachment varois and low-Alpine to the values of the Republic.

The villages of the Artuby

A away from major flows and with mainly food resources (despite its over-exploited forests as early as the 18th century), the canton of the present Artuby a mesh tight small villages and numerous hamlets, separate from the other of a few kilometres.
The implantation of men is made in the image of the region, mosaic of small Plains, valleys, mountains and hills that divide the space without ever closing. In the middle of a mostly wooded territory, each of these villages and these hamlets camped on a height or a promontory, facing the Valley or 'cultivable plan.'
At the individual level, many farms breed this implantation. At the edge of a flat part cleared and cultured, buildings lean to the hills and turning their windows to the South. They are generally long buildings on a floor and enlarged several times. The roofs of tiles in a single slope accompany the slope and rainwater runoff.On the ground floor are located the barns and sheep pens. The first floor held the family. Each of these farms, isolated, Commander a well individualized micro-territoire offer the image of peace. With the rural exodus, many are those who was left abandoned but some recognition of their value grows. The Artuby routes crossing number of these dwellings.

The resistance in the Basses-Alpes

On the chapel of La Melle, a plaque recalls the painful history of the village. When in November 1942, violating its commitments, the German Army decided to invade the free zone, clandestine movements of resistance was quickly put in place throughout the South of the country. Between Castellane and Digne, on the Napoleon road, conditions are ideal for the establishment of a "maquis". The high mountains, difficult terrain that unfamiliar with the German forces, offer young men of the United movements of Resistance, the ability to hide and to train all by monitoring the Vallée de L'asse. Small, poorly armed groups tried in difficult conditions to put sticks in the wheels of the Chariots of the invaders. He often had to switch sides. High-Melle farm thus served as the basis for a time. Training and living conditions were difficult and dangerous operations. If it could count on the network and friends stayed at the village, it was also necessary to face the accusation and reprisal. Saint-Julien-du-Verdon in June 1944, 11 young resistance fighters including 4 students aged 17 years were coldly shot. The village of Brandis among others (Costevieille) was burned. On many roads and paths in the vicinity, a cross of Lorraine and some names sing the memory of those who risked their lives, and sometimes lost it to liberate the area!

Small Ségriès bison

Only traces of Palaeolithic parietal art in Haute-Provence, engraved by Ségriès bison was discovered accidentally in 1963 in a small rock shelter which was still occupied at times historical (traces of facilities indoors). This discovery was the subject of sharp controversy in the 1960s. Indeed, at this time, palaeolithic art was unknown East of the Rhône, and this bison was considered to be a fake. Today, in the light of the discoveries made in Italy and the Cosquer cave, archaeologists can say that this small bison was actually inscribed by a man from the Upper Paleolithic period about 15 000 years ago. Measuring 29 cm long, 19 cm high, it presents the characteristics of parietal art both figurative franco-Cantabrian (southwest of France and Spain) that can be admired at Lascaux, Niaux or Altamira among others, and the characteristics of the rock art of the Mediterranean regions (absence of hooves) and rigidity of members. 60 cm around back of the bison, is an isosceles triangle that could it be contemporary. Unfortunately, the original was destroyed as a result of vandalism.

Gaspard of the Meije

Instead of fears and superstitions since antiquity, the mountain was, until the 17th century, almost blank any contact with civilization, except for the passage of the mountain passes which, historically, had been overcome by the men of the two Alpine slopes. The movement of ideas of the century of the enlightenment and the romantic period changed little by little the image of the mountain and contributed, at the end of the 18th century, to develop a buzz growing for mountaineering. In the 1870s, while major peaks in the Alps had been conquered, the Meije (3,983 m) remained unbeaten. Whymper, winner of the Matterhorn, the judged "protected against any attempt at climbing. It was while a local guide, Pierre Gaspard, attempts, at forty-three, climbing to accompany the young Boileau de Castelnau. GASPARD is a strong personality, a man educated at noble ideas. August 16, 1877, at the foot of the wall, he considers him as climbing impossible;his client continues, and to not let «break the single head», it soars and reach the Summit via the north face, after seventeen hours of effort. 'It is not foreign guides arriving the first', to cries, triumphant. Famous mountaineers was Swiss, British, or American - such Coolidge, winner of the summits of Oisans. Gaspard escalada fifty times the Meije, managed 23 first; nearly eighty years, became the ancestor of a true dynasty of guides, it still led by roped parties on the peaks of the Oisans.

History of Protestantism of Gap

It is linked to that of Guillaume Farel, born in Gap in 1489, an influential noble family. For the priesthood, he joined at the beginning of his studies in Paris, Meaux circle gathered around Lefèvre d'Etaples. This circle, the first expression of the spirit of the Reformation, advocated a constant reference to the Gospel and its values. Farel quickly became a follower of the Reformation and began preaching in his hometown since 1522. The following year, he had to go into exile in Basel. In 1530, in Neuchatel, he gave himself a true iconoclast war. Called by scholars increasingly numerous and influential, he returned to Gap in 1561, and succeeded without violence, there to accept the reformed religion, which was, therefore, great progress within the bourgeoisie.

The Vaudois, poor Christ

To 1173, a rich merchant of Lyons , Valdes , abandons his possessions to live in poverty. He translated the Gospels and in Provençal texts of the Fathers of the Church. Considering himself as the heir of the apostles, Valdes leads a life of wandering preacher , living on alms . It gathers around him a fellowship of men and women, the poor or poor Lyons of Christ. They preach , cite the Gospels call to repentance . They refuse lying and swearing, condemn violence , reject certain practices of the Catholic Church , such as prayers for the dead , the veneration of saints and the idea of ​​purgatory. The Lord's Supper is celebrated once a year - Maundy Thursday - under the species of bread, wine and fish. Poor Lyon conflict with the Church. Preaching, reserved for clerics problem. Jean Bellesmains , Archbishop of Lyon, wants to ban them. Valdes and his followers refuse to give it up. Excommunicated and banished from the diocese of Lyon in 1181 , the Vaudois to visit Burgundy, Bresse , Provence, Languedoc , Aragon and Lombardy. They are anathematized as schismatics by Pope Lucius III at the Council of Verona in 1184. In Languedoc , in the early thirteenth century, the Waldensian alongside the Cathars . Some, like Durand de Huesca, be reconciled with the Church. Others considered heretics , suffer the fate of the Good Christians . Eighty Waldenses were burned alive in Strasbourg in 1211 as the seven others captured in 1214 near Najac . Sentenced at the Lateran Council of 1215 , the Vaudois are pursued by the Inquisition , established in 1233 . Many took refuge in Piedmont and in the Alps. In the valley of the valley at the end of the fifteenth century , they are being chased by the inquisitor Albert Catania ; some : Dormillouse gathered in the Montsegur the Poor, are exterminated . Many of these Vaudois then migrate Luberon. In 1532 , the Synod of Chanforan the Waldenses affiliate with the Reformation. They are still persecuted in the Luberon, in the sixteenth century , and Piedmont, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Nowadays, there are in the world , about twenty-five thousand Vaudois living mainly in Latin America and Italy, and directed by Tavola, group of seven people , elected annually by the Synod of Torre Pellice Piedmont, the head of their church .

Vauban, architect engineering and innovative thinker

At the end of the seventeenth century, a part of Europe combine, against the territorial policy of Louis XIV ; after the bloody incursions by troops of the Duke of Savoy, who sacked several cities Embrunais and Gapençais Rent XIV sends Vauban inspect the border area of ​​South -east , he thought naturally defended by the barrier of the Alps .
The Prester Sébastien de Vauban (by adding a patronymic name from the family stronghold of the Yonne) is , since 1687 , commissioner general of fortifications ; sixty years old (born in 1633 ) , he has acquired extensive experience in the field of border North -east , and set for the defense of the strategic points of the new principles that will admirably adapted to the constraints of mountainous regions. From north to south , he built a dozen or revise strongholds , including Briancon, Mont -Dauphin , Chateau- Queyras , Seyne -les-Alpes , Colmars and Entrevaux .
In fact , none of these powerful military structures will serve , especially in 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht restore to France Region Ubaye . Vauban history has especially caught the image of a great military architect doubles as a great planner ( he was responsible for construction of nearly forty strongholds and improvement of more than three hundred fortresses ) and a man of war . But Vauban, much more than a "technician " is above all a great statesman whose ideal is to serve the king in his kingdom strengthening. It is to him that we owe the current drawing the borders of France , close to some alterations . Based on the fact , quite simple sum of the impossibility of defending a border where " enemy and friendly places " are " mixed peel " Vauban advises the king to consider his backyard by making a sort of consolidation before letter , " by treaty or a good war ".
He advocates a genuine planning policy , in which the improvement of living conditions of the inhabitants is guarantee an improvement in national prosperity , and the same , a strengthening of royal power . That will bring conviction to be interested in wide range of fields . He conduct investigations based on geographic mapping, and population counts which are one of the forerunners of modern statistics .
Based on these analyzes, it advocates a range of measures to make the richest kingdom in improving the living standards of farmers. Among the texts of these proposals, published in twelve volumes under the title of " Oisivetés " there is a "Treaty of Culture Forest ", a " Treaty of crap " or estimated calculation to find out how far can the production a sow for ten years, in which he builds an exponential growth in the rearing of pigs , or a "Memory for navigation of rivers " , draft waterway network , intended to promote communication and exchanges. His numerous trips to the French regions allow him sometimes risky opinions on political issues : for example, to prevent the escape of many Protestants to neighboring countries and defuse an internal problem with the "new converts ," he advised the king "rehabilitation " the Edict of Nantes ( Memory recall Huguenots , 1689 and 1692 ) . Finally, at the end of his life, in 1707, Vauban published an important book on political economy : "Draft a royal tithe ." He developed a very innovative project tax ; more egalitarian , this system protects the poor while enriching the kingdom. Published without authorization , the book bother because it threatens the old taxes arising from the use; is prohibited and published copies ordered destroyed .
Very shortly after this case , Vauban died of pulmonary congestion , March 30, 1707 . It will certainly was the greatest strategist of his time, but also a curious character of all, a frenzied free thinking and original worker and in many ways a precursor or a visionary.

Republic of Escartons

Way to Gaul, Caesar had to come to terms with Donnus who controlled the tribes of Briançon , on both sides of the line passes . Cottius son of Donnus , made ​​an alliance with Augustus but kept real autonomy to the territory , which became the province of the Cozie Alps . The administration of high valleys centered Briançon was entrusted to the prefect Bussulus . After the barbarian invasions , the communities of the valleys found their cohesion. In 1343 , the height of the charter franchise that had given them the Count Humbert II before selling the Dauphiné the future Charles V of France which confirmed them , these communities ransomed feudal burdens to be a democratic space , the Republic of escorting . Five escorting ( of escartonare : split ) were the : Briançon , Queyras , d'Oulx , Pragelato and the Château- Dauphin, these three part today Piedmont . A escarton , foreshadowing the municipal association , brought together the communities of the valley , which thus could divide between them the charges and missions each, taken individually , could not afford. Each municipality elected its representative at the meeting of the Escarton ; each Escarton designated its elected for meetings of the General Escarton to Briançon. In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht was a severe blow to the small republic , between the valleys of those French Italian Piedmont ; the inhabitants of these valleys sold long regretted their privileges and kept strong ties with the French side ( the Italian was taught there until 1880). The Revolution dealt the final blow to the republic which lasted nearly five centuries .


AIbert Londres had called "convicts of the road." It is true that they must suffer many runners, for through these mythical passes of the Tour de France that are the Aubisque and Tourmalet in the Pyrenees, Galibier and Izoard in the Alps. But laces Brunissard and the slopes of the Brain Deserted also allowed Coppi and Bobet write some of the most beautiful pages of the legend of the Grande Boucle. While others ate this arid land their sweat, blood, and for some, their tears, and Fausto Louison are planted sparkling flowers wreath of the winner. "The collar kills slowly ...," wrote Antoine Blondin, but he placed the Izoard, and ever, these two exceptional champions Pantheon of cycling.

The king of the mountains

The village of Glaizil a castle never ceases to lose its stones and sinking each year a little more in the brambles . This is the castle of François de Bonne , the famous Duke of Lesdiguières . Born in Saint -Bonnet in 1543 , descended from an ancient family but modest , he was quickly a man of war and staunch supporter of the Reformation qualities , becomes , in 1577 , Protestant leader of the Dauphiné. He went to Paris for the wedding of the future Henri IV with Marguerite de Valois, and escapes by miracle the massacre of St. Bartholomew . He was appointed by the king, lieutenant general of the armies of Piedmont, Savoy and Dauphiné , then , in 1591 , governor of Dauphiné , and won several battles against the Duke of Savoy . Became Marshal of France in 1608 , Lesdiguières seeks to repair the harm of past wars and to Protestants and Catholics live in harmony. Influenced by François de Sales, he waives his Calvinist ideas. He died in 1626 after attaining the dignity of Constable of France in 1622 , which will be the last holder .

Cluny, Maïeul and Provence

In September 909 or 910 , the Duke of Aquitaine William the Pious founded the Benedictine abbey of Cluny in Macon . Under the direct protection of the Holy See , removed from any secular tutelage , she became 931 from a large outbreak of reformation thanks to the privilege afforded him Pope John XI , allowing it to accommodate within it every monk wishing to improve his religious life . Importance of prayer in the schedule of the monk, devotion to the Virgin , the practice of charity towards the poor , are all characteristics of the Cluniac monasticism . From Abbot Odilon (994-1049) , founder , around the first millennium, the Day of the Dead , November 2 , Cluny became further specialist cult of the dead. Friends of the popes, but also emperors and kings, his first abbots play a vital role in medieval Christendom : they support the peace and truce of God, working in the dissemination of the Gregorian Reform and resolution the Investiture Controversy ... Cluny Abbey itself, where the relics of Saints Peter and Paul are deposited in 981 , appears as a small Rome to his contemporaries , who come on pilgrimage ad limina apostolorum . To accommodate them, Abbot Hugh of Semur (1049-1109) launched the site in 1088 , the abbey of Cluny III largest church in Christendom until the construction of St. Peter's in the sixteenth century , it was consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II , a former grand Prior of Cluny. It is under the Abbot Odilo , from 998 , it takes the body Ecclesia cluniacensis , vast network of abbeys and priories dependent Cluny and its abbot. The number of dependencies over a thousand in the twelfth century. They are established across Europe in France of course, with the abbeys of Moissac, Vézelay and Saint- Gilles du Gard, with the priories of Paray -le- Monial , Souvigny and La Charité- sur- Loire but also in Switzerland, Payerne or Romainmôtier , Italy with Polirone in Esapgne with Nájera or Carrión de los Condes , England with Lewes ... The Cluny are also particularly located in Provence. From 948 they settled in the county of Uzes, thanks to a donation by Archbishop Gérard de Narbonne , Saint Saturnin -du- Port , the future of a large priory seat, causing agglomeration Pont -Saint-Esprit .

Maïeul ( 954-994 )

Under the abbey of Maïeul ( 954-994 ), the first "great Father " of Cluny, the Cluniac presence in Provence is confirmed. Indeed, Maïeul , born about 910, is from Provence : his father, Fouquier possessionné Valensole , had to leave his land in a context of struggle between large local families. He won the Macon with his family in the years 916 to 918 , may be a result of depredations on his land by the Saracens pirates based in the region of La Garde- Freinet from the late ninth century. Or , become abbot of Cluny, Maïeul ( to whom John , the future Bishop of Sisteron donated the monastery Gonagobie 964 and receives the Saint- Armand , in the county of Saint -Paul- Trois-Châteaux , from 958 ) is captured in 972 , returning from a trip to Italy, Orsières , a gorge in the Alps , probably in the Valais, by the Saracens of the Maures . He was released shortly after against ransom, but his capture triggers the " liberation war " waged in the name of the Abbot of Cluny by the Counts William II and Roubaud, who put an end to the presence of the Saracens in eastern Provence . This war of reconquest favors the development of monastic network of Cluny in Provence in 990 years, returns to the Count William Maïeul half the villa Valensole, formerly owned by his father Fouquier , where a priory was founded after 993 Can . shortly before his death in 993 , he gave the abbey his villa Sarrians Burgundy . Between 994 and 998 , Roubaud 's brother William , founded the priory of Piolenc . In 988 , the Cluniac become established in Saint -André de Rosons ... Maïeul also receives goods Condorcet , Rioms , Allex, Rompon . Network development of Cluny in Provence continues after 994 , when the death of Maïeul , which will quickly canonized : the Cluny under Abbot are implanted in Saint Pantaleon, and even before 998 , the priory of Saint -Saturnin Port -du- based dependencies and Tulette Colonzelle .

Poet of Canteperdrix

If he was not born "at the foot of a fig tree" like his hero John of Figs, Paul Arène is a pure Sisteronais, true to his city and the beautiful Nai who disdained. "I laughed, I sang, but my heart has always cried," he said. In Paris, he attended Frédéric Mistral and Roumanille. Alphonse Daudet becomes his best friend. He collaborates with Lettres de mon moulin, he himself wrote some stories, whispers it. At twenty-two years, in 1865, he wrote a play performed at the Odeon, and a series of novels and stories, "tales in the form of novels as they are dense, novels like tales as they are condensed "writes Marie Pimpernel. He died in 1896, after writing his own epitaph: "I'm going enraptured have dreamed my life."
The " Colline" , his first book, published in 1929, to " Iris Susa " published in 1970, shortly before his death , Giono remains a prodigious storyteller. His novels ( thirty) and his stories and columns evoke , almost all of his native land and picturesque character , sometimes tragic but always generous to its inhabitants. "They are what have made ​​the four elements on this particular part of the world " where " the fabric of the earth , the behavior of water, wind actions , the attitude of the light does not relate to avarice " . Born in 1895 in Manosque, there is death without really left , except for holiday periods or Bochaine Trieves and a few trips to Italy and Scotland. In Jean Blue, he says with his childhood love , smoothly between a shoemaker father , atheist, and a practitioner ironer mother Catholic . In his father's shop , he liked to listen to the stories of his grandfather , Carbonaro Piedmont ; he will keep a thirsty spirit of freedom , pacifist ideas, sometimes anarchists. From 1935 to 1939, he attempted to establish , with friends , a community on the plateau Contadour , whose ideal is described in " Que ma joie demeure ." In 1934, he published "le grand troupeau ," where he says all his horror of war to which he had been involved in his youth ; it is also imprisoned for his views a few months in 1940 in Marseille . After World War II , the character of his works has changed. Once very lyrical and moving an epic breath ( Regain, Batailles dans la montagne, le Chant du monde ) they are more realistic and stripped as Angelo , le hussard sur le toit, le bonheur fou. But all retain the imprint of Provence that he loved so much .

City of God

Registration of  Pierre-Ecrite's narrow pass quotes a place Theopolis, to which the Prefect of Gaul, Dardanus, built a road "by carving the slopes on both sides of these mountains." Dardanus, converted to Christianity in the early fifth century, exchanged correspondence with St. Augustine; Has he tried to materialize the mystical "city of souls" of the saint, by founding a lay community in this remote region of the world? The text specifies that Theopolis was surrounded by fortifications. Challenge remains, some are near the crypt Dromon, others in the hamlet of Chardavon which is attested in the ninth century, the presence of a small monastic community following the Rule of St. Augustine. Archaeologists have searched in vain, and still looking ...

Saint-Pancrace - Digne
Bléone Valley - Digne

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