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1 week in the Gorges du Verdon= 2 campsites to discover the richness of this incredible site

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From Serre to Entravaux by GTPA

The Grande Traversée des Préalpes (GTPA) connects Serre to Entrevaux. This route was born of success that knows the great crossing of the Alps (GR ° 5) which connects the Lake to the Mediterranean. From village to village, the great crossing of the Alps is an invitation to discover the splendid country of average mountain yet little affected by tourism.
•    From Sisteron to Saint-Geniez 3 h 30
To see in Sisteron: Sisteron was the seat of a bishopric until 1790. See the Cathedral Notre-Dame - Apple trees (in pomoerium, «walls» of the city) from the 13th century, with its high dome and the Citadel. Five rounds remain of the walls of the 14th century. Local market Wednesday and Saturday morning.
Outside GR > Ge 6 and the GTPA route are common to the col de Mounis. The 653D GR is common with the GTPA to Saint-Geniez.
-From the place of General de Gaulle, head towards the Cathedral of Apple trees and follow the signposting to visit the old town which leads along the Durance.
Outside GR > possibility of joining, 100 m on the right before the bridge, the remains of the Saint-Jacques Chapel and the old hospital Saint-Jacques welcoming passers-by and pilgrims in the middle ages.
-Cross the bridge that crosses the River, cut the D 951 and turn left along the houses of la Baume.
-[see: this suburb contains the remains of a former Dominican convent, built in the middle of the 13th century; the Church was partially saved, and its bell tower of romano-lombard style].
-The path rises in the forest on the northern flank of the mountain of la Baume.
Outside GR > this track may occasionally be prohibited on the basis of the risk of forest fires; in this case, take the D 3 from the balm.
-Check: the forest of the mountain of the balm that sprawls 500 to 1 000 m on a southern slope is characteristic species.
-Mediterranean-type vegetation (pine of Aleppo, holm oaks, Oaks... pistachio) married varied mountain species (black pines of Austria, downy oak, alisiers, Cedars, Saskatoon Berries, maple, blood dogwood, sumac) marie.
-The track leads on D 3; borrow right on 800 m. at the level of the neck of Nicole, engage on the road to the right which goes down to the intersection of the Millers.Veer to the right and cross the Jabron Riou.
-Engage in the trail that starts in the extension to the bridge.
-It rises gently by describing large loops, crossing twice a small road before along the left bank of a stream for falling back on the road.
-Continue to the East. Leave the left hand path that leads to the area of the Church.
-The road is more paved and the GR rises gently through a private hunting reserve cutting a few laces road and passing on the left of the area of La Colle before reaching the pass.
-From here, down to the abandoned hamlet of newspapers.
-At the entrance, turn right to reach Sorine. Then follow the road, again covered, for about 1 km.
-The exit, at the level of the large robines, around a bend on the right, to borrow a trail on the left.
-The GR sneaks between rocks among the pastures of Deffends located at the foot of the cliff, through a park in sheep (use the wall bars to cross the fence), and reached Saint-Geniez (1, 100 m).
Outside GR > junction with the GR 653 D.

The Citadel of Sisteron

Remained impenetrable for the old warriors, it is now attended some evenings of summer by thousands of music lovers. The Vocontii and Romans listened the wind from this promontory. A castle fortified, today disappeared, is mentioned as early as the xi' century. The keep and the upper rampart or 'path' date from the 13th century. The terrace, limited by a series of arches of retaining, is equipped with a church in the 16th century.
Most of the fortifications is high between 1590 and 1597. Even more than to Jean Errard, engineer of Henri IV, we are tempted to attribute these achievements to a Piedmontese contractor. Two successive speakers, with watchtowers and defensive system seesaw innovated here ensure the protection of the site. Dizzy Devil gate dates from the 17th century; It is reached by the north face of the building. Historians agree to recognize the paternity of the powder magazine at Vauban.
In 1842, Louis Philippe ordered the reshuffle of the speaker because the offensive means of artillery increased their range north face is bristling with a new wall, an underground is dug to the door of the Dauphiné to allow emergency exit. The bombing of 1944 destroyed within seconds of the centuries of toil.
Thanks to their tenacity, the TMJ (Arts, Theatre, Monuments) association members operate for thirty-five years of restoration work. The Gothic church, completely rebuilt, hosts exhibitions. The TMJ association, replacing a cultural function to the military role of the Citadel, noted patiently stones and pays them a soul.

Back to the GR

•    From Saint-Geniez to Abros 2 h
See Saint-Geniez:
The commune of Saint-Geniez Sorine is a hamlet has its territory important remnants of the past:
•    the written near the Clue de Chardavon, is famous for the inscription on the orders of Dardanus, praetorian prefect of the Gauls who took refuge in those places at the time of the great barbarian invasion of 406. In a world in full decomposition, he attempted to found a refuge of peace and meditation, the Christian community of Theopolis, or 'City of God' (412-413). He corresponded with saint Augustine, Bishop in North Africa.
•    the Dromont rock in a dantesque site keeps remains of fortification and a Lady chapel with a remarkable crypt from the 11th or 12th century. The capitals are remarkable, in particular two heads of Aries and a wreath to the interlacing of plants. These places, centres of transhumance of sheep, were the object of a very ancient cult. It was still a pilgrimage popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.
-The centre of Saint-Geniez, win the West end of the village (D 3). The GR leaves at left (South) and arrives near a fence (Panel).
-Follow left the white-red of GR 6 and lead on the road; follow her on 500 m, then abandon it in favour of a road that goes left at two farm buildings.
-The GR arrives at the farm of Charnes. At the entrance of it, slip on the right, cross a small UK and reach a collar. Many hairpin bends down D 17.
-Continue to the left until the hamlet of Abros (700 m).

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Built heritage: monuments of Haute-Provence

Valley of Buëch at the Var Valley, the great crossing of the Alps through Sisteron, Digne and Annot, traverse diagonally one of the most diverse countries in France. It would be obviously conceited and vain to outline in a few lines of an old history of more than two millennia. But it would be also much regrettable that the hiker past little known architectural wealth unless they are marked. Is the modest aim, on the one hand, the texts that accompany the description of the routes and, on the other hand, brief notes that follow.
It should be noted as a first step the fragmentation of Haute Provence in small geographic units. Confused and compartmentalized terrain makes communications difficult off-axis durancien (via Domitia as early as Roman times). This was an area of refuge during periods disturbed (barbarian invasions, hermits and anchorites...).
There was a first Romanesque revival in the 11th century. Transhumance and salt trade led to heavy traffic on the Alpine routes of the middle ages. The monks were the main architects of this rebirth of the religious and economic life (land clearing, cultured, transhumance). Born in Lombardy religious architecture spread to the Languedoc and Catalonia.
Then came the second Romanesque revival in the 12th and 13th centuries. It is a rediscovery of ancient architecture especially in lower Provence with a frequent intervention of teams of master masons and experienced stonemasons from Italy.
Finally, Gothic art was a mediocre success in Haute Provence (vaulting and new decor). Dress Gothic décor Romanesque forms persisted long.
This region played the role of Frontier province until 1860 between the France and Savoy with citadels which Vauban became personally.
It should also be noted scalloped, Provencal and Piedmontese influences in the architecture of the houses. Note the originality of the decor of gypsery (moulded plaster decoration).
•    From Abros to col de Munis    2h
-Go up the Valley by D 17 until a fork.
-Turn right to cross the Vanson by the strike and rise progressively by the forest path at the bottom of the ravine of David.
-The GR crosses twice watercourse before slipping under a pine wood. Shortly thereafter, the road stops at the edge of a field.
-Continue on the trail for a few tens of meters. Win the other side of the ravine of the Navy and onto the logging road.
-After approximately 300 m, leave it for the benefit of the trail that starts right, climb, serpentine, in the forest to the ruins of the Cognet.
-Four laces in the understory can reach a balcony one follows Southeast to the Red lands of the col de Mounis (1,234 m).
Outside GR > leave the backslash which descends to Melan; junction with GR ° 406 to the col de Pierre-bass.
•    The Col of Munis to Thoard 3 h 20
-Follow the ridge to the right, move to the first Summit (1,303 m) before bypass coast 1 364 million by its Southeast.
-Arriving at the collar, there's an impressive gorge carved into the conglomerate comprising the mountain. Then join the Raven (1,357 m) Summit following the ridge.
-Moving South to reach sloping collar (1,294 m). Exceed even the initiation of two robines.
-Veer left into an area cleared at the beginning of the raidillon who earns the rating 1 412 m.
-Get off in remaining on the rump in the middle of the downy oak. Continue so long to dominate a clearing on the right of the trail.
-Turn right at the first fork to lead quickly to a house in ruins at the edge of the wood. Get off bypassing crops by the left.
-Downstream of the field, found the path by which we arrive at La Tuilière thoroughfare.
Outside GR > for 30 min to go Ferauds. 200 m after the serving of La Tuilière, take left a trail that climbs into the wood. Down through fields, reach a road that leads to the 3 D at height of the Ferauds. To return on the GR, follow D 3 towards the hamlet of the Planas.
-Continue right through the path and then by road. Cross the bridge torrent before you arrive at the crossroads of the hamlet of Planas.
-Committing right on D 17, cross the torrent of the Duyes and reach the village of Thoard (800 m).
•    From Thoard to col de la Croix 1 h 30
See in Thoard:
Through its network of narrow streets at high altitude, Thoard is a town in picturesque which offer the visitor and the pen of the poet of old mansions with gardens and its ancient castle.
-From the main square, take the road in the direction of the in-tray. Mount without cross the stream to the House in ruins of Sainte-Madeleine.
-Continue by road to the first corner on the left of it. The GR continues straight through a dirt road. Mount right by a steep path to win the undergrowth to the col de la Croix (1 281 m).
•    The Col de la Croix to Digne       3h
-Cross a fence and take on the right trail uphill sweet on the flank of the Siron.
-Pass a first pronounced talweg then a second smaller.
-About ten metres away, you will reach a small clearing.
-Carefully follow the markup through the wood to lead a larger clearing.
-After a right-angle turn, climb facing down the slope while standing at the edge of the edge.
-Pass to the left of a Beech trunk remarkable before entering the communal forest of Digne and continue southeasterly.
-The GR rises by successive stages in the understory for lead under the Summit of the Bharadwaj.
Outside GR > to see the panorama, it is possible by following the white cairns to climb 25 min at the top (1,653 m).
-More far, bypass the Gomberge by its side is passing over a managed source. Win the top of Mallawarachchi by the ridge line.
-Go down then by the rump of left in the direction of the decrease in the cat flaps, upstream of the sheepfold in ruins of the same name, where it reaches a road.
-The GR borrows by the western slope of the D'andran up the road to the radio relay.
-Cut it and descend in a straight line by a trail of metal masts. Cross the road several times before arriving at a shoelace thereof.
-Continue in the same direction then still cut a wide lace before joining the road. Follow her on a few hundred yards before you veer left onto a path that describes short laces.
-Ignore the start of a trail that goes back to the North; it reaches a very good trail above the Bléone. Go right to reach the bridge of Digne (590 m).
•    Digne to the Hautes-Bâties de Cousson 1 h 45
Out of GR > Getting to the stage of the castle of the Sieyès lodging: at the level of the bridge, do not cross the Bléone but continue straight on the RN 1085. Result at the roundabout of the Escoubès (roundabout of firefighters). Then take right on avenue Georges-Pompidou. Turn on the first road on the left (rue du 19 Mars 1962).The gîte d ' étape is located on the left after the very characteristic modern church.
To visit Digne-les-Bains:
•    the old town with its picturesque streets;
•    the Cathedral Notre-Dame-du-Bourg, considered one of the jewels of Romanesque architecture in the French Alps, and its archaeological crypt;
•    the Cathedral of Saint-Jérôme;
•    the Gassendi Museum;
•    the Alexandra David-Neel Museum.
•    Museum walk;
•    the butterfly garden;
•    the garden of the Cordeliers;
•    the sanctuaries of art.
To do: via ferrata, climbing, paragliding, water plan, nautical complex, Spa (fitness).
-From the office of tourism, engage in boulevard Thiers. Turn right onto avenue François Cuzin. Continue up the Gassendi college.
-Longer the building along its length to take left a narrow ramp (le Cousson road).
-Follow the directions of a first Panel: Entrages - Le Cousson, then a second: le Cousson by Caramentran.
-Mount to the South by a good path in the understory to the clearing of the bass-built de Cousson. Continue to the right of the Ridge staying at the same altitude, to reach the forest trail.
-Pass a big string. Continue on the track that widens at the entrance of a pine forest. Follow the markup to not miss out on the trail of the Hautes-Bâties de Cousson right.
-It opens out into a train to become soon a pleasant present in the countryside. We thus reach the Hautes-Bâties de Cousson (1,070 m).

History: The peaceful Digne

Modesty seems the greater quality of the prefecture of the Alpes de Haute Provence. Indeed, the history of Digne is not spectacular. This city has always reacted with moderation and wisdom to events that have been his destiny. Also, documents are particularly rare and valuable because they allow to identify the key features that have marked the evolution of the capital of lavender.
Originally were a few buildings at the junction of three valleys (Bléone, waters warm, Mardaric), required step in herds transhumant since low Provence and traders of spices (salt road). Its existence is attested in 14 BC as main (origin of the name Bléone) Bledonticiens city. The Gallo-Romans were installed on the current location of Notre-Dame-du-Bourg and its surroundings.
After the painful episodes that followed the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the reign of Charlemagne, with peace, brought a resurgence of economic activity. Then the decline of the Carolingian Empire ushered in a new era of insecurity. Like many villages in Haute-Provence, the Bourg tugged around its Notre-Dame Cathedral and then surrounded himself with fortifications to protect themselves from the invaders.
In the 11th and 12th centuries, the Bishops of Digne had built a castle to better defend themselves (site of the current prison). Around this reassuring book, new housing gathered. This young settlement gradually supplanted the village which nevertheless retained his place of worship and its economic activity. The Episcopal Church Saint-Jérôme, which dominates the city from the top of the Bell Tower was not completed until in 1500 (and deeply revised since).
Capital of Bailiwick since 1237, city-important step, small shopping mall with famous shows, Digne lives its judicial activity enhanced by an edict of François Ier who devoted the 'particular' seat of the Sénéchaussée.
Unfortunately, the wars of religion, famous for their procession of atrocities, spared not the city. It was at the beginning of the 17th century Digne was a period of peace and reconstruction. The population reached about 10,000 inhabitants. Then the plague of 1629 reduced that number to 1,500. A long period of stagnation ensued.Fundamental social, the brotherhood of charity was created at the beginning of the 17th century in order to help the poor. Charity, become barracks Desmichels (then in part Town Hall), is one of the few old buildings remaining.
The revolution of 1789, Digne became an administrative centre of foreground in Haute-Provence, with the title of capital of the newly established Department of Basses-Alpes.
The city turned deeply during the first and the Second Empire (railway, containment of the Bléone, construction of major lines of communication...) and then became seat of the new diocese.
After the disaster of August 1944, she continued its extension to the Arches on the right bank of the Bléone, where there are now more people on the left bank, the cradle of the city.
Digne has today just over 18,000 residents. Its establishment thermal growing, specialized in the treatment of respiratory and rheumatic disorders, attracts many salesmen.

Animations there are numerous:

-cultural: holidays of the baths (June), Jazz Festival (August), Les Journées Tibetan (September);
-sports: Raid mountain bike black land (June), feast of the hiking of the 3 valleys (October);
-feasts of terroir: feast of the Pascal Lamb (April), Corso (I"Sundays of August) lavender, lavender fair (late August early September), Foire aux santons (December), feast of the grey donkey (December)... to mention only the most important.


Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969)

Explorer-orientalist-writer, fascinated by the roads and pathways of railway since his childhood, Alexandra David-Neel will be haunted by the demon of the journey throughout his long and laborious life (101 years).
In 1911, she left for a trip of study of eighteen months in India. She returned that thirteen years later after having traveled the far East in every direction and crossed Tibet walk under a guise of beggar that allowed him to live incognito, two-month run in the forbidden capital, Lhasa, in the company of her adoptive son, the young lama Yongden.
Of this extraordinary journey, she brings various studies with success. In 1937, she decides to continue his research which hold, again, nine years in Central Asia.
September 8, 1969, this extraordinary woman dies in Digne, seduced by the beauty of Provence, it had installed its base.
In 1977, the city of Digne, universal legatee, created the Foundation "Alexandra David-Neel ' to continue dissemination of the important work of the author and for the scientific exploitation of its notes and documents. Today, the great tibetologist works have an international reputation.
To read:
-Journey of a Parisian to Lhasa. -The Lama at the five wisdoms.
-Buddhism of the Buddha.
-The India where I lived.
-Mystics and magicians of Tibet.

Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655)

Born into a peasant family, Pierre Gassendi was born in 1592 in Champtercier near Digne. Thanks to the protection of the Bishop, he may pursue studies of latin, rhetoric and philosophy. Doctor of theology in 1613, ordained in 1616 and Professor of philosophy in 1617, he was appointed Professor of mathematics at the Collège royal in Paris in 1643.
Contemporary astronomer Galileo, he studied among others the movement of comets, the topography, eclipses of the Moon and the evolution of sunspots.
In 1621, he was the first to scientifically describe the atmospheric light phenomenon which he named "Aurora Borealis", observing on 12 September, near Aix-en-Provence, a unique polar Aurora. He also worked on the propagation of sound as well as the laws of motion and inertia. It is the perfect "Homo Universalis" since it is both astronomer, philosopher, mathematician, naturalist, poet, epicurean...

Geography: The paradise of the geologist

The largest geological reserve of Europe

Haute-Provence geological reserve is the first attempt of its kind in Europe. The Act on the protection of nature (July 76) is applied to 18 sites of scientific and educational interest outstanding. A protection zone for 37 devices common to these sites to prohibit the extraction of any part of geological interest over a vast territory.This initiative brought by national and local authorities, including the University of Provence, is naturally implanted in a region regarded as a paradise for the geologist.

An exceptional territory

Transition geological viewpoint, marked by the implementation of the various mountain ranges of South of the France zone, this region to the exceptional geological past to follow the history of the Earth for 300 million years. The fossils, witnesses of bygone eras, there tell the long evolution of life.

A cultural vocation

Museum walk, perched on his anvil of Tuff (rock of high porosity and low density), is a place of employment for the staff of the reserve. It is also a place to visit for the public (exhibition halls, library and video library on Earth sciences). The Museum is located in a park where art works, the Japanese garden and the garden of butterflies punctuate the route of access to the site. The Center welcomes students and french and foreign geologists who chose this geographic region for their research. Public stays and internships are a quality tool to discover the Earth sciences. Led by a geologist, they can offer several options on request.

Back to the GR

•    A Hautes-Bâties de Cousson to the Pas d’Entrages 50 min
See: at the level of the fountain, noted the beautiful sequoia as well as large-leaved Linden.
-Go right down the wide forest track. First along a planted clearing of cherry trees, and then, at the edge of it, turn right onto a narrow feel.
-It soon becomes a good way, in balcony, by which one reaches the Valley of Laurie; cross it, - take on the right the track just reach, immediately back across the Creek, and then reassemble it.
-Locate on the right a cherry plantation; shortly after, turn left, Hairpin, a good path leading to the Pas d’Entrages (1,213 m).
•    The Pas d’ Entrages to Entrages 30 min
-Continue to the right on the peak on 10 m. Turn left and descend to Entrages (960 m).
•    From Entrages to the col de Pierre-Basse   1h15
-Entrages, which is located in the vicinity of the true route followed by Napoleon on his return from Elba, has a castle of the extreme end of the 18th century.
-Turn right just before the Church, a jewelled path. Cross a Valley, and 100 m after the bridge, turn left onto a grassy path.
-The GR insinuates itself between the terraces and reaches a talweg. Turn left then immediately right onto a jewelled trail.
-With a view to the farm of Chailan, the GR crosses a runway grassy and continuous balcony (bordered alternately boxwood and dry-stone flower strewn with bouquets of lavender).
-Take on the right, facing black land that one climbs up to a small pass. Arriving there, take left on the runway just to reach.
-Twisting first between fields and meadows, it soon enters the pine forest, and leads to a wide forest road. Take on the left.
-Firstly is rising, it then descends to the col de Pierre-bass (1,065 m).
Outside GR > Separation of the imperial way, which continues towards Castellane (see page 155). Possibility of accommodation at the hamlet of La Clappe, 30 min: follow the GR 406 South for 2 km.
•    The Col de Pierre-Basse at forest home of  Serre 2 h
-Continue to the left on the road about 100 m.
-Turn right onto a path among the trees. The latter soon through the resulting torrent of cervical then along right a clearing.
-First narrow, it widens and joined a track that one takes to left hand into the forest road of the Dourbettes; engage on the right.
-At the first turning, leave left the enclosure of the Dourbettes and right ignore a rising ramp. Follow the forest road that will bend to the left along the Dourbes bar.
-Further, down to the torrent of case and reassemble on the other side.
-Leave left shortly after a ruined the road leading through the Combe and glue, the hamlet Les Dourbes. The forest road, wide hairpin bends, reaches its highest point and then begins to descend gently sloping.
-A cross right indicates the path of the Labaud step and left the track which will join the small road of Dourbes glue.
-Continue between pine trees and some beech trees to the Valley of the Vabret is crossed below an impressive scree.
-The rise in the black lands on the other side dominates the Dourbes village and offers a wide horizon of le Cousson the Siron.
-Then a short descent leads to a new ravine nearby which begins on the left the road which, in 200 m, leads to the forest home of the Serre (1,103 m).
•    The forest home of Serre to Pas de la Faille    1 h 50
-Join the GTPA on the left at the crossing where had left it. Short distance, by a sharp turn to the right, it is committed in a way that allows it to cut some laces of the forest road.
-The forest road found neglect right trail pitch Tartonne to borrow a little more high than Pas de Faille (1,702 m) (this name indicates the presence of numerous beeches - the term fayard designating this tree, unless it follows the francization of the Provençal Word barometric: bundle of wood).
See: when two claims days of the winter of 1994, the snow and the wind combined écimé or shot many beautiful trees. Amount to the step will be the sad fact of injury to the century-old forest.
Outside GR > for the hole of Saint - Martin 30 min to go. Follow to the right in the direction of South yellow markup leads to the Summit of the Rocky bar across the boxwood. You arrive near a hole funnel dug into the rock. It is oriented East-West. The day of the Saint-Martin, on 11 November, and on 30 January, date of the Sainte Martine, a ray of the rising sun passes through the hole. This exceptional phenomenon lasts only 60 seconds.

The forest of the Dourbes Bar

The GTPA, between the Dourbettes and the no fault, through a forest of the old town of the Dourbes today attached to that of Digne. Heavily eroded by intense grazing, private of the bar des Dourbes lands were the subject of expropriation by the very young Republic that, in its haste, also expropriated communal wood in 1885. But seeing that the latter ran no risks, she made them in 1892 without having ever taken possession.
In 1890 were made the first close nurseries of planting sites. At the same time that it sowed these nursery workers shaped valleys, work which was extended up to circa 1910. From 1892 onwards with significant spikes in 1893, 1894, 1895, dozens of people from the Dourbes and the villages surrounding set up of many plants. Foresters had chosen local species: beeches in the ravine of La Casse, Scots pine, pine hooks or larch come ubaye, but especially black pines of Austria known recently for their hardiness on limestone soil and their drought resistance.
This forest grows and gave us the splendid trees we could admire until the beginning of the year 1994. Two particularly sinister days in January and February 1994 saw the snow and wind combined harp against the century-old forest. Topped or felled trees, the finding was terrible: two-thirds of the forest overlooking the forest House of Dourbe had been convicted. To preserve the survivors of diseases and insects the fast path of the chablis was decided, and exploitation began in the spring.
The work of foresters will continue. There where natural beech stands settled, the NFB will ensure that they remain. The voids will be reforested. The existing stands of conifers will do the rest. Sheep, many after the introduction in 1977 of a score of pioneers, will be very monitored. And young plantations will be for future generations.
Between the col de Pierre Basse and the Dourbettes, the GTPA made a brief foray into the old town of Bedejun now defunct, absorbed by Chaudon Norante. There was no expropriation in these territories. Everything went by amicable sales from 1907 to 1936. And the reforestation scheme was the same as in the sectors of the Dourbes. The black pine of Austria, that the forest saw grow at a few steps away, became the essence of predilection. On planta however towards the Clappe of rare trees that had various success: Himalayan Cedars, douglas, blue spruce and fir trees of Colorado, etc. These plantations were made by men as the unemployment (1936) or war (political refugees in 1937-39) or captivity (1945-47) had brought on the premises, then deserted by the local population. If this part of the forest, untouched by the storm, remains safe from disasters, the NFB is confident to realize there for the beginning of the 21st century, magnificent coniferous forests.

The train des Pignes

When in 1860, the County of Nice was attached to the France, DIGNE engineer Antoine Beau de Rochas, famous inventor of the cycle 4-stroke reciprocating engine, embarked on the study of a rail link between Grenoble and Nice. His project was not adopted and it is that in 1882 that the decision to build the line was taken by the Government and the operation to a private company, the railways of the Midi.
Therefore began grandiose work which would last until 1911. Given the difficulties due to the terrain, the engineers chose to opt for a metric gauge track (1 m distance between the rails instead of 1 m 40), allowing to climb from important vertical drop with a very sinuous route.
If the first section Digne - Mézel is open August 14, 1891, the rest of the work is very difficult, because the line requires 60 structures: 25 tunnels, 16 viaducts of masonry including a bridge on the Verdon for a single span of 40 m-span, 13 metal bridges and 2 elliptical bridges. Linear total is 151 km and more than 1,000 structures across railway line between Nice and Digne.
The railway line will finally arrive in Nice in 1911 and will be inaugurated July 3.
From Norante small "train des Pignes", which according to the legend owes its name to pine nuts that railwaymen once threw in the furnace of the locomotive, begins his race in the mountains. This unique tourist train in the region is managed by a private operator (Chemin de Fer de Provence) as well as the Region, owner of the line.Connecting the towns of Digne and Nice, it represents both a symbol of the territory for the Dignois and Nice, but also a mode of transportation practice serving many villages.
After a century of existence, the train des Pignes modernizes through the acquisition of new trains to increase its reputation and increase the number of passengers. It is therefore on this occasion that all the institutions have decided to celebrate its centenary in 2011.

Back to the GR

•    Pas de la Faille to  Tartonne  2h30
-No fault, take the trail that descends on the other side. Achieve a beech forest capped its upper part larch.
-After two crossings under the foliage, out of wood, by two long shoelaces between boxwood and lavender, to find some 200 m below.
-The path then meanders under the shadows of oak or pine until the spout Riou where he joined a forest track.
-Follow to the right; After a short slope, reach a platform of loggers at the edge of the forest road takes it South to the hamlet of white.
-Leave this last right hand to left take the 719 D to an intersection.
-Turn again to the left and follow the D 19 to the village of Tartonne (950 m).
•    Tartonne to col de Séoune  1h30
-Get off right by D 19 then a parallel Street.
-Veer left to pass near the Church. Continue along the dirt road.
-At the first junction, turn right and then up along the torrent of Sadh on its right bank; cross it by a broad Ford.
-Advancing in a Heath, leaves left a path at right angles before flying the torrent below the old bridge.
-GR then describes a large loop to the left to rise along the electric line to the home of the grazing; bypass the closing thereof.
-Top, slightly to the left, climb a path to a small wetland area and then to a valley without vegetation.
-Describe a yaw to the right. The path rises gently sloping first not far from the thalweg, and then in the forest. Leave right the steeper road before arriving at a small space bare.
-Go left up the trail well marked to a bridle. Choose the middle path and climb up to the D 219.
-The GR continues on the other side. Climb avoiding multiple shortcuts to reach crete on a forest trail that is cut up.
-The descent is done in the Northeast by a trail in balcony and sloping in the middle of lavender, savory and wild thyme.
-At the level of the torrent of the t, we reach a very good path; take it to the right. After the House of land, turn on the first road on the left.
-After the fold, at the top of the field of lavender, turn left and reach the Seoune pass (1,387 m).
•    The Col de Seoune to Château - Garnier 1 h 15
See: the Laval farm, which is located about 1 km west of the col de Seoune, was the scene of one of the deadliest actions against a group of rebels occupying troops.
-Leave the forest road for the benefit of the trail to the right of the main runway in pouring is.
-GR (old track of herds) follows the thalweg and crosses the road twice to reach the Sandhu Riou. Get off on the right bank to find the bridge and cross the river.
-Continue at length on the forest path. After he left to right a passage that seems to reach the torrent, reach a bifurcation.
-Turn left and stay on this road passing near the vault Saint-Thomas. On D 2. turn left and reach the Castle-Garnier (1,096 m).
•    Château-Garnier to Thorame-Basse 30 min
See Château-Garnier: Chapel St. Thomas has retained the primitive building that the apse of the 12th century including the apse Vault is covered with paintings. They represent Christ in Majesty and the four evangelists with their symbols: Angel, lion, Bull, Eagle. It is believed that this fresco has been altered to the middle of the 16th century, from the remains of the Romanesque period. Alone, the head of Christ kept the nobility of painting from the 13th century. The acoustics of the monument is quite exceptional.
Outside GR > du Cheval Blanc 7 h round trip Summit. From the cottage of Château-Garnier, this beautiful hike provides access to one of the highest peaks near the route (2,323 m).
Variant out of GR to Annot 6.30. A (not tagged) Variant to join Annot in two stages. It connects Château-Garnier station go by 4:30 then the station go to Annot in 6 h 30 by passing successively Argens, are going and at 1,716 m in addition to the already mentioned.
-The gîte de Château-Garnier, borrow D 2 on the right in the direction of the village.
-If left enter a path climbing switchbacks that is abandoned soon slipping on the right into another path toward eastern hillside.
-So join the way of the cross on the rump before descending to the village of Thorame-Basse (1 126 m).
•    Thorame-Basse to Fontanil sheepfold 3 h
-Arrived the road, borrow it to the right, pass in front of the Church and forking, left, in the second street.
-At the level of the cemetery, continue East on a wide track that leads directly to the hamlet of Moustier.
-Cross South to D 2. Follow her on the left, about 1 km to the Lake of Sagnes.
-Turn right onto the path that bypasses the Lake and descend towards the gate of the spillway. Continue right on farm road for about 500 m before arriving at a crossroads.
Outside GR > possibility, continuing straight on, to reach the village of Thorame-high.
-At the crossroads, turn right, towards the Southeast and slowly rise to the level of two cottages after walking along a larch plantation.
-At the level of the second House, arrived at a crossroads, be careful to take the opposite path that mounts on embankments.
-It crosses a Creek before joining, almost immediately a pleasant path which leads to D 52. Turn right.
-Turn on the trail that starts on the left just after the bridge. Back on the road, down a trail on the left just after the second bridge. Then follow the D 52 until the junction with the D 955.
-Engage in front in the high altitude trail which provides access to the D 908; the cross and then climb on the trail of le Fontanil.
-He describes many laces, then after a long crossing, addresses la bergerie le Fontanil (1560 m).
•    Fontanil sheepfold to the Colle-Saint-Michel    1h30
Caution > This fold is a private property and the most elementary rules of courtesy are to be respected.
-Bypass the sheep by the top paddock to reach on a wide trail downstream of the pumping station. Follow the track in moving away from the fold.
-After about 750 m, engage in another track on the left. It is coming soon to a small cottage. Continue right over this cottage.
-Get off at length to progress under the power line. Raise this line to a trail describing a shoelace and move eastward to the small col.
See: views of the Peyresc village nestled against her cliff.
-Turn right onto the steepest slope of the Hill, then cut a track before arriving on a plateau. Follow the path that runs along a track before arriving to the point of passage between two closed parks.
-Turn then left to find a cross-country route (red track). Long follow this route from where the views over the Valley of the Vairy is remarkable.
-To the birth of a small valley, runway is clearly towards the left and headed towards the village of the Colle-Saint-Michel (1,431 m).
Outside GR > right following the GR country Tour of the high - Verdon (marked yellow-red), we can win the CP (i Provence railway) station on Thorame-Haute in 1 hour of walking.
Outside GR > very aesthetic and air, the variant connects the Colle-Saint-Michel to Annot in 5 h 30 approximately, via the Rent Puy (1 996 m), the bass of let's go and Annot and serves the Gîte d ' étape Roncharel. Initially, follow the equestrian (in orange) that makes the junction with the main variant North of the bass of let's go to the level of the Gorgettes trail.
•    The Colle-Saint-Michel to Méailles 1 h 45
-Of the Colle-Saint-Michel, follow the D 908 in the direction of Annot on a little more l miles leaving left hand the small access road to the village of Peyresq.
-Take left Road starting in the turn and descending in the understory. Reach a path near a House.
-Then turn left and then immediately right. Get off in the same direction (East) until the houses of Rioufred where one finds a wide path.
-Continue on the right. Thus pass successive ravines Clot Mureau and Inarde then under the isolated House of the Buchaillon, down left a trail to the wooden bridge crossing the Vaire.
-Just upstream, we come to the 210 D that one follows a few meters on the left until the start of a trail on the right.
-Found the access road to Méailles, upstream, and it follows again on the left. Over a level crossing before embarking on a trail starting in lace just above Méailles station serving.
-Immediately turn left an alley leading place of the village of Méailles (1,000 m).
•     Méailles to Col d’Argenton 1 h45
-Work around the Church to the right (you can admire a sundial which bears the inscription: Fugit irreparabile Tempus). At the lavoir, turn right a road 150 m.
-At the crossroads of Calvary, turn left onto the small road amount across cultures. Leave left the different paths and roads serving a few isolated houses.
-Continue until the entrance of the wood, the road gradually yielding place to a path.
-Borrow at a right angle the left path that climbs between the chestnut to the col of Argentan (1468 m).
•    Col d’Argenton to Annot 1 h 45
-The Col, down right through the forest track until the third lace.
-Take left a path on 200 m, then turn left again. Pass between two blocks of rock and a ruin.
-At the end of 500 m, follow the ancient Roman road in the understory to the village of Annot (700 m).
•    Annot to Saint - Joseph Bridge 1 h 20
See Annot: the city dates back to an ancient. Indeed, some stands celto-ligurians remains have been discovered on the site. The first dwellings were located at the foot of the vast Rocky bar (called Baou de vendre) which dominates the confluence of the Vairy and the Beite. Later, the collapse of this bar forced the population to find a safer place. Thus is created a new settlement in the District of worms-la-Ville around the rock, which is now the Lady chapel.
Today, the town is a climate and summer resort much appreciated. Special mention must be made of its waters to the legendary purity that take their source in the famous "Aboriginal Annot sandstone", real natural filters.
The Tourist Office publishes a map and profiles of small hikes in the commune of Annot.
To visit: the medieval houses; the Romanesque chapel of Notre-Dame de worms-la-Ville; the picturesque site of the large sandstone boulders scree...

Back to the GR

-From the main square of the village, win the other shore of the river Vaire.
Outside GR > junction with the variant from Château-Garnier (see page 129). Possibility of accommodation at the Gîte de Roncharel, 1 h 30 from the centre of Annot (altitude 500 m): do not cross the bridge, but along the River, passing the pool then forking left to a chapel. The road becomes a trail, which climbs through the Woods and joined a small road; follow it to the right. Terminal 961, engage left in a trail that climbs to the Gîte de Roncharel (1250 m).
-After the stone bridge, turn left, then immediately after the first House engage in a path. GR then along the Vaire by its right bank.
-At the entrance of the last property, turn left to whistle (very pronounced turn) and continue between the young pines up to a meadow at the end of which there is a building secluded.
-GR down then two laces, passes under the House, and then soon began a climb switchbacks in the forest until you reach a good balcony trail.
-Go left and continue until the rump closing in detroit the gorges of the Galange where one discovers a crossroads.
-Descend to the left and come up with two short laces. Right leave the trail without end and Hairpin hair. Continue to mountainside until out of the canopy.
-Two laces can still take a bit of altitude. After a section of short climbs and descents, it happens over an electric pylon, forking left and win the pylon.
-Continue straight on a few meters to find a good path located slightly to the right and down to the No. 202. The trail quickly reaches the road. Descend to the Saint-Joseph Bridge (753 m).
•    Saint-Joseph Brifge to Ourges 1 h
-Cross the Galange and continue right on a path which rises in laces. After passing a vallon pronounced at the foot of the bars, turn left on a pleasant path and reach the intersection.
-Turn left. After a long crossing, reach a chapel in ruins. Leave the trail to the right and then immediately left to reach the village abandoned for Ourges (1000 m).
•    Ourges to the chapel of St. John of the Desert 35 min
-The GR slips between the houses. After the second Valley, mount left at the first fork.
-Above, do not let yourself be tempted by what seems to be the beginning of a path to the left, but dig into the gorge passing above bars.
-Achieve a replat. cross the torrent before climbing, right into the slope, the rump faced. The trail is not marked.
-Crete, a good high altitude trail leads to the imposing Chapel of St. John of the Desert (1,250 m).
•    The chapel of St. John of the Desert to the col de Saint - Jeannet 25 min
See: this Chapel is the purpose of a pilgrimage which takes place on 24 June and 29 August.
-The GR sneaks between buildings then continues eastward to an oratory in a collar forming boundary between a prairie and black Marl.
Outside GR > junction with GR 4 headed right towards Castellane.
-Follow the left white and Red markup: pass near a source and reach the col de Saint-Jeannet (1 278 m).
•    The Col de Saint-Jeannet to Entrevaux
-Leave the path on the right and engage face-to-face. Further on, turn right; 600 m further, follow a path that descends very regularly passing many gullies.
-Shortly after the second oratory, lead in a small plain, and at height of a basin, passing on the left bank of the Creek. About 50 m further on, find a path well marked along a murette.
-Pass under the ruins of the glue, and then arrive at a track at the level of a group of houses. Take it to the first lace.
-Take a left onto the old communal road that descends into the Valley of the Var. After several switchbacks to reach a road. Take on the left until the first houses.
-Turn right and achieve the 560 D that borrowing left.
-Cross the district Plan (habitat dispersed before the N 202 to access called Provence railway station ' the Pian of Entrevaux "." ")
Attention: To join Entrevaux, borrow the train des Pignes, because road traffic on the N 202 does not make the journey in total security. Getting on a train which runs eastward to win, in less than five minutes, the city of Entrevaux (480 m).
See: border town between the France and the Kingdom of Savoy until 1860, Entrevaux has walls, doors, and a fortress by Vauban from 1692 to 1706. The old town is picturesque. The old cathedral of Entrevaux is decorated with rich decor and beautiful liturgical objects.

Saint-Pancrace - Digne
Bléone Valley - Digne

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