The Treasures of the Promenade Museum
The Maison des Remparts (The House on the Ramparts) and its Exhibition Rooms.
Fossils from our Region!
It is a representation of the last 300 million years of history of our region through several hundred fossils. The complete life-size casting of an ichthyosaur skeleton and its 3D reconstruction reminds us of the presence of predators and the intense life that existed in the seas of the Secondary Era (or the Mesozoic Era).
Discover a unique regional collection of unwound ammonites that lived in the seas of our region during the Cretaceous period between 135 and 94 million years ago. The painter Georges Autard has designed a unique artistic interpretation combining his creations with exceptional palaeontological pieces.
The collection of ammonites is made available to the Promenade Museum by its owner, the Alpes de Haute-Provence County Council.
Aquariums - Oceanic Memories
Twelve Mediterranean and Tropical aquariums present a rich marine fauna where corals and sea-sponges rub shoulders with nautilus, horseshoe-crabs and a whole host of tropical fish in a spectacle of colours. Nearby, associated fossils of marine animals evoke the memory of the oceans while enabling the reconstruction of past environments. The nautilus represents the marine cephalopods, the present-day cousin of ammonites that disappeared over 65 million years ago. Ammonites and nautilus fossils can be found all over the region, in particular on the huge Ammonite Fossil Rock-Slab, the emblematic site of the Haute-Provence UNESCO Global Geopark.
Territoire de transhumance.
L'UNESCO Géoparc de Haute-Provence, territoire de transition entre les Alpes et la Provence, est naturellement un espace privilégié (attesté depuis le Moyen-Âge) pour le passage des troupeaux en quête de verts pâturages. Qu'il s'agisse de transhumance locale ou régionale, ce lien ente la plaine et la montagne, vital pour l'économie, le tourisme et la biodiversité est en pleine mutation. La reconnaissance par l'UNESCO de la transhumance comme patrimoine immatériel de l'Humanité jouera un rôle important dans cette transformation.
Embark on a journey of discovery through time, in the Cosmonite Spaceship
The Cosmonites, imaginary cousins of the Ammonites, invite you to travel back in time. In their Space-Time Ship, they tell you how humans have interpreted ammonites through the ages, according to the evolution of science: ammonites are the emblematic fossils of the Haute-Provence UNESCO Global Geopark.
To discover and learn even more about natural hazards, there are three sites to visit in the Haute-Provence UNESCO Global Geopark that illustrate the effects of natural phenomena:
the spectacular landslide at Villard-des-Dourbes, the chaos of the Piche landslide at Faucon-du-Caire and the torrential force of the Boulette torrent at Barles.
Worldwide UNESCO Geoparks
Discover the 140 UNESCO Global Geoparks spread over the five continents, including 7 in France!
The park, its paths, gardens and contemporary artworks.
The Butterfly Garden
Thanks to the natural waters of the Saint-Benoît spring and a specific environment, in a climate that is both Mediterranean and mountainous, the park of the Promenade Museum is a mecca for biodiversity. To create an oasis adapted to the feeding and reproduction of Lepidoptera, the plants in the Butterfly Garden have been carefully selected. From April to September, more than a hundred species of native butterflies can be observed in the wild. Come and discover these pollinating insects which are essentiel to our ecosystem, yet greatly endangered.
The Papillons de Ciné Exhibition, (an Exhibition of "Star" Butterflies) created in partnership with the Digne-les-Bains Cinematograpy Club highlights eight local species whose characteristics make them real stars. Posters of films depicting butterflies and moths complete the exhibition. Enrich your movie culture while learning more about the different species that fly in our gardens.
The Kamaishi Japanese Garden
This garden was created in honour of the town of Kamaishi in Japan, twinned with Digne-les-Bains since 1994. The Japanese had a cast made of the famous Ammonite Fossil Rock-Slab that they had installed in the town of Kamaishi. The Kamaishi Japanese Garden symbolises the Journey of Life. To understand its full meaning, it must be explored from the bottom up. Along the way, the flowers and plants are spread out in time and space, so that each season corresponds to the various stages of life. When you cross the bridge, you crossover into the spirit world.
The Outdoor Art Collection
Each pathway is dotted with works of art created by internationally renowned artists who came at the invitation of CAIRN Art Centre: Andy Goldsworthy, Joan Fontcuberta, Paul-Armand Gette, Catherine Marcogliese, Sylvie Bussières. Most of them were produced during artistic residencies. These installations will offer you an original perspective to discovering the park.
The CAIRN Art Centre
The CAIRN Art Centre is a creative centre linking us to the specificities of the territory. An extension of the contemporary art collections of the Gassendi Museum, its exhibition space offers works produced by artists in residence at the Promenade Museum.
Every year from April to November, there are three consecutive exhibitions. Information & Latest News at the CAIRN Art Centre: Link to the CAIRN Art Centre website
The Carins Walking-Trail
Andy Goldsworthy created this trail in 1998. The British artist is one of the leading figures of Land-Art: a movement in which artists use nature and landscapes to create a sometimes ephemeral, impermanent works of art from materials collected in nature.
The Cairns Trail takes its name from the five "water-cairns". From top to bottom, the first one is dry; in the next three, you can hear the water without seeing it, and finally, water gushes openly out of the last cairn and into the natural environment.
The water circulates inside the sculptures, acting as a poetic metaphor for the Saint-Benoît natural water-spring, which is initially underground, invisible and then gushing openingly.
- Walking time: Approximately 15 minutes.
- Level of Difficulty: Medium, numerous areas with steps.
- Incline / Change in Altitude: 60 metres.
The Water Walking-Trail
Following the water's edge and winding along under the trees, this refreshing walking-path offers a variety of atmospheres. It is dotted with artistic installations and invites you to a meditative discovery of the area. It gets you as close as possible to the Grande Cascade / the Great Waterfall.
- Walking time: Approximately 25 minutes.
- Level of Difficulty: Medium, numerous areas with steps, progressive ascent/descent
- Incline / Change in Altitude: 60 metres
The Ramparts Walking-Trail
This path climbs the ancient, 13th century ramparts. It allows you to observe the traces of tuffa-rock mining and offers a clear view of the mountainous setting of the town of Digne-les-Bains and the Bléone Valley. You can stop off at the heart of the Grande Cascade/ the Great Waterfall, under which lies a Hydropithecus. The Hydropithecus is a mermaid created by the Catalan artist Joan Fontcuberta.
- Walking time: Approximately 5 minutes
- Level of Difficulty: Medium, some steps
- Incline / Change in Altitude: 20 metres
The Grande Cascade / The Great Waterfall
It took several hundred years for the mass of tuffa-rock to develop, which forms the "body" of the Grande Cascade/ the Great Waterfall. In order to live in this place, humans managed to tap and avail of the Saint-Benoît natural water-spring and directed the flow of water to a point. Subsequently, the limestone was then deposited, thus accumulating the tuff-rock. Every year, we can see the advancement of the tuff-rock on the road!
The Saint-Benoît Water-Spring
The wooded park of the Promenade Museum is criss-crossed by streams and waterfalls from the Saint-Benoît natural water-spring. This natural water-spring flows continuously in summer and winter. It releases an average of thirteen litres of water per second, i.e. over 400 million litres of water per year. Its temperature, which fluctuates between 11°C and 13°C, provides a much appreciated coolness in summer. The quality of the spring's natural water combined with regular Health & Safety monitoring enables it to supply drinking water to the Promenade Museum. The spring's water supplies an area covering serveral square kilometres to the northwest of the Promenade Museum's estate. The water emerges through a crack, deep from the earth.
Tuff / Travertine Rock Formation
Rainwater loaded with atmospheric carbon-dioxide (CO2) infiltrates the soil where it draws on the carbon-dioxide produced by the biological activity of plants and bacteria. This process means the water acidifies and gradually dissolves the limestone in the rocks through which it slowly flows. After almost two years of travelling underground, the water finally finds the open air around the Saint-Benoît natural water-spring . The CO2 is released partially and gradually. The limestone is then deposited around the plants. Through their photosynthesis activity, they accentuate the phenomenon by absorbing the CO2 from the water. This is how the mosses in the waterfall become "coated" with limestone, die and give rise to the limestone rock known as tuff rock or travertine rock. The colonisation of new mosses is immediate: the waterfall is built in this way and has grown continuously for several hundred years. The tuff deposited at Saint-Benoît was used in the past as a local building material to build the ramparts and for the bell tower of the Saint-Jérôme Cathedral in Digne.
You may not know it yet, but there are dinosaurs still alive today in Digne-les-Bains and in many other parts of the world. We see them almost every day and pay no attention to them. Who are they exactly?