Typically Provencal in the south and specifically Alpine in the north, the meeting of the Mediterranean climate with the Alpine mountain climate has encouraged an astonishing biodiversity to flourish in the UNESCO Geopark territory. Flora and fauna have gradually conquered these lands, which has been preserved from urban and industrial pollution.
Such wildlife, omnipresent and generous, create a landscape of shapes and colours that is both soothing and rejuvenating for those who linger a while to notice. Here, one never tires of these seasonally changing landscapes. Fill your lungs with this pure and invigorating air. A moment of simple tranquillity, free of all constraints.
Rare And Protected Species
In Digne-les-Bains, in the heart of the Geopark, more than 130 species of butterflies have been identified. You may be lucky enough to come across the Spanish Festoon butterfly or the #17Spanish Moon butterfly, rare species that are found in the#18Butterfly Garden of the Promenade Museum. Some high altitude grasslands are home to the Meadow Viper : an endangered species, which is currently a protected species under a National Protection Plan. The protected Meadow Viper is one of the ten species of snakes discreetly present in the Geopark, which, incredibly, is ten of the twelve species of snakes in the whole of France.
A Fragrant And Surprising Flora
On the limestone cliffs, look out for a survivor of the last ice-age, the #19Thuriferous Juniper tree. The surrounding paths are also scented with #20thyme, rosemary, savoury, sage and lavender. Along the way, you can find many refreshing streams which are home to a particularly well-developed aquatic fauna. Not forgetting the #21tuff-stone waterfall at the Promenade Museum, which has given rise to a whole new world of plants.
Look Up To The Sky!
Higher up, in the sky, the Griffon Vultures observe us, flying attentively and purposely over the mountainous areas, cleaning up carrion. At nightfall, a limitless space opens up to you : a celestial vaulted gallery. Several Municipalities in the UNESCO Geopark have been awarded the title of "Villages Etoilés" (exceptional sites for star-gazing), such as #22Sigoyer, Mirabeau and Estoublon. The observation of the night sky is a real wonder for both young and old. There is perhaps a good reason why Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655), a famous mathematician, philosopher and theologian, also became an astronomer. Indeed, legend has it that Pierre Gassendi, guarding his parents' flocks at night on the heights of the village of #23Champtercier, became fascinated by the extraordinary spectacle of stars on display in the Provence night-time sky.