Abbaye de Valsainte Simiane-la-Rotonde © MirAbbaye de Valsainte Simiane-la-Rotonde © Mir

Parks and gardens

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The gardens of the Alpes de Haute Provence are a scent museum and they offer an infinite variety of plants. Whether small or big, they are all worth a visit. Pleas for discovery and learning, dreaming and relaxation, they are good for programmed visits or restful walks.

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The Jardins de Salagon in Mane

An open-air manual and an aesthetic creation.

Installed on the site of a former Gallo-Roman farm, the Priory of Salagon houses the Conservatoire Éthnobotanique de Haute-Provence.

Memory reserves and the kingdom of fragrances, the 4 gardens – the Medieval garden, the Simples and Village Plants Garden, the Garden of Fragrances and lastly the Garden of Modern Times – all help you to rediscover the forgotten know-how of the aromatic properties of herbs.

Created in 1986, they were designed by the ethnobotanist and author Pierre Lieutaghi, who is also the scientific consultant. They offer access to the diversity of plant life in a Mediterranean and mountain climate.

From the plants which grow in rubble to historical gardens, they bear witness to the multiple connections between plants and our society and are designed in close complementarity with the other items of the visit.

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Parks and gardens Salagon musée et jardins ©C. Brau

The Abbaye de Valsaintes in Simiane-la-Rotonde

A flamboyant blend of mineral and plants. On a thousand-year old historic and cultural site, the Abbaye de Valsaintes, a Cistercian abbey in Provence, rebuilt during the 17th century, is surrounded by the beauty of a splendid rose-garden.

The garden has become a “natural sanctuary” in which hundreds of roses, shrubs, perennial, aromatic and wild plants thrive, in cohabitation with a multitude of species of insects, birds and small animals to create a harmonious plant world.

From terrace to terrace, you can discover floral areas filled with around a hundred roses associated with spontaneous or introduced plants. There is also a protected “wild” area which is a collection of plants which thrive in dry soils without watering and in the respect of natural cycles and local biodiversity.

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Abbaye de Valsainte Simiane-la-Rotonde © Mir

La Thomassine in Manosque

A Biodiversity house in a quest for forgotten flavours. La Thomassine, with is four-hectare orchard and its 5,000 m2 vegetable garden, is a living museum of forgotten plants.

A repository orchard with twelve thousand trees, including two hundred and ninety old fruit varieties, a vegetable garden with dozens of varieties of vegetables that have all but disappeared, la Thomassine is a place where you can see what wild and cultivated biodiversity is all about.

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Le sentier des papillons in Digne-les-Bains (butterfly trail)

The only one of its kind in France. The Alpes de Haute-Provence is the first region in Europe for the diversity of its species: over two thousand five hundred, heterocera (moths) included. Two hundred diurnal species out of the two hundred and sixty on French mainland territory.

A garden entirely devoted to butterflies which allows visitors to observe around a hundred species – over half the species listed in France – flying around freely, in ideal conditions.

From April to September, visitors can discover the fascinating interdependent world of plants and butterflies.

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The Parc Saint-Benoît at the Musée Promenade in Digne-les-Bains

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

Internationally famous artists such as Goldsworthy, Joan Fontcuberta, Sylvie Bussières and Agathe Larpent have found their inspiration here.

An area of creation to walk in, overlooking Digne from its tufa rocky outcrop, it welcomes visitors and plunges them into a discreet world which leads them gently towards the memory of Earth on different themed footpaths: the Garden of Kamaïshi, the Water Path, the Cairns Path, the Butterfly Path and the Ramparts Path.

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The Cordeliers botanical garden in Digne-les-Bains

Located in the middle of the town, the Jardin des Cordeliers brings together in four themed parcels the aromatic and medicinal plants of our region, a garden of ancient vegetables with a little labyrinth and a sensory garden.

The colours and scents of this peaceful and familiar place add to the poetic surroundings: a charming garden which is ideal for wandering around.

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The parc du château in Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban

The Parc du Château in Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban in the Val de Durance has always been a recreational area, and its vocation was confirmed from the 18th century by the introduction of exotic plant species. The walk to the Ferme de Font Robert in cool shade takes visitors back to eras where the value of time was very different from today.

The “Jardin des Alpes” project has made it possible to restructure and embellish the park and offer visitors the opportunity to discover a variety of little-known themes on six explanatory panels.

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The listed cemetery in Forcalquier

Ranked 2nd in Europe, this cemetery is remarkable for the particular shaping of its big yew trees which make it look like a big park. They are pruned into arches and each one and each “gate” cut into the foliage leads to a tomb.

This abundance of nature gives the impression of a real labyrinth. These groups of trees are the largest surface area of yew trees in France.

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The park of the Couvent des Cordeliers in Forcalquier

In the centre of Forcalquier, the Couvent des Cordeliers which is now dedicated to the University of Flavours and Scents, opens to the public a tree-filled park made up of beds of perfume, aromatic and medicinal plants.

Collections of perfume plants (peonies and lilies), rosa centifolia and damaska, forgotten varieties of fruit trees, fragrant trees and shrubs fill the park of the convent.

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