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From Castellane to Digne by GR 406

The trail GR 406
The imperial way
From Castellane to Digne
On 26 February 1815, Napoleon left Elba, landed at Golfe Juan on March 1 and WINS Paris, with his men, on March 20, 1815. It crosses the territory of the Verdon way on 3 and 4 March 1815. This historic journey resulted in the creation of a single thematic hiking in France route: the imperial way, between Castellane and Digne over a distance of 52 km. In 3 days, hiking allows cross still Virgin and authentic of Haute Provence landscapes and discover a remarkable heritage over the steps. To avoid some road sections focusing on the interests of the hiker and the discovery of the sites, the route was redesigned in 2011 by the community of Communes of way Verdon. Also, it is now feasible to horse.
•    From Castellane to Taulanne 3 h
-Departing from Castellane (724 m), take the GR 4 along the right bank of the Verdon in the direction of the gorges.
-In the hamlet of La Colle, leave GR 4 and take the GR 406 to go up to Brayal.
-Join the abstraction of water upstream of the hamlet, and then engage in the wood to reassemble a large Valley.
-Above, cut twice a forest trail and continue along a rump leading again to a forest track.
-Down to the col of les Lecques. Further down, take the track moving at the Brandis Cadieres ubac, then down crossed by a road leading to the ruins of the Cirigiers.
-At the crossroads, get off on the right towards the hamlet of Taulanne (1,054 m), located opposite the Bivouac Napoléon.
•    From Taulanne to Senez 2 h 45
-Departing from the Bivouac Napoléon, the route resumes authentic way Imperial.
-Along the road in the direction of the Clues to borrow a gateway for accessing a path climbing switchbacks up to the Oratory of St. Peter.
-Back down a path carved out on a mountainside.
-Lowest, after entering the wood [' > Roman mile Terminal], joining the intersection Blieux / La Tuilière.
See: No. 607 mile Terminal called "Mass of St. Peter": 607 miles from Rome, on the edge of the path in the Taulanne clues, this mile marker dates from the reign of Caracalla (211-217 a.d.) It is the 6' terminal of via Salinae between Castellane and worthy. The Latin inscriptions which are engraved have been translated in 1993: "the Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, pious, happy, very big winner of Parthia, great winner of the Bretons, clothed in his sixteenth power tribunicienne, consul for the fourth time, father of the fatherland, proconsul, did rehabilitate this road, damaged by the ravages of time, by the care of lulius HonoratusProcurator of the Emperor, former primipile. Six miles. »
Out of GR > for Blieux 2 h. At the crossroads Blieux / La Tuilière is located after the Roman mile Terminal, move right la Tuilière path to continue in front by a forest path down gradually to the roman bridge spanning the Asse of Blieux. Follow the D 21 left on 500 m, then take on the right path in crossing to a campaign. Reach further down the Brige farm, then continue on a hillside by a path leading behind the Church of the Ferrajas. Down the road to reach the village of Blieux (960 m).
-Get off on the right first by a trail then a runway to reach the access road to La Tuilière.
-Move away from the historic trace (borrowed by road D 4085) and win the hamlet of La Maureliere. -Mount right to follow a forest road overlooking the Valley of Asse.
-Arrive on the plateau of La Lampie. Get off the track to the village of Senez (777 m).
History: Salinae and road Salinaria
Since pre-Roman times, the site of Castellane was occupied by man.
The celto-ligurians established there an oppidum of the Ducelia name. With the Roman conquest between 24 and 14 years BC, Ducelia became cited Gallo, settled in the plain and took the name Salinae or civitas saliniensium, that can be translated as market city of salt. As Salinae possessed a precious treasure: the salt naturally produces the salt source known as 'Sadha '. And at this time, where it was not carrying sea salt like today, it was a real wealth. Because salt, much more than a simple condiment that enhances the taste of food, is above all essential to the good health of all human beings living and also a good preservative in the absence of sterilization in refrigeration processes. Cod, for example, only sea fish to be consumed inside the country was for centuries preserved in salt. The salty water from Castellane was therefore consumed such by residents, but also sold for livestock feed, in particular many sheep in the region. It was also "turned", salt was then "taken from the water" by natural evaporation or boiling. But Salinae was doubly concerned by the salt trade since it was situated on the via salinaria, the salt road, old way of peddling of salt probably of pre-Roman origin. Celle trade route linked the Mediterranean to the Alps. From Cimiez and Vence, she reached Castellane then towards the layover, Sisteron and Embrun.
The steps of Napoleon
After being forced to abdicate on 6 April 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Elba. Therefore it only has a goal to escape and overthrow the monarchy of Louis XVIII. March 10, 1815, he landed at Golfe Juan accompanied by 2,000 to 3,000 men. To avoid the royalist troops stationed in Basse-Provence, he decided to earn Grenoble through the Interior of the country.
March 3 to 9: 00, Napoleon enters Castellane. He discovers a small Provencal city enclosed within its walls where surprise, population composed mainly of peasants, fraternise quickly with his men as the absence of deputy warden banned all opposition to its market.
March 3 in the evening, the troupe reaches Barrême (men are exhausted) cold is bright, the road is just a goat path. In the pass of les Lecques, snow requires riders to get off horse. After a short night in judge Tartanson, Napoleon departed Barrême March 4 to 6 h on a small white horse.
The Clappe
In the morning, Napoleon is to the Clappe, small village of 300 inhabitants. It restores to the hostel an omelette and a bottle of wine. Surprised by the price that announces it the innkeeper, the emperor asks him: «eggs are so so rare here?». «» Not the eggs, but the emperors,"replied the innkeeper. After the Clappe, mules advance with difficulty, one of them stumbles, leaving escape a trunk containing 200,000 pounds of gold.
March 4 noon Napoleon between easily in Digne. Prefect Duval, yet warned the day before, did not believe rapid progress and could hardly with only 132 men to garrison oppose armed resistance. The population seems indifferent. After lunch at the hostel Petit Paris, Napoleon set off Malijai where it will arrive the same evening.
Night as Napoleon goes to the castle of Malijai is probably the more agitated throughout the trip, he feared his enemies use the Glue of Sisteron, guarded by the famous Citadel. He returned however in the city the next day to 10 h without difficulty, the Mayor of the city was unable to get the armed forces necessary for effective resistance. But this is only Gap that will sound the first cries of "Vive L'empereur", therefore the Eagle 'will fly steeple Bell Tower to the towers of Notre-Dame"will meet on March 20, 1815.
•    From Senez at Barrême 2 h
-Take the track access to the clues of the Melle (Panel) for 1 km, then turn on the right.
-Pass the Chaurits farm to join further down the track of access to La Bastide Neuve.
-Get off on the right to join the Ourgeas Riou.
-Right down to the Asse of Blieux cross Riou of Ourgeas Creek and at the farm of the Grande Bastide.
-Further, the path joins the Ourgeas forest track, the rail, then continues until you reach the river and the village of Barrême (721 m).
-Access to the village passing Asse by a bridge at a place called Coullet sharp, then the D 4085, and along the tributary in its left bank until the former distillery.
-After having borrowed the footbridge over the River, the route crosses the village and passes in front of the home of j. Tartanson where slept Napoleon March 3, 1815.
See: the Asse is a river in steep torrential character. Its course, which presents a very reduced summer flow can be filled with raging waters after the storm. His excesses have time terrified local populations, because if its summer flow never exceeds 5 to 6 m3 per second, it can reach more than 700 me during periods of flooding.
From its source, near the mountain of the white horse at almost 2000 m altitude, until its confluence with the Durance below prayer, Asse will inflate many small tributaries. At Barrême, Asse from Clumanc receives two streams: Asse Moriez and Asse of Blieux, and becomes the most dangerous River. Shows the local saying: "the Asse although crazy which passes!
Outside GR > for the chapelle Saint-Jean 1 h round-trip. To access the chapelle Saint-Jean (821 m) from the village, follow a stations of the cross which stations have been erected in 1849. Finish the walk passing in front of Notre-Dame-de-la-mercy, a small 12th century chapel perched on a rock at the entrance of the village.
The Cathedral of Senez and Bishop Soanen
The Imperial path was before our era the Roman road which linked Vence in Sisteron; Sandra was a town and city. When Christianity established itself in the region around the 5th century, the Church kept the Roman cutting and Sandra became an Episcopal city with its castle on the rock, is still very uncomfortable to the bishops, whose many settled in Castellane; among them, Monsignor Soanen has had built a Palace.
Over the centuries, the Castle and the Cathedral suffered Lombard and Saracen invasions. The wars of Religion finished of all looting. From 1569, the bishops took refuge in Castellane, better fortified, is still hoping the transfer of their diocese. The many Popes who succeeded one another in Rome have always refused this transfer, for unknown reasons. The remaining canons hired the first repairs of the roof of the Cathedral. They insisted to return the Bishop Jacques Martin to Sandra to restore life to the Cathedral and visit his parishioners.
So the Roman road has been for almost 14 centuries the path of the 53 known Bishops (some are not yet identified,) from Castellane to Senez, via the col de Saint-Pierre and the small stone bridge on the Asse of Blieux upstream of the Maureliere in wheat field. The bishops were maintain with great care this essential axis of the diocese of Senez.
Fine example of Provençal Romanesque architecture, the Cathedral surprises by its dimensions. Unfortunately, the porch is mutilated. In doing the tour of the building, you can admire the very well-preserved apse and its magnificent roof. On the Western facade, restored Sundial in 1999 is unique by its seniority (1674), its large size, its colours, its hourly traces, its Latin inscriptions, his reasons.
Each bishop has left its mark. Monsignor Martin commanded in François Mimault in 1614 the large painting of the assumption. Monseigneur Duchaine, anxious for the welfare of his parishioners, erected a fountain in the middle of the village to 1642. the captured source was at 1.5 km from the village. In 1644, he built the first Diocesan Seminary. Bishop Villeserin did install stalls Walnut beautifully preserved. Arrived in Senez in 1695, Bishop Soanen, active, easy, generous in his pastoral visits, acquired great popularity. It was he who consecrated the stone of the high altar in 1706, as confirmed by a beautiful engraved inscription. Jansenist, he opposed Pope Benoit XIII. Summoned to the Synod of Embrun in 1727, he was suspended from his duties by Louis XIV, who assigned it to residence at the Abbey of La Chaise-Dieu in Auvergne, where he died in 1740. His successor, Monsignor de Vocance, applied himself to restore peace and confidence in the country. He repaired the seminar which fell into ruin and undertook the great construction of the episcopal Palace in 1751. But he died on a trip in 1756.
Bishop Amat de Volx succeeded him. He completed the episcopal Palace and worked to give new momentum to his city. Son of the marquis de Volx, he put his personal fortune in the service of his parishioners, rebuilding houses, covering roofs, repairing the breaches of dikes. It set out a grand diversion project the torrent of the Bonde, who devastated the village during frequent floods. At the same time was taking shape another major project, the construction of a bridge on the Asse.Sandra was then only a passage in the Asse at the Ford of the mill. Despite many adventures, thunderstorms and floods carrying scaffolding, the bridge "basket handle" was completed in 1770. Essential, it is still used at the present time. Unfortunately, Amat de Volx died aged 56. Senez remained with a dam badly maintained despite putting it into water.
The following bishops became involved in the life of the village. The work of the dam were not always completed and Sandra was weighed down with debts. It is without doubt the last Bishop, Monsignor Ruffo de Bonneval, who offered to the Cathedral of Flanders and Aubusson tapestries which still decorate the nave.
The revolution, the bishopric of Senez was removed.
•    De Barrême at Chaudon 2 h 30
Barrème, a village in Haute-Provence
Once located on the Saint John Hill, the village of Barrême "went down" on its present site at the beginning of the 2nd century because the inhospitality of their Lords, Villeneuve, if we are to believe the legend. At that time, St. Isarne would be found in the region by of a thunderstorm. Seeking shelter, he would hit at the door of the castle which would be remained ostensibly closed as all the gates of the village. Only an old woman would have agreed to host it in his barn. Also God to punish the selfish people, would have unleashed the lights of heaven and the village and the Castle were destroyed with the exception of the House of the old woman who had allowed the saint.
Historians however believe that the village was destroyed by a huge fire in 1040, and that since that time the only building that remained on the Hill is the chapel dedicated to the saint John the Baptist. This Foundation probably very old, is a small building of Romanesque style, both solid and elegant, flanked by a tower crowned with a pyramidal Spire.

Return GR
-At the beginning of Barrême, take behind the Church to gain the heights overlooking the village.
-Cross the plateau of the vines and switchbacks in a wood. The route then turns towards West.
Variant > for the site to nummulites Santiago 1 h 15. Possibility of forking right to borrow a small hiking trail (marked yellow) joining Santiago. Down through the Hill to the ravine of Saint-Martin and reach across the path of Santiago. The geological site in nummulites (landscaped site) is on your right, at 500 m, just before the village.To join the imperial way, turn left. The trail climbs Hill until a pass located north of the Summit of the sacristy. Turn westward to cross the birth of the ravine of Saint-Martin, then back up through a trail switchbacks up the col de La Gardivoire (junction with route Barrême/Chaudon).
-Bypass the foot Marcellin Summit by the left and reach above a forest track.
-Continue in front on the trail overlooking the ravine of Saint-Martin to arrive earlier at the col de La Gardivoire.
Outside GR > junction with the route from Santiago.
-Initiate the descent on Chaudon along the adroit Chaudon bar.
-Two major ravines crossed, pass a chapel and soon after arriving at the village of Chaudon (1,016 m).
The Barremian and geological wealth of the region
The variety of landscapes is the charm of this Haute Provence described as wild by the first tourist guides. The hiker of today like to understand how went into place this topography heckled, which diverts rivers and obliged him to go up or down by improbable trails. Paths wind through the landscape and flipping through the distant geological history of the 'countries '.
Whether it is in the gorges du Verdon, or North into the regions of Barrême and worthy, everywhere, in cliffs or slopes, landforms show layer stacks. Large limestone bars to fine laminated clay, all of these rocks were sedimentary in origin. Filed at the bottom of the sea, at the bottom of a lake or in a floodplain, they were registered at the time of their filing, the history of the region, and are witnesses of landscapes and past life. They are the oldest archives of Haute Provence: obey them.
The fossils that the hiker will discover throughout the imperial way, telling when and where they lived. In the sector of Castellane and the gorges du Verdon, to 145 million years ago (Jurassic), while the sea occupied the entire region, the huge mass of the white limestone of Provence was developing slowly at the location of a reef.North, a deeper sea was the place of life within the Town Hall (to visit in offices business hours) from the hall into the Council Chamber, where the municipality has highlighted the collection of fossils of Louis and Marthe Maurel, former local collectors.
Landscapes and their fossils tell of course also the release of the waters of the region, and the building of the alpine chain. The deposit of fossil Sirenia (site near the Lèques col) and Castellane Museum that is devoted, partly illustrate a part of this story, here there are 35 million years ago, at the hinge between the sea and the Alps.
But to learn more, both on the geological history and fossils, on regulatory attention, Imperial way crosses a nature Reserve that protects the geological heritage of a tour of the Museum-promenade at Digne opens the door to other distant horizons.
•    From Chaudon to Entrages 3 h
-Take the old path of Digne located below the 20 D, and then find it to mount in the direction of the neck of the Corobin.
-Follow the road 400 m and take to the track starting in left just before the first hairpin.
Variant out GR > via the col de Corobin 1 h 15. Beware, very strong rain, the passage of the ravine of the Vas is impossible. Then stay on the road to join the Clappe.Passage through the neck of the Corobin is also recommended in the year for jumpers (the ravine of the Vas delicate passage).
See: the col de Corobin, famous stage of the rally of Monte Carlo, 1,261 m altitude, opens on two very different countries. To the East the Dourbes bar, continued Southeast bar by Chaudon, already mountain landscape with ridges often in limestone cliffs are capped several months of the year, where the softwood is King. To the West, mountains are hills, Oak constitutes the bulk of the wooded parts, the altitudes of the peaks exceed hardly 1,500 m. the Corobin pass offers an wonderful observation between the Alps and the Haute Provence post. Once surrounded by barren ridges, cervical-the Corobin is today surrounded by forest Crown of the three Asses and much less black pine since 1860.
-After 200 m, turn right onto Woods Road which leads to an area of «robines» (muck).
-Down to the ravine of Vas, then take the track that dates back to the road, and thus gain the locality of the Clappe.
-The route joined the col de Pierre Basse by a pleasant trail located below the road.
-Continue the crossing of the forest to join, 2 km away, the col de Pierre Basse.
-From this point, the route joins the Grande Traversée des Prealps (GR de Pays from Digne to Entrevaux). Take the track to the left towards Entrages on about 1 km.
Out of GR > for Chabrières 1 h 15. Possibility to leave GR and get off at Chabrières track pitch of the Ane (route marked in yellow). In the hamlet of Chabrières (attached to the municipality of Entrages), you reach the line of railway of the train des Pignes (possibility to reach Digne or Barrême by train).
-Continue straight on the forest path. Saving the village of Entrages (960 m).
Variant > for Digne by Spa 2 h 15. The historic route taken by Napoleon to reach Digne today merges with the road. This variant (not tagged; length 9 km on the road) goes down the road of Entrages and follows the road D 20 to downtown. After going to the baths of Digne, Napoleon joined the mother-of-God Street and the hostel Petit Paris, where he had lunch (a plaque is mounted on the facade of the building situated rue du Jeu-de-Paume, the building is today transformed into a residence).
•    From Entrages to Digne 2 h 15
See: overlooking the Valley of the torrent of hot waters, Entrages Castle seems to crush its imposing mass a few village houses. Built in big blockage of ferruginous stones, at the end of the 18th century, this rough quadrilateral seems never to have been completed as evidenced by the absence of plaster on facades. The oral tradition would either the Revolution which prevented the Lord instead of further work of this mysterious Castle. But the eye is particularly amazed by the incredible number of openings in the building. Four levels are organized regularly six or seven spans of arched windows framed with stones or bricks. This gives a total of 104 holes if you also count the doors. No doubt loved the owner above all enjoy the surrounding landscape when autumn embrase hills.
-Entrages, follow the road in direction of le Cousson.
-Quickly it turns into a trail and joined the step of Entrages (1,213 m).
-Go down the trail the other side and join the Cousson built high after a crossing in balcony.
See: Digne walkers, the mountain of le Cousson favorite Expedition has two nearly twin peaks (approximately 1,520 m altitude). Located in the heart of a triangle bounded by the rivers of Asse, the Bléone and the warm waters, it offers a splendid belvedere. To the South, weather permitting, one sees clearly mont Faron, the Sainte-Baume, the chain of the star and the Sainte-Victoire; Southwest the Luberon; to the North the white, Ubaye, the Blayeul and the Geruen bar; Northwest Lure and the Ventoux. Almost at the top, the small rural Chapel of Saint-Michel, perched on a rock to peak overlooking a vertiginous precipice, is since time immemorial a place of pilgrimage deemed Whit Monday.
-The continuous route to descend through a pleasant path in the understory, joined the track and then the ruins of the Basses built de Cousson. The arrival in Digne (600 m) is by donkeys ears trail.
-The route leads to the heart of the city, facing the college Gassendi.
Outside GR > we recommend riders to make the descent into Digne track joining the District of Barbejas (staying on the trail before the bass built de Cousson, do not take the trail).
See: located in the Valley of the Mardaric, the ancient Cathedral of Digne is today well discrete. It's one of the most interesting religious buildings of Haute Provence.Built in the 12th century on the site of two older buildings, it was until the 14th century the jewel of the medieval city, which the city was moved to its current site and where the current Saint-Jérôme Cathedral was built. "Around Notre-Dame-du-Bourg, a real' episcopal district" is was then associate. The architecture of Notre-Dame-du-Bourg undoubtedly refers to Alpine Romanesque art: beautiful polychrome stereotomy, massiveness of proportions, thick buttresses and sculptures of the portal, wrong lombard type inherited from the previous construction... However, the burgeoning influence of Gothic art here is very present: arc broken at the 2nd level of the main facade, capitals with hooks, large rose window... In the 14th and 15th centuries, two major campaigns of wall hangings were carried out. Restored recently, the frescoes (in particular an Annunciation and a last judgment) are the admiration of specialists.
A green-jade torrent rushes into narrow canyons with vertical walls. The caves succeed arches, clusters of rock; take fantastic gaits. In 1905, Martel discovered the work carved by the waters of the Verdon: ' was the head lost in the middle of all that exhausts the attention it is twenty times that should browse this canyon to dare to say that we have seen.

Saint-Pancrace - Digne
Bléone Valley - Digne

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