Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur national parks and reserves: reach for the stars

The pure, twinkling and uncluttered skies of our natural area are an invitation to starry-eyed contemplation. Make the most of our beautiful stargazing hotspots: the region’s observatories, hilltop villages and mountain walks promise an evening to remember and quasi-mystical ascension into other realms…

Starry revelations

Delve into the wonders of the universe

First stop: the Observatoire des Baronnies Provençales observatory at Mas des Grès, a Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional site in one of Europe’s best-preserved regions from light pollution. Enjoy stargazing on the terrace of the estate and discovering the latest astronomical and digital prowess – a real treat for seasoned astronomers and young explorers alike. Next, we’re off to the sunny Luberon and the Saint-Michel l’Observatoire Astronomy Centre, where you can spend an evening or weekend enjoying talks and activities on the astronomy theme before heading out for a night walk in the company of cutting-edge stargazing instruments. Last but not least, in the Ventoux, the Observatoire de Vaison-la-Romaine is headed up by a passionate team and hosts courses on astronomy and how to recognize the constellations. The cherry on the cake? Try your hand at photographing the galaxy before settling down for a starry-eyed evening with your fellow sky watchers…

Infinite celestial spheres

Stargazing hotspots in the skies

Europe’s highest town, Saint-Véran in the Queyras Regional Nature Reserve has its own Observatory perched at an altitude of 3,000 metres. You can revel in one of the world’s most beautiful stargazing experiences here in July and August, or during the Discovery Nights in winter. Prolong the pleasure with the Maison du Soleil, a Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional site and mini science museum offering dizzy, 360° night-time experiences. The Villages Étoilés (dark skies villages) of the Haute-Provence UNESCO Geopark are also perfect places for pondering the planets. From Sigoyer to Mirabeau, their unique night skies are even said to have inspired famous astronomer Pierre Gassendi as a child. Located in the Préalpes-d’Azur Regional Nature Reserve, the Côte d’Azur Observatory at the Calern site in Caussols has been a benchmark since the Seventies and is a major player in current research on the universe. It is also part of the Alpes Azur Mercantour International Dark Sky Reserve, recently inaugurated by the reserve in conjunction with the Alpes d’Azur metropolitan council.

Guided by your astrology chart

Bivouacking under the stars and night walks

The Plateau d’Emparis itinerary invites you to spend 3 days out in the beautiful countryside of Écrins National Park. Enjoy a foray into unique landscapes set facing the glaciers of La Meije and La Girose and delve into a world of mountain pastures and traditions before settling down for a moonlit night outdoors… Still in the mountains, the Allos night trail in Mercantour National Park is a proud holder of the Esprit Parc National and International Dark Sky labels. Follow in the footsteps of Marc Aynie to discover the main constellations and learn about various chapters in the history of astronomy. Wind up your stroll under starry skies in the Verdon, at the Mont Chiran Observatory perched at a dizzy height of 1,905 metres. Open from May to September, the observatory welcomes hikers and curiosity-seekers come to recharge their batteries in a cosmic atmosphere to the sound of music. Simply magical…