The department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence benefits from an exceptional amount of sunshine all year throughout the year. You will discover an exceptional built and cultural heritage. The department is a tourist destination with preserved nature and sublime sites just waiting to be discovered: the Verdon Natural Regional Park and Verdon Gorge, Ubaye Valley, alpine mountains, Valensole plateau, Val d’Allos and Allos Lake, and Lake of Sainte-Croix in Verdon. It is the ideal destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts. You will be able to visit tourist villages with typical charm that have preserved a rich heritage bearing witness to their history, such as the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, the towns of Digne-les-Bains and Castellane.
In the markets and in the restaurants, you will be able to familiarize yourself with local products. Olive oil and Herbes de Provence are renowned throughout France. Lavender honey with its creamy texture and typical, delicate taste is a must during your stay in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
Forcalquier has a beautiful historic heritage. Follow the path going up to the citadel to admire a 360° panorama of the town and part of Pays de Forcalquier. Roofs of the city, the Luberon, peaks of the Alps or the Durance Valley, your gaze will be able to embrace the whole region from this historic district. The ancient fortifications still bear witness to the presence of the Castle of the Counts of Forcalquier, which dominated the town.
The Cordeliers Convent, which today houses the European University of Scents and Flavors, organizes sensory workshops during which you will discover the uses and benefits of plants. This monument was built in the 12th century by the Franciscans. During the year, various events, such as concerts and shows, bring the cloister gardens to life.
The city hosts one of the largest markets of the region. On Monday mornings, you can find stalls in the streets and the vendors with a singing accent invite you to taste local products: Banon cheese, jam, olive oil from Haute-Provence, etc.
Among the unusual attractions, discover the cinema which occupies the chapel of a former convent.
In the heart of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Barcelonnette clings to its history and offers multiple points of interest. The Cardinalis tower dominates Place Manuel. Built in the 14th century, this bell tower is considered one of the most beautiful in the region and has been listed as a historical monument. From the four corners of the tower, the gargoyles seem to watch over the city.
Stroll through the pedestrian streets of Barcelonnette’s historic center, among the houses with their colorful facades. Let yourself be surprised by the Mexican villas built in the Avenue de la Libération. Listed as historical monuments, they were built by locals who made their fortune in Mexico through textiles or commerce. Each one of them has a unique charm: flamboyant color, original architecture, disproportionate size, and so on. To find out more about these exceptional houses, visit La Sapinière’s villa, which houses the Valley Museum.
Barcelonnette is strong of its traditions and puts the spotlights on them during various events. During the month of August, you will attend Latin-Mexican parties, during which concerts, parades and mariachis take place.
Sheltered at the foot of the hills between the natural parks of the Verdon and the Luberon, Manosque is a must see, leading to charming villages. In this thousand-year-old city, carefully restored, you will discover, alone or with a guide, wash houses and fountains in the pretty little squares. Cross the Porte Saunerie, stroll through the peaceful cobbled streets until you reach the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame-de-Romigier. This monument was once the soul of the city, it served as a place of worship and the affairs of the city were dealt with on its square.
The writer Jean Giono grew up here. In the rue Grande, you can’t miss the house where he was born. All his life, he dedicated his work to Provence and to this beautiful city. Manosque has managed to preserve the authentic charm that inspired Jean Giono over the years. Different tours allow you to follow in the footsteps of Angelo Pardi, the hero of the novel “The Horseman on the Roof” written by the Manosque author.
From the top of the Mont d’Or, you will enjoy a remarkable view of the whole city and the majestic nature that surrounds it.
The citadel overlooking the town of Sisteron is a real treasure of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Perched on a rocky spur, this strategic place was an obligatory passage between Provence and the Dauphiné. Stroll along the parapet walk, dating from the 12th century, and discover the ramparts of the citadel. The dungeon and the bastions bear witness to more than eight centuries of architecture and history.
An incredible staircase leads up to the citadel of Sisteron, which overlooks the Durance river valley. Your efforts will be rewarded with a 360° view. Thanks to the orientation table and the telescope, you will be able to visualize in more detail the 150 kilometers around. During the Nuits de la Citadelle Festival, great names in theater, dance and music follow one another in a green setting.
Sisteron has a magnificent built heritage. Strolling through the narrow streets, you will discover small squares, rocked by the lapping of the fountains. The Romanesque church Notre-Dame-des-Pommiers is one of the largest religious buildings in Provence. Its three naves and its frescoes make it a majestic place that has been preserved over the years.
Staying in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
Numerous hotels, campsites, bed and breakfasts, country cottages and seasonal rentals await you in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department, in the Durance Valley, in the Verdon Gorge and in the Ubaye Valley. Various activities, historical monuments, museums, authentic villages and remarkable natural areas await you. To prepare your stay, you can contact the local Tourist Offices: each commune has its own Tourist Office which will inform you about visits and leisure activities in each town or village.