Under the starry skies of the Baronnies Provençales
Captivating and instilled with poetry and mystery, night time is a source of both fascination and fear. Discover one of France’s most beautiful night skies in the capable hands of experts with this extraordinary break courtesy of the Baronnies Provençales Astronomical Observatory, with highlights including auditory, infrared and ultrasonic walks. Reach for the stars!
Saint André de Rosans
Step 1By the light of the silvery moonClose encounters at the Baronnies Provençales Observatory
Slip into the skin of an astronomer at the Baronnies Provençales Observatory, where you will be staying for the entire break. On the programme: a full immersion – you will even be sharing your meals with specialists at the Mas des Grès, a delightful Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional guest house, so you won’t miss a thing! Familiarize yourself with the many astronomical instruments and how they work. With your eyes to guide you, use the telescope to detect light sources and understand the challenges of light pollution. Your journey into knowledge has only just begun… Take part in an observation session under the dome with a technician and astrophysicist who will assist you in your quest to conquer the skies, from the nearest planets to distant galaxies. And above all, enjoy the show! This is one of the best skies in Europe for contemplating the invisible.
Step 2Meeting nocturnal animalsAuditory and infrared walk in Saint André de Rosans
A wonderful night-time auditory foray into the world of nocturnal animals awaits you near the ancient priory of Saint André de Rosans. And you’ll be astonished to learn that our little friends aren’t as discreet as you might think: get ready to meet a chorus of toads, birds of prey and insects! Did you know that nocturnal biodiversity represents 50% of all animal species? With the help of special instruments and night-vision binoculars, maybe you’ll be able to guess who’s out there?
Step 3Discovering flying mammalsA romantic ultrasonic escapade in Rosans
Rulers of the night, bats are the world’s only flying mammals! Enjoy a new angle on these dextrous little nocturnal animals: they get a bad rap but they’re really quite amazing. Using echolocation – a type of sonar – bats know exactly where they are and can capture prey and avoid obstacles. Try your hand at tracking their flight patterns using ultrasound detectors: these fascinating tools allow you to identify various bat species and better understand them. And at nightfall, head out for a walk and candlelit picnic dinner before discovering the village of Rosans and its Tour Carrée tower under the Milky Way… Simply memorable.
Step 4Back to the futurePhotonic phenomena at the Observatory
Back at the Observatory, wind up your nature break with a genuine scientific mission. Plunge into the mysteries of the universe in the control room as you take the helm of the giant telescope. Experience a voyage back in time as you try to detect an exoplanet passing around its star: photonic sensors are your best ally for night hunting and capture what the naked eye simply cannot perceive. Last but not least, you can become a genuine ambassador for our nocturnal heritage by taking part in a fascinating training course on night skies and sources of artificial light pollution.
Step 5It's time to set sail… Let there be light!
The night is behind you and it’s time for breakfast. Take a moment to process what you’ve seen and learnt so you can make the most of the Observatory experience-sharing session. This round-up is the perfect opportunity to reflect on your nocturnal adventures and delve into the challenges represented by evolving environments and sensitive ecosystems. Nocturnal life is both intriguing and inspiring, so grab this unique opportunity to absorb all you can! One thing is sure: after your stay in the Baronnies Provençales Regional Nature Reserve, you’ll never see the sky in quite the same way again.