Haute-Provence UNESCO Geopark

Enjoy an astonishing voyage back in time at the Haute-Provence UNESCO Geopark. Follow in the footsteps of mankind and history amid stunning, boundless scenery.

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Geological gems

The Haute-Provence UNESCO Geopark is a world-renowned paradise for geologists. This geological reserve spans 568,300 acres of land modelled by millions of years of evolution. A magnificent testimonial to bygone days, the Geopark was the first geological reserve of its kind to be awarded the UNESCO label in 2000. Here, the greatest masterpieces are made of stone and span the park’s 60 towns, including its headquarters at Digne-les-Bains where you can visit the famous Dalle aux Ammonites: this 320m2 stone slab features over 1,550 ammonites, some of which measure nearly 70 cm in diameter. In Robine-sur-Galabre, the half-fish-half-lizard fossil of an ichthyosaurus – a reptile resembling a dolphin – lies embedded in the rock. Last but not least, take the easy-going Vallée des Siréniens walk to discover a fascinating series of manatee skeletons.  

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A dual character

A half-Alpine, half-Mediterranean identity

With one eye gazing over the sea and the other over the mountain peaks, the Haute-Provence Geopark’s Alpine and Mediterranean-influenced climates, fauna and flora live harmoniously hand in hand. During your travels, you will come across aromatic plants redolent with the scents of Provence, together with mountainous Spanish juniper with its gentle aromas of incense. Cliffs of vertical strata and narrow gorges carved into limestone offer a striking contrast with the pure horizontality of azure lakes and vast expanses of olive trees. And when night falls, another show begins as the skies of the area’s Villages étoilés (Starry Villages), rewarded for their efforts to reduce light pollution and hence preserve biodiversity, begin to sparkle before you.

In the footsteps of evolution

Guided by the marvels of the UNESCO Geopark

Much more than a simple hike, the Geopark relates 300 million years of history and major geological events. It shows how mankind has nurtured this land over the ages, while offering a plunge into both Provencal and Alpine lifestyles. The Geopark is also firmly anchored in the current day and hosts numerous contemporary art exhibitions including the world’s largest collection of works by Land Art celebrity Andy Goldsworthy. Keep an eye out for the art refuges: these ancient buildings harbour various constructions by the artist.