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Sisteron

An Abundance of History and Culture

An absolute must-see, the Provence town of Sisteron is nestled where the Alps meet Provence. Between its picturesque old town, its citadel looking down on the Durance and its Festival des Nuits de la Citadelle, Sisteron offers exceptional beauty, rich emotions, and a dive into history.

Sisteron: An Impressive Painting

Your first glimpse of Sisteron is bount to be an immutable snapshot engraved in your memory.. Perched at a height of 485 metres, the old town and its citadelle overlook the azure waters of the Durance​​​ and look down on the imposing Rocher de la Sainte-Baume, stoic on the other side of the river. On the border of the Alps ​​​​​​and Provence, Sisteron has inherited the southern sun. A brilliant light spills over the clay roofs of the old town all year, freezing the setting into a colorful impressionist painting, like those of Paul Signac. Stroll through the maze of little streets punctuated by Romanesque facades, sculpted doors, stairs and « andrônes, » the typically Provençal covered passages. Admire the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-des-Pommiers, its surrounding towers, remains of the historic ramparts, and, especially, the magnificent wrought-iron spirals on top of the clock tower.

Journey Through History

As you wander you will experience the intensity of Sisteron’s past. A strategic location, nestled in a narrow valley, the village was used as a defensive position since Antiquity. The Romans included it,on the route of the Via Domitia that connects Italy to Spain, as testified by the remains on display at the Musée Gallo-Roman.  In the 11th century,  the tactical potential of Sisteron was also recognised by the Counts of Forcalquier. Go back in time when you step into the Citadelle de Sisteron, a registered historic monument. When you arrive at the top, roam the terraced stairs, the circular path and the dungeon, each from different eras for a most eclectic architecture. The climax of this journey through history is a bird’s eye view of the old town, the Rocher de la Baume and the Vallée de la Durance.

The most beautiful villages in the Alps

Culture and Pleasures of the Palace

Going through Sisteron will also take you by surprise, as you dive into its cultural broth and epicurean flavours. Every year, between the middle of July and the middle of August, the Festival des Nuits de la Citadelle hosts enchanting evenings under the stars where music, theatre and dance resound within the age-old walls. To enjoy the homegrown pleasures to the fullest, savour the tender, exquisite meat of Sisteron lamb, a local specialty protected by an IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée). Swing by the Musée Terre et Temps (Earth and Time Museum) too, to see fabulous clocks, pendulum clocks and sundials. But don’t pay attention to the time that they show: Sisteron is a bubble where time stands still.