UNESCO Geoparc of Haute-Provence

UNESCO Geoparc of Haute-Provence

A transition between the Alps and Provence, the UNESCO Geoparc of Haute-Provence, which is the biggest in Europe, is characterized by a diversity of exceptional landscapes where the time of man and the time of earth can be seen side by side on a surface of 2300 km2 and 59 communes.

The UNESCO Geoparc of Haute-Provence can be visited like an open-air museum thanks to its territory equipped with means for learning how to read the Earth.

Marked discovery circuits accessible to all are proposed from the museographic clusters of Castellane, Sisteron and Digne-les-Bains.
Discovering the UNESCO Geoparc of Haute-Provence is a real trip through time.

A unique place: Le Musée-Promenade (Museum-Walk)

The Musée-Promenade is a unique place made up of a big shady park with paths and streams, waterfalls and works of art.

La route du Temps (The Road through Time)

The Geoparc of Haute-Provence has developed fourteen walking itineraries to help you discover the countries of the route du temps.

Art and Science on the territory of the Geoparc of Haute-Provence

On the territory of Geoparc of Haute-Provence, artists such as herman de vries, Reno Salvail, Joan Fontcuberta and Andy Goldsworthy have created works of art.
These works can be seen by the general public.

Andy Goldsworthy’s Les Refuges d’art in Haute-Provence

A singular experience by Andy Goldsworthy, an internationally famous artist, who has dreamed up a project which combines contemporary art and the safeguarding of the rural heritage on the protected territory of the geology reserve of Haute-Provence, around Digne-les-Bains.

Musée de Castellane – Maison Nature et Patrimoines (Castellane Museum-Nature and Heritage House)

In Castellane, the Musée Sirènes et fossiles and the vallée des sirènes fossiles invite you to discover the secret world of mermaids and the no less strange universe of the Sirenians.

Geological curiosities

Annot Geological curiositiesReal natural monuments, the listed sites of the Alpes de Haute-Provence amaze by their magnificence or attract by their intimate side.

In the Gorges du Verdon, in the Grand Canyon, limestone cliffs 300 m high overlook the emerald-green torrent.

In Annot, enormous blocks of limestone make up a titanic landscape surrounded by several hundreds of year old chestnut trees.

The « Pénitents » of les Mées, a gigantic block of eroded pudding-stone look down over the Durance valley.

Near Colmars-les-Alpes, the Lance waterfall sings its lovely song all year round.

In the Ubaye, the Lac du Lauzet looks like a romantic painting and the cypresses of Saint-Michel-l’Observatoire conjure up the landscapes of ancient Greece.

Les Mourres in Forcalquier

The plateau des Mourres is covered with strange limestone concretions which sometimes look like faces, and which is where they got their name « Mourres » which means faces in Provencal.
The site of Les Mourres stretches north from Forcalquier. The soil is made up of sedimentary rocks several metres deep, limestone rich sandy loam. Over the centuries, the rain and the wind have washed away the soil, taking grain after grain the most friable part of these loams. The hardest limestone parts have resisted this erosion better, so that they crown and protect the more tender portions. With time, the lower parts disappear, and all that is left is the upper rock lying directly on the ground.

Les rochers des Pénitents in Les Mées

The village of Les Mées owes its fame to the narrow rocks towering 100 metres above it. They are known as the Pénitents des Mées because of their silhouette; according to legend, they represent the monks of the Montagne de Lure who were petrified (literally !) by Saint Donat at the time of the Sarrasin invasions because they had been become enamoured with beautiful Moorish women that a lord had brought back from a crusade. It is true that the rocks look like a procession of monks with pointed hoods who look ashamed of their desires if you know the legend…

Le panorama du vélodrome d’Esclangon the pays dignois

Le Vélodrome of the geoparc of Haute-Provence is a world-famous fold which covers two-thirds of a velodrome. Its spectacular geometry attracts many curious visitors every year. The panorama is developed on the little peak (1151 m) which overlooks the village of vieil Esclangon.

UNESCO Geoparc of Haute-Provence