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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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Around the Verdon

The Verdon is more than a river. It is a country, a region, which would require more than one book to speak properly.
And this region is in the heart of Provence, greater still, surrounded by part and another of the Mediterranean, the Southern Alps and the Rhône. This page will be dedicated to some towns and villages in the Southern Alps, that you need to explore to actually find out. Adventure coming in the Gorges du Verdon, you won't miss your visit a little further away.

Regional and national parks Mercantour and the Luberon

What rich nature! Then remain first in the nature.
Geographically already, the Haute-Provence cash among rare beauties. The Canyon of the Verdon digs its remarkable gorges over twenty-one kilometres between Rougon and Aiguines. Route La Corniche Sublime will discover its wonders of wild nature and impressive to-peaks. On foot, it takes a whole day to surveying and marvel at the Martel Trail along, baptized by the name of the first "Explorer" the canyon in 1905.
Since 1979, the Mercantour national Park protects 68,500 hectares between the Alpes Maritimes and the Haute-Provence. Adjacent to the Italian natural park of Argentera, mercantour Park is a Mountain Park offering often acute landscapes and abundant wildlife. It is the only french Park where wolves have returned from their "own initiative" neglecting the border between the France and the Italy. As to the regional natural park of Luberon, is it still necessary to submit both its wonderful setting praised by all stars song, film and even policy who rushed to buy a "mas", which around of Gordes, which in the Oaks of Oppède-Le-Vieux. It is one of the last reflections of the cherished Provence to Camus.

The Haute-Provence

Steep country, Haute-Provence has transformed the human habitat in genuine outgrowth ventousee to the rocks. What is the invasion of the Saracens, particularly violent and deadly in this region? Is this all just an instinct of protection inherent in human? In any case, thus created small perched towns that give the reply, life-size, these famous Provencal crèches that children build for the people of santones during the Christmas. Huddled under their red tiles as of scales, its tall houses are reminiscent of rocks, austere turtles. Set one against the other, they are connected by narrow streets and to the pave - ment so bitter that they can often be borrowed on foot. In these countries, the wind blowing hard. Too strong even for the arrows of the towering steeples stone. Thus one architectural specialties from the Haute-Provence, these are its bell towers in wrought iron which cover the churches and where the Bell remains suspended from all winds. Particularly ornate, some of these bell towers are true masterpieces of ironworks, as in Sisteron or les Mées.
Long, the Haute-Provence has remained a region difficult to access where communication networks were limited to Mule paths. Thus the road through the Canyon of Verdon was completed in 1973. In the middle of the 19th century, the bridges themselves were still rare.
Suffice to say that Napoleon was the worry when he crossed this harsh country during his triumphant return from Elba. Following a route that would become the Route Napoléon, it passed through Castellane, Digne, slept in the castle of Malijai. Test which worried the Emperor; the fortress of Sisteron does he opposed any resistance, lack of powder canon... Napoleon was past, but under what conditions! Today, more than worries, the roads and trails of the Haute-Provence are open so that everyone can revel these villages and these primordial landscapes that perfume so expensive charm at noon. The magnificent campanile that caps the Sisteron clock tower.

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Wildlife in haute-Provence

The fauna of the Southern Alps, whether in Haute-Provence as in the foothills of the first summits, has particularly suffered exploitation and processing land.Between pesticides that destroy insects, good as bad, and the mechanization of wild spaces, many species have disappeared. Symbol of Haute-Provence and the Digne in particular, the butterfly was one of the first victims of the destruction of the traditional environment. There are still approximately 1,300 species on this territory. 600 hover around Digne which the municipal museum has an outstanding collection. For lovers of colors in subtle movements, the ballets of butterflies from the Haute-Provence compose wonderful kaleidoscopes, as soon as the first heat.
Like many campaigns, the Southern Alps are full course of rodents: shrews of the Alps, mouse of the snow with a small smooth Pompom at the end of the tail...
Once one looks the col of the rulers of his fur, but Royal ermine is more and more rare and well blessed are those who manage to enter the race of her tawny summer dress and immaculate winter, barely marked black at the end of the tail. The Marmot remains, of course, the emblem of the Southern Alps and the hobby of all pro-leaders. Vigilant lookout, the Marmot sits on his legs from behind to identify intruders and hisses to give warning to those comrades, they then slip into their tunnels that their also serve as room during the winter. Bird stand with birds of prey such as hawks and hawks. Ravens and crows often soar above the least inhabited places. While the black or snow Partridge play hide-and-seek with hunters in the wildest corners of the Southern Alps. On the heights, the IBEX and chamois sharpen their hooves and horns. Nicknamed "antelope of the Alps", the chamois stands gracefully on the rocks pointing these fine mutinous horns. More massive, with large horns annulate, ibex revels to the NAP in the Sun. A butterfly butine a lavender.


The vegetation of the Southern Alps slides skillfully from the Mediterranean to the alpine. Green oak, Cypress, almond, olive and fragrant plants such as Lavender give their place to more cold-resistant conifers: FIR, spruce, larch. The gnarled and twisted trunks concede steep resembling straight and proud. The leaves are transformed into needles. Odors also abandon the sugar for the sweet presence of pine resin.
As for the flowers... The Carnation, iris and poppies turn Thistles, rhododendrons, gentians or rare Edelweiss, almost as mythical as certain orchids. Sparkling of thousand reflections under the dew of the morning, an Edelweiss.

The dam of Serre-Ponçon and its surroundings

With its 3,000 hectares and its 270 million m3 of water, the Lake of Serre-Ponçon ranks among the largest artificial lakes in Europe. It is born from the desire to discipline the capricious Durance which has its source in Mount Geneva. Lean in winter, it turns into an impetuous torrent as soon as the snow melts gives a bit of nerve. It becomes even more irascible also receives Queyras and the Ubaye waters which are the same temper alpine rivers. Today the Lake is renowned for the diversity of its landscapes and the multiplicity of sports that its beautiful surface can now practice: sailing, water-skiing, canoeing... Completed in 1960, this dam was the first in France to be carried out by the techniques implemented to the United States for very large works. Largely raised through the alluvial deposits of the basin of the Durance, it rises 123 metres to 650 m thick at the base and a maximum volume of 14 million m3. A power plant was arranged subterraneously into a rock, the Monge greenhouse. It can annually produce up to six billion KWh.


Starting around this lake by the left, is attacked by Belvedere Ivan-Wilhem site. This splendid viewpoint, of course, was named after the name of the engineer who designed the dam of Serre-Ponçon. Located at an altitude of 847 meters, this viewpoint was raised in the crest of the dam axis and allows a profound view on the nearly 20 kilometres that separate the work of Embrun. Chorges stands slightly behind the dam. There are the "Stone of Nero", impressive stele in pink marble, which would be the base of an ancient statue disappeared. It is dominated by the particular tower which dates from the 14th century and which stands on two floors. The shore can be seen the stunted silhouette of the Saint Michel chapel which stands humble but determined on its island. At certain times of the year - born, the level of the water rises so high that the small church seems to float on the wrinkles of the wave. The Savines bridge spans the Lake over the ruins of the village submerged by waters setting. Several stories are running on the website: weather quiet, when the waters are really clear, you can still see the ruins of houses damaged in the great wave of progress... Some nights of lovers in boats allegedly heard ringing the Bell of the Church under the surface...

Boscodon Abbey

Located in a beautiful mountain setting, 1150 m above sea level, 3 km from the Lake of Serre - Ponçon, the Abbey of Boscodon is a remarkable monument of the 12th century, it was the main house of the order of Chalais (hermits) which was widespread in the middle ages in the Dauphiné and Provence. Its architecture is close of Cistercian art. Updated bag on several occasions, it underwent restorations in the 15th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Abbey, sacristy, Chapel and chapter have regained their original so beauty that have – the monks and the officers, despite the changes that were the object. Become hamlet since 1791, the buildings of the Abbey (classified M.H. in 1974) swear redeemed as early as 1972 by the Association of friends of the Abbey of Boscodon (recognized public utility in 1990) which ensures the consolidation and restoration, and y promotes cultural activities. The religious community Notre Dame de Boscodon anime on the spiritual plane may, another Savines-le-Lac stands on the shore...
In the thick forest that dominates, nestles the Boscodon Abbey. Built blonde stone of the country, the cargneule by chalaisiens monks in 1130, it was very prosperous survive the disappearance of the order of Chalais and become Benedictine in 1408. Sold as National property after the revolution, it diminished in farm buildings until 1972. In the Court of restaura - tion, it now houses a small congregation of Dominican nuns and welcomes people who want to make a retreat. Around the Abbey amounts of powerful firs and larches where monks have captured a source protected by an arch of stone, the bear fountain.


A Pontis, the local school, which has never counted only one class, has turned into the schooling of the Alps Museum. But it is also her damsels and their hairstyle Pontis owes its fame. But don't panic, ladies, and not dreaming, gentlemen! Splendid surmounted by a large rock, these ladies wearing red stone candles are called also, moreover, "Fairy chimneys". They line up as of ephemeral works of art of a geological chance at soul artist whose chisel would name erosion.
Sauze's Lake, one can discover a fierce landscape of coves that are crumbling and that evoke the wilderness were those of the Southern Alps, waggle of wild life.Animal Park, the mountain marmots restores in a natural space that life which flourished in the heart of these forests and these rocks, after. Real marmots invite you to discover the wonders of the forest: flowers, trees, animals and even a prehistoric cave...
The "Marmot mountain" you can approach of marmots and visit the reconstitution of a prehistoric cave.


Enthroned at the pointe du lac, Embrun dominates the Durance of the top of his "Roc". Old ecclesiastical metropolis, Embrun is distinguished by its Cathedral Notre-Dame-du-Real, dating 12th and 13th centuries. Formerly Notre-Dame-des-Bois, it offers one of the most beautiful examples of art Lombard, in particular through its two lions and its two pairs of columns supported by the Atlanteans. An insolent folk tale tells that the character trapped between the two left columns would be the Provost pingré who balked to pay workers builders. The House of the Chanonges rises since the 13th century, as a unique testimony of medieval civil architecture of this region.

Ubaye - Barcelonnette

Collected, Ubaye long remained the most isolated Valley of France. The road that connects Barcelonnette in the lower Valley of the Durance was really completed that in 1883.
Barcelonnette was born to the whim of Raimond Bérenger, count of Barcelona and Provence. He decided to build there, a large building which he called Barcelonne, in 1231... Then the centuries made Barcelonnette. In 1821, two brothers from Jausiers, the Arnaud, close their spinning and leave "to do" fortune at the Mexico... challenges result in their wake much of young adventurers of the Valley, to the point that at the end of the 19th century more than half of men to 20 years in the Valley became "Barcelonnettes" or "Mexican", abandoning the heights of the Alps for the Pampa. But the war of 14-18 and the Mexican revolution break the dream...
Back in the country, some of these "Mexicans" were building luxurious villas that forge the personality of Barcelonnette. Villa la Sapinière is one of the most sumptuous of them. Into the same grave, "Mexicans" also wrote their epic in outstanding monuments which decorate the cemetery. It is since the 1930s, that slips sunny on powder snow lovers come put their skis at the foot of the "Mountie hat" and the "Sugar Loaf". Thus, Le Sauze (1380 m) could almost claim the anecdotal title of oldest French ski resort.

The Pra - Loup 1600 station

It is now connected by gondola and a road to the new Super-Sauze. On these tracks, our beautiful champion of the world of super-giant, Carole Merle, began to slide the medal winning Wonderland. Enduring Walker, the top of the "Mountie hat" offers a splendid view on the Valley of Barcelonnette and the gorges of the Bachelard. Created in the 1960s, the ski resort of Pra - Loup has managed to make famous trails. Its symbol, a howling Black Wolf's head, is now famous in the whole of Europe. But it is not only its tracks but also rich and precious natural surroundings that have made its appeal. As skiers hikers can discover the beauties of the Valley of Gimette such as those of the neck of the tiles. Faucon-de-Barcelonnette name comes from birds of prey which, at a distant time, was familiar places. This village was the birthplace of the famous Saint John of Matha. He founded the order of the Trinitarians and the mediator who undertook to redeem at the Saracens their Christian prisoners. The convent of his order serves today's retirement. Home of the pioneers of emigration to Mexico, the brothers Arnaud, Jausiers features a remarkable 18th century Church. Its single nave Vault Vault consisting of blocks of Tuff carved and baroque décor synthesizes in an altar of the dead very original, ornate carved bones and skulls. One of the "Mexicans" built upon his return the Château des Magnans in neo-Gothic. Two Warriors books punctuate the surrounding area. The Fort de Tournoux clings to the mountain to ride the line of ridges between the Ubaye and the Ubayette. It culminates at 2,000 metres after a climb of 700 meters in altitude. It was not only built between 1843 and 1865, but also dug since subways connect different batteries together. Roche-cross date from 1931-1940. It was designed in the programme Maginot to be totally self-sufficient, kinda like a monastery of war. The arch marks the boundary between the France and the Italy. The Châtelet Bridge opens the way to Fouillousse. It impresses with its single arch that soars to 100 metres above the void, since 1880. The Maurin Church encourages contemplation. Solitary in the silent mountain, this chapel Saint - Antoine is nestled in the heart of the cemetery as if it wanted to protect the other as violent as that carried the first chapel of the 12th in 1531 avalanche...

The col d'Allos and surrounding areas

The road to the Col d'Allos is covered with snow from November to may. But this coat white and slippery put not off winter sports enthusiasts who know well the stations that extend their ski areas on part and sides of the neck. Le Val-d'Allos brings Allos, la Foux-d'Allos and Le Seignus, popular ski resorts which offer one of the largest ski areas in France while trying to keep a very regional stamp with their wooden structures. Allos Lake shines its bright turquoise in a circus overlooked by ragged peaks. With its 60 hectares, it is the largest lake in Europe at these altitudes (2,230 m). Mont Pelat is one of the sites of reintroduction of the ibex...


This small town is located at an altitude of 1250 metres in a beautiful woodland setting which already announces the natural beauties of the Mercantour Park. The origin of its name has the clearly influence the fate of this small charming fortress with narrow streets and plots so typically southern. Indeed, she would be born of a temple erected on the Hill and dedicated to the Roman god of war: March. March Hill (Collis Martis) becomes Colmars. But its strategic location earned him a systematic confrontation with all territorial conflicts in the turbulent history of France... Despite the multiple fires that punctuate this epic, be they warriors or accidental, Colmars has managed to keep beautiful flanked ramparts of small square towers dating back to François 1st, as well as the forts of France and Savoy with their double caponiers, which connect it to the city, designed by Vauban at the end of the 17th century. At the bottom of a narrow gorge bounces the waterfall of the spear in a wild fracas that rafraîchît and how.


Lock of the Valley of the white for centuries, Seyne-Les-Alpes dominates the Durance and the ubaye Valley to one side, the Bes and the Bléone on the other.Border town between Savoy and the Provence, its history has suffered the vagaries of invasions and conflicts of political interests. His first church was destroyed by the Moors in 900. If already the implantation of Christianity gave rise to claims persecution, the wars of Religion are unleashed their massacres and fires, before the stronghold be granted the Protestants. The great Tower (12th century) also continues to stand guard to prevent any ranconnages which the city was long held hostage. Order of Vauban, a fort just surround this prestigious ancestor of war in 1691. Imposing monument mountain novel, the church - Notre Dame-de-Nazareth anchor its Latin cross in the land of the white since the 13th century.

Digne and its region

The establishment of worthy as the capital of the Bléone Valley dates back to time immemorial... This site was already inhabited well before the romanization in the protohistoric era. Prefecture of the Alpes de Haute - Provence, Digne has always played an important role throughout history: under the Gallo-Roman oppidum, bishopric in the middle ages, Chief-place of the Department since the French Revolution, stage city of the reconquest of the Empire by Napoleon on his return from Elba... Lively, worthy also today stands by its new thermal expansion since 1975: she receives more than 10000 patients per year.
As pointed out by the works performed in public place that punctuate its streets, worthy also turned into muse of the sculpture with a very popular international biennale. Well striking and much different personalities surveyed this city as Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655) the famous mathematician-astronomer and polemicist who philosophically décousît with Descartes, Mgr. de Miollis (1753-1843) immortalized as Bishop Bienvenu Myriel in "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo, without forgetting the adventurous Alexandra David-Neel who eventually abandon Tibet to settle here in order to write his memories. Although dating from the 19th century, the great fountain stands its Doric porticos as emblems of a thermal vocation that the city assume since antiquity. Its originality is anxious to his foam covered with calcareous concretions which give to the whole an air of survivor pagan shrine for centuries. Dimensional for a Provencal Romanesque cathedral, our Lady of the village date from the 13th and 14th centuries. But she was raised on the foundations of an older first church.
It opens with a magnificent Portal lombard Lions. Its crypt has a Merovingian white marble altar. The Campanile of the Cathedral Saint-Jérôme (15th) overcomes the Church since 1620. PLU - sieurs museums enrich the city of diversities: worthy, religious arts, the second world war. Most visited remains the home of the Explorer Alexandra David-Neel, where she lived for forty-two years. This Mecca of curiosity and spirituality has memories of the far East adventure of this woman out of the ordinary. Dubbed "Samten Dzong", or "Fortress of meditation", this House received twice the visit of the Dalai Lama. However worthy does not forget the historical riches of his lands. The Jardin Botanique des Cordeliers offers a collection of more than 350 vegetables, medicinal and aromatic plants in a typical architecture of the 'gardens in tiles' medieval. Worthy also stands at the heart of a true geological memory of our planet, protected by a Reserve natural Géologique de Haute Provence which preserves the Ammonites giant slab, or the footprints of birds.

Les Mées

Strange hooks of rock dominate the village of les Mées: Penitents. Conglomerates of Pebble forever United by a natural cement, these high with silhouettes, which one still bears the outline of a cross over his heart, monks were reportedly too insensitive to the Gracile charm of generous Moorish. At the time, the Saracens invaded the country and will are distinguished by spreading a violent terror. The Lords of the nearby United and a beautiful night, crushed the enemy army. Seven young Moorish women were captured and transferred to the Lord of les Mées, Rimbaud. But returning home, after the heat of the battle, Rimbaud felt in the mood for other assaults, softer...
What were the talents or the harbingers known of these only women? The fact remains that, abandoning his land Affairs, Rimbaud retreated with them behind ramparts proud... Quickly, they began to speak of Enchantment and jealousy help, were not very natural that Rimbaud spends all his time in the company of these meaning he would have had to return to Arles so the Church decides their fate. In the people, where superstitious fear ends up doing blow a wind of revolt and it threatened Rimbaud to ex-communication if it did not deliver its circees of addition-Mediterranean... Oriental Witches so had to leave the Citadel under the eyes of all the inhabitants of the surrounding area. Their output was only accompanied by silences and cold hearts beats: their exotic beauty froze all and all. On the crest of the hill opposite Saint Donat, the hermit of Lure, felt well that so many sweets and met joliesses were not indifferent monks. Despite the speed of a shy glance, virility already trembled under the austere bure. To avoid that the good monks succumb to the sin of envy, the lucid hermit them long on place before even their soul is reached by temptation. These beautiful odalisques had such a reputation of awakening beauty the beast that lurks in every man that a locality is still called the "Pourcelles" in memory of their fascinating spell.


As if his frighteningly gnarled hands, giant unlikely lm had discarded rocks to offer the course at the River, the mountain opened to pass the Durance, where the Vocontii established Segustro and Jean-Louis Vaudoyer to include in letter gold on white monolith plugged at the foot of the Citadel: "has Sisteron, you think less the work of mortal hands as the immortal game of the Titans"! And it is from the left bank of the Durance that the curious will enjoy the most beautiful view of Sisteron which climbs up to the assault on its Hill, crowned by this famous Citadel which worried, a moment, Napoleon in his triumphant return from Elba. The city seems taken from the passion of climbing both its narrow streets, climbing the Rocky flanks with gusto.
These balanced of Provence as well as charms of the Alps were never better mentioned by the words of Paul Arène, native of Sisteron and author of "Jean de les figs" and "La Chèvre d'Or". In addition to the Notre-Dame church and its bell tower with pyramidal arrow, Sisteron is famous for its five towers with evocative names. Constructed in 1370, they remain the last vestiges of the enclosure designed to protect the city of armed gangs known as the "Big companies" who invaded Provence to the plunder. Its sentinels of stone called 'People of arms' round, "Notre-Dame – du Fort", "Door-save", by which fled the Protestants, and tour for "Scandal" that where, allegedly, the Sisteronaises of the time liked to meet for '... redeem trivial comments on either of the absent... ".
In the 11th century, a first Citadel had been erected on the remains of the previous strongholds. But there is nothing today. Proud and reassuring despite the historic vicissitudes which the disastrous bombing Allied August 1944, that still stands date largely from the 12th century. But it has been many times revised, in particular on the advice of Vauban that looked very carefully on a "new plan of defence" which the guidelines were never performed... for cause of lack of money, already! At the three-quarters destroyed during the Liberation, the chapel of the Citadel, Notre-Dame - du-Château, date however from the 15th century. It combines sandstone Golden Bevons to grey Chambrancon limestone and illustrated, since 1980, stained-glass windows to the valuable the glassmaker Claude brave symbolism. The surroundings of Sisteron offer also some surprises full as much mystery as Lavender or FIR. The parade of the Pierre Ecrite shows a long Roman inscription in honor of a prefect of the Gauls converted to Christianity, Dardanus, who opened this passage. The scribe alludes to a mysterious "city of God" which the remains have been identified between Chardavon and Saint-Geniez. This "Theopolis' would have been an important center spiritual and initiation of the early Christians but their predecessors also. A little further on the curious rock of Dromon rises a modest Chapel of the 11th which has a pit, embellished crypt balusters and capitals. Some researchers claim that she would have raised on the mystical 'Théopolis' centre. Near Saint-Geniez, the forest of Vançon would have pushed into the basin of a Lake disappeared during an earthquake.

Forcalquier and its surroundings

Provencal city holding the basin between the Montagne de Lure, the Durance river and the Luberon, Forcalquier builds on a history of strong independent nature.Indeed, in the middle ages, it became the capital of the Haute-Provence, arguing its sovereignty over a vast territory stretching from Manosque to Embrun. It to pass earned even the right to become co-eveche with Sisteron, which remains a striking exception in the history of the Church. Slowly, throughout the decades, through marriage alliances, the County of Forcalquier will return to the fold of the Kingdom of France in the 15th century. The Notre-Dame church houses the oldest Gothic Provence transepts and heart since they date at beginning of the 12th century. The Franciscans came to settle in Forcalquier in 1236. Until the end of the 17th century they occupied their first Foundation, the convent of the Cordeliers. The creations of the Franciscans are often named "of the cordeliers" because these monks had to use to tie a rope around their bures.
Place Saint-Michel, according to its well-established habit, the Archangel assailed a dragon atop a pyramid: the strong bright renaissance fountain. Both guardians of greenery and walls of murmurs by time of mistral, the Ifs of the cemetery are transformed into remarkable architectural extras. Massive and pungent, the Montagne de Lure was for years the wild Muse of Giono: "... the monstrous backbone of the Dyonisos Bull..." ". Curious description for this muse whose landscapes he inspired number of stories including "Revival". Particularly wooded North Slope offers a deep contrast with aromatic scrubland on the southern flank. A mountain vocation, Notre-Dame - de - Lure was built by the monks of the order of Chalais in 1165. Saint-Etienne-Les-Orgues, which stands as a vigil on the road to the Summit, owes its reputation to the many and prestigious medicines that there were concocted with plants harvested on the slopes of the Lure.Picked up around its medieval Citadel, Mane saw the stones of its quarries participate in the most beautiful buildings of the region including Notre-Dame-de-Salagon. Built on a sanctuary of the life, this Abbey from the 12th century welcomes in his magnificent novel a museum as well as an ethnological Conservatory of the Haute-Provence famous for its collections of medicinal and aromatic plants sometimes very rare. He also stone's Mane, the Château de Sauvan is proud to be the "Petit Trianon Provençal", typical of the 15th century. Lookalike of Marie-Antoinette, the chatelaine of Salim would have tried to replace the Ottoman Queen allow him to escape from the Bas - tille. But it refused, knowing that his successor might beheading. With its two churches one of between was mentioned as a Royal Church, Saint-Michel - l'Observatoire already seemed to be dedicated to the most religious heaven.
It is now also in the most natural firmament since his Observatory, installed thanks to the purity of the atmosphere enjoyed by the region, soars towards the sky as one of the most advanced in Europe with its 14 domes and his telescope at the forefront of technology. Céreste was long an important centre of Christianity with the proximity of the Priory of Carluc where you can still discover graves with human forms. Fountain-tank under Arch of stone, the "nest of love" brings together two sources that there well before roof overhang of the rock. This Valley of the Encreme is also distinguished by its ecological interest. In addition to its basement contains numerous fossils of marine animals and plants, it hosts the largest rodent of Europe to peculiarity of frenetic constructor: the Beaver.

Lurs and Montfuron

Montfuron stands with pride his mill to wind. Become ghost town after the last war despite its reputation of "Balcony on the Durance", Lurs has yet seen a prestigious past. Episcopal stronghold, it was long the favorite residence of the Bishops of Sisteron. Behind the Castle, these prelates have "left" a promenade punctuated by fifteen oratories that led to Notre-Dame - de - life. Rediscovered by a group of friends designers of Giono, Lurs found life, little by little, in the middle of the 1950s. Viewpoint of the Luberon, Dauphin stretches into streets caladees under covered passages and between beautiful facades carved in beautiful limestone from nearby quarries. Hamlet tastefully restored, Opedette dominates a clue dug by the Calavon. Recognized as one of the most beautiful villages of Haute-Provence, Simiane la Rotonde clings on the edge of the plateau d'Albion, above the colorful aromas of lavender fields. Rich in history and in mansions at the diamond gates, Simiane needs its nickname of the Rotunda to the fortress that stands at the top of the pyramid formed by the houses of the village tight one against the other.
Banon... No, this name is not only that of a delicious cheese goat milk raw and bundled up chestnut leaves. Banon, it is above all a magical village clinging to a mountainside of hills, also venerated for their mushrooms. Inhabited since prehistoric times as evidenced by the still visible megaliths, Ganagobie tray is especially popular today for its magnificent Priory founded in the 10th century by the monks of Cluny.


Jean Giono sending on his native city would remain inevitably misunderstood by those who would do that quickly cross the manosquine city. "The treasure of Manosque is its beauty," wrote the Bard of Haute-Provence. Still need to bypass the new town recently hatched, in particular under the economic impact of the Centre's research nuclear de Cadarache! The image of François 1st, need to be avid suitor and go through the heart of Manosque. Then there's indeed the beauties that are still being nicknamed "The chaste", according to a historical anecdote that the father of "The Horseman on the roof" spent his life challenging...
Surrounded by boulevards which have replaced the ramparts, the old town emerges along streets typically Provencal, narrow, lined with large walls that hide beautiful gardens or fresh course... Narrow passages, the androns and covered alleys connect the streets between them. Other-times surrounded by salt warehouses, it is to them that the door Saunerie must its name. High in the 11th century, then rebuilt in the 14th century, this guardian of the city gate Saunerie.The campanile of saint Sauveur is armed with two stunners. Two turrets crowned by beautiful machicolations frame it. Long main artery of the city, the street Grande has kept all the architectural picturesque assigned to it by the time. Giono, child, spent beau-coup from time to 014, Studio of his father cord - deny. The Gothic facade of the Church of the Holy Saviour invites the stroller into a Romanesque nave recoiffée warheads of the 17th century masterpiece of a master blacksmith of Rians, the campanile of the square bell tower stands as an exceptional headdress touted by fans of wrought iron. The church Notre-Dame-de-Romigier is the name of a Black Madonna among the most beautiful and oldest that should be given to admire in France.

Historical relics

A short stories on this Notre-Dame-de-Romigier which tale the etymology of its name. The statue would have been hidden in the 9th century to escape the Saracen Furies. In the following century, weeding one of its fields, a farmer discovered under a Bush of thorns, called "Rumi" in Provençal. In Carrara marble, it is a sarcophagus of the IV and VI centuries which is the altar.
This one of the most beautiful city hall building of Manosque. The Church of the former convent of the Presentation has been decorated by the Armenian painter Jean Carzou whose Manosque houses the fon-dation. On the theme of the Apocalypse, Carzou image, among other things, the four horsemen cursed under the finery of genocide: American Indians, Armenians, Saint-Barthélemy and the concentration camps...
But the painter leaves a message of hope through his woman-tree which invokes the rebirth of the Earth after the disasters caused by the folly of mankind. If Centre Jean Giono, allows to discover the heart of Manosque film of the writer and written work, his home "The Paraís" to enter openness, curiosity and the joyful enthusiasm of toil that inspired it. The Summit of Mont d'Or, among the ruins of a tower, the climber can discover the Valley of the of-rancid and the Luberon, but also sainte-Victoire and Sainte-Baume. And as Giono will realize that the roofs below him fit as "... the plates of armor... "to preserve the modesty of this city!
But, in fact, why Manosque prides itself to be "The chaste"? Due to the amorous mobbing of the more charming of the Kings of France and Virgin black our Lady of Romigier. Navarre, François Premier. Indeed, it would be come discover Manosque during his reign. He was welcomed by the daughter of the consul who, according to usage, - fried the keys to the city on a red velvet cushion. Péronne de Voland was a very mignarde maiden and the King hastened to his court. Belle preferred to deface the vapour of suffers and thus incur the advances of the King...

Gréoux-les-Bains and its surroundings

On the Valensole plateau, cereals and lavandins fields extend to loss of sight, dominated from time to time by black twisted old almond loins, last survivors of a traditional Provençal agriculture now completely gone.
It feels in full-page Giono. No wonder, that is that the novelist of Provence has rooted much of his dramas. Built in a semi-circle around a commandery, on a rocky spur, Gréoux guard hidden his impressive medieval Sentinel. City of waters since antiquity, with its sulphurous at 37 °, its establishment thermal Wren knows a great success which is only echo that he already agreed the Romans. A thermal pool of the 1st century as well as a monument to the nymphs of 176 BC were also discovered on the site. The Commandery of the order of the Temple overlooks the village of its powerful square keep whose stature, tells many centuries after their massacre, the strength of character of these warrior monks who constellèrent Provence of their constructions still surrounds legends of treasures or supernatural practices.

Saint-Martin-de-Brômes, Esparron-de-Verdon

Saint-Martin-de-Brômes does not escape the mysteries with these old Romanesque houses with porches and doors bear goods strange inscriptions. With its pyramidal three bays, the Romanesque church of the 11th made during in a noble Tower Templar from the 14th century which revealed some years ago, a nice secret. It housed a Roman Tomb from the 4th century in which a skeleton provided small coins always lay in his coffin in lead. According to local gossip, Saint-Martin would be also famous for its snails, whose spiral shell symbolizes in many cultures fertility and renewal.
A local figure, the "Grand Pierre" likes to repeat to anyone willing to listen to it: "Eating snails from Saint Martin every morning, is health for eternity". Esparron-de-Verdon, Castellane Castle dominates the artificial lake of its splendid 18th century facade supported by the Dungeon which slots monitor Valley since the 11th century. Fief of the House of Castellane, the castle of Germany-en-Provence experienced dramatic episodes during the wars of Religion. Protestant convinced and undefeated, the Baron of Germany was preparing to celebrate a win when he was shot at a glance musket by a sniper. Rage, his wife had run on his grave twelve Catholic prisoners.
Some time later, their son died in a duel. Attached by their left arm, the two rivals are old blows of daggers. The widow of Alexander of Germany took the veil and went to Marseille to found the monastery of nasturtiums. Situated on the heights, Saint-Jurs is one of the oldest "perched villages" so specific of the Haute-Provence. Lordship of the Hospitaliers of St.-Jean-de-Jerusalem at the century mo, Puimoisson seems suspended in the scent of Lavandula fields which enclose it gently.


On Mont-Saint-Maxime, the chapel trace its de-ambulatory punctuated by six beautiful Corinthian columns. As this short walk, its apse transforms the small Romanesque building in a splendid example of 'recycling' of ancient materials that commonly practiced some builders of the middle ages. The chapel still overlooks the Riez town which was for a long time an important centre of life and commerce on the Valensole plateau. His Merovingian baptistery remains one of the few monuments of this era also well preserved. Bred in the 6th century, it appears as a square without relief. Yet its interior married an octagonal cut four apses that burrow into the walls without leave nothing forthcoming from the outside. Echoing the shape of the building, eight ancient Pro-export granite columns of Corinthian marble surround the basin. Proud and tall, four Roman columns of six metre-high stand in a meadow at the exit of the town. They are the last fervent adorers of Apollo, Sun God at which the Romans had erected a temple in this place, in the 1st century.


Hanging out of the Grand Canyon du Verdon, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie takes its name from a monastery created VO century by monks who lived in caves of limestone breccia which confronts the amazing small hot site of the prestige of its ovens. Indeed, it is especially for those tiles that made the fame of Moustiers.And since the 17th century when a religious Italian from Faenza, would have revealed this famous secret from the baking of the reasons of a clear and light blue enamel. Popular earthenware of Moustiers nearly disappear with the extinction of the last four in 1874. The fire was rekindled by Marcel Provence in 1925. In a medieval crypt dug by the monks of Lérins, a splendid Museum of earthenware presents the masterpieces of this rare school. Place of pilgrimage frequented with fervour from the high middle ages, the chapel Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir dominates the Valley of the Mayor at an altitude of 200 metres. Accessed by 300 markets punctuated with a way of the cross in fourteen stations decorated tiles in Simone Garmier. This Chapel is conspicuous by its baroque altar which still enhances the beauty of the statue of Notre-Dame de Beauvoir and his famous star suspended after a string of 227 meters and weighing more than four hundred kilos. This string was put there at the behest of the Duke Bla - case. Prisoner of the Saracens during the seventh crusade, he swore in fact: "has your feet, Virgin Mary, I will suspend my channel if ever I return to Moustiers in my homeland". Since 1975, date of the commissioning of the dam, the Lake of Sainte-Croix illuminates a beautiful turquoise green cliffs desolate Valensole and Canjuers. The original village of Les Salles-sur-Verdon lies under the waters of the Lake. But the Bell Tower and fountain were saved from disposal to be resettled in the new village. Site perched, Bauduen is now cast on a tip flush with Lake, with its houses with rounded doors flowered hollyhocks which give him old-fashioned charm. Under the blazing sun of Provence, Quinson highlights the "night of time".Indeed, its surroundings are rich in prehistoric remains that allow better habitat, tooling and the customs of our ancestors from before the Gauls who had settled on the small lake.


Door of Grand Canyon du Verdon on the Napoleon road, Castellane replete with an eventful history. Thus, the haughty cited was repeatedly solicited by important characters. In full wars of Religion, the Baron of Germany and Duke of Lesdiguières throw on it their sights! They decide to make it...
But a courageous Castellanaise, Judith Andrau, scalded from the top of the door of the Annunciation the captain who led the assault... Since then, all on 31 January, the "feast of the French" commemorates this heroic rescue. I' Church Saint-Victor presents an interesting example of the transition between the novel and the Gothic at the end of the 12th century. Erected at the instigation of the monks of the Abbaye Saint-Victor de Marseille, it affects by its harmony and its sobriety. From the top of its 903 meters of altitude, Notre-Dame-du-Roc continues to protect Castellane. Many times destroyed and rebuilt, it is a place of pilgrimage venerated since very ancient times, as evidenced by the numerous exvotos adorning the. The Lakes of Castillon and Chaudanne enrich the vicinity of Castellane's two beautiful water bodies.


At the edge of the Vairy Annot pushed into a chaos of sandstone in unexpected forms shaded imposing chestnut, the formerly populated site of the Valley. It represented a milestone on the Roman road that ran from Nice to Digne. The oldest houses are narrow and high while those built in the 19th centuries, often of summer residences of notables of the coastline, take on the appearance of large country houses Piedmont. A bottony cross from the 13th century marks the end of the village, going to Nice of his strange romance silhouette. The Notre-Dame-de-Vers-La-Ville Chapel stands shyly since the 12th century in the middle of a pile of rocks that give the strange sensation to be ruins other much more gigantic buildings.


Medieval, Entrevaux married the rocky outcrop on which it grows and where it dominates the Var. strategic Position, she became strongly interested the troops of Charles Quint. But she stoutly defended his fidelity to Francis I who granted him many favors. At the end of the 17th century, Vauban decided to connect the Citadel, perched on the peak, to the city. Since then, nine stone ramps zigzag on the rock of Entrevaux as a scar whipped by the giant sabre a titanic but clever Swashbuckler. The centre of the town still shows pretty facades typical corbelled of the Renaissance. Its Cathedral is distinguished by the richness of its interior decoration which some flicker of a lively baroque.

Saint-Pancrace - Digne
Bléone Valley - Digne

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