Themed Discovery Routes to explore and disover the area
The Haute-Provence UNESCO Global Geopark invites you to explore the 1,989km2 of its unique territory through 5 #51Themed Routes to discover an area incorporating the embematic and renowed sites, landmarks and places of Haute-Provence, while always in the heart of magnificant landscapes. Take our complimentary Discovery Map with you and explore the vast territory at your own pace, according to your various interests.
Each of these Themed Discovery Routes, offering its own unique character and personality can be done in a single day, driving (not counting for the trail-walks), starting from Digne-les-Bains or Sisteron. They will allow you to discover the contrasting areas that make up the UNESCO Geopark through more than 130 sites that have been developed according to the remarkable heritage of its territory. Along these Themed Discovery Routes, you will also be able to meet the locals and partners of the UNESCO Geopark. Whether they are people in local restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, as well as local crafts-artisans or producers, they are proud of their land and their passion.
Each Themed Discovery Route also offers a series of short walks (from 30 minutes to a maximum of 3 hours) that will allow you to better immerse yourself in the natural environment while giving you "the keys" to access the "secret" sites and landscapes that are characteristic of this land of flavours, scents and colours, rich and diverse from a long human presence that has slowly shaped it.
Themed Discovery Route - Artistic Imprints & Tracks in the Earth's Memory
This route enables you to explore the northern part of the UNESCO Geopark through the heart of its territory and the landscapes that have been part of the memory of the Earth for 300 million years. Follow the route to discover contemporary land-artwork installations created by internationally renowned artists such as Andy Goldsworthy. This itinerary passes through the narrow and winding Barles gorges, a majestic rock formation carved out by the river Bès.
Themed Discovery Route - Mountains & Humans
This is the most "physically-demanding" Themed Discovery Route in the UNESCO Geopark, which ends at the bottom of the valley in the picturesque village of Prads. It highlights the special relationship between mountains and the people and the communities who live in the mountains, with a visit to the Ecomuseum (Heritage & Culture Museum) at La Javie. Thanks to the energy and efforts of the local people, in addition to donating old, traditional everyday-objects, the Ecomuseum at La Javie presents and reveals through countless old artefacts, the life of the local villages of the past. For those who like to walk in the mountains, many short walks are possible (max 3.5 hours) to reach little known sites but which convey the magic of this territory.
Themed Discovery Route : Pebbles, Flavours & Lavender
In the south of the UNESCO Geopark, the soil, made up of pebbles over 2 million years old, is the origin of this unique landscape. Cross vast open expanses of lavender fields, pass through olive groves to arrive at Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, one of the most beautiful villages in France.
Themed Discovery Route - Stories, Words & Stones
On the Themed Discovery Route called Stories, Words & Stones enter a land of "talking rocks" (rocks telling tales in English and French). Starting from Sisteron and its stunning citadel, take small roads and let yourself drift from village to village. From the impressive Church of Notre-Dame de Bethlehem (Our Lady of Bethlehem) to the winding cutbacks (or hairpin bends) at Astoin, on to discover the astonishing site of a major landslide that took place in 2016 at Piche.
Themed Discovery Route - Time
The Themed Discovery Route called Time invites you on a journey where the time of Humans meets the time of the Earth. From the gorge cut into the rock by the Durance river at Sisteron, the route climbs to Saint-Geniez, a landscape suspended between heaven and earth, with its Pierre Ecrite (a rock engraving) dating from the 5th century, and its mysterious Dromon Chapel. Once past the cool shade of Fontbelle, the road winds its way through the green valleys towards the perched village of Thoard to reach the sunny hills of the Asse landscape. The secret, strange and even mysterious sites on this route make it an ideal "introductory route".