Manosque Travel Guide, Alpes de Haute Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France

Manosque is a French commune, located in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. The inhabitants of Manosque are called the Manosquins. Manosque is the most populous city in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

“It is a landscape à la Poussin or à la Hubert Robert: bouquets of oak trees, olive groves, moors covered with thyme, rocks, sometimes a little emphatic but the color of ash, lakes of lavender, on the eastern horizon the Alps “in glory”, to the south Sainte-Victoire and Sainte-Baume, and behind these two Saintes, the reflections of the sea whiten the sky. The country is high perched. It is a plateau which bears tender hills. As soon as you see it, when you have a taste for silence and peace, you know that here you will find your rest.” Jean Giono

The Manosquin country is made up of 13 picturesque and authentic villages, all varied, but nevertheless emblematic, together, of the Provence of Giono. Throughout his pages, the writer described the landscapes that made up his environment, he made them travel according to his ideas, sometimes embellished them, but above all he loved them very much. And, traveling through Manosquin country, one can only understand why. Often perched on a hillside or on a rock, small towns and villages follow each other, but are not alike. The bell towers tell the medieval, Roman or sometimes even prehistoric history of the place, the cobbled alleys let imagine the life of yesteryear, and the welcoming shops give a glimpse of the good life in Provence.

Between the Verdon and Luberon Natural Park, between the lavender fields of the Valensole Plateau and the river Durance, between vines and tulip fields, these towns, which have become large, invite you to stroll as well as to stroll. Here the sun shines more than 300 days a year, and from pétanque grounds to café terraces, shaded by chestnut trees or lime trees, it is good to breathe hot air, in summer or dry and invigorating, in winter.

From Pierrevert, regional capital of wine growing, to Oraison, capital of almonds, via Jean Giono’s Manosque city, nature, heritage and culture open their doors wide to you. The Manosquin country is also an entry point to the Gorges du Verdon, the lakes, the Plateau de Valensole, the route of flavors and scents, Forcalquier, the hilltop villages…

The history of the city of Manosque is very rich, both for the facts that mark it out and for its heritage: works of art, fountains, cultural buildings and mansions…

Small rural village, Manosque has become, over the years, the most populous town in the Alpes de Haute-Provence department. A thousand-year-old city, it leaves hardly any trace of its existence before Roman times when it became famous for its large regional market.

Many legends locate the existence of Manosque in time. Some say that Maneasq was born around 218 BC when Hannibal, coming from Africa with his army of men and elephants. He would have passed there by going up the course of the Durance to reach the passes of the Alps at the Italian border. Another legend has it that a Roman general by the name of Manueascu camped under the walls of the fortified city during the invasion of Provence by the Romans.

Middle Ages
While the south-east of Gaul was a Burgundian land, the king of the Ostrogoths Theodoric the Great conquered the region between the Durance, the Rhône and the Isère in 510. The town therefore again briefly depended on the Italy, until 526. Indeed, to be reconciled with the Burgundian king Godomar III, the Ostrogothic regent Amalasonte returns this territory to him.

Around the year 900, Manosque was destroyed by the Saracens, it already had 3 churches in its enclosure.

In 982: First plaid of Guillaume “the liberator”, first count of Provence. He then lived in a castle located at the top of the Mont d’Or hill, of which this famous section of wall still remains. This is a public meeting during which the count, representative of the sovereign, takes note of the advice of his barons or vassals on matters concerning his state or domain.

In 1207: By charter, Guillaume IV, last count of Forcalquier, grants the city certain privileges as well as an organization which will administer the city until the French revolution of 1789.

In 1355-1385: Manosque enlarges its enclosure on the east side, builds its ramparts and gates to defend itself against the “Grandes companies” which ravage Provence.

From 1365 to 1367: Pope Urbain V, fleeing the plague epidemic, had a “Studium Papal” (college for boys aged 12 to 18) transferred from Trets to Manosque.

In 1370: A legend has it that Queen Jeanne visits Manosque in the spring of that year. Seduced by the almond trees in bloom, Jeanne baptized the city “Manosque la fleurie”.

Modern times
In 15th century: Manosque evolves: water supply, construction of mills and ovens, roads, protective measures for health…

In 1516: According to another legend, during the passage of King François I to Manosque on January 17, 1516, Pirona de Voland preferred to sacrifice her beauty by exposing her face to the vapors of sulfur rather than giving in to the wishes of the gallant King. Manosque would then have been nicknamed “Manosque the modest” following this episode.

In 1708-1709: Terrible earthquake, followed by a harsh winter when the wolves came to seek food even in the streets of the city.

In 1772: The town buys the Hôtel de Pochet to create the current Hôtel de Ville. Before that date, the “Maison Commune” was located on Place Saint-Sauveur in a building that no longer exists.

French Revolution
At the start of the French Revolution, Manosque was one of the cities most affected by revolutionary fever. The Bernardines convent was destroyed in 1791. The Friends of the Constitution society was created at the end of 1791.

1792-1800: During the revolutionary years, Manosque experienced many vicissitudes: threat of invasion and destruction by Marseille troops, reprisals and fines for having jostled Robespierre the younger and Ricord, destruction of the palace on the Terreau put in a state of seat…

19th century
The city is modernized. Little by little, the medieval aspect disappears for reasons of sanitation: the Porte Guilhempierre is destroyed, towers are brought down and the streets widen.

1895: Birth of the writer Jean Giono in March (died in Manosque in October 1970).

20th century
The olive oil cooperative was founded in 1928.

From a rural village where agriculture was dominant, Manosque gradually urbanized. However, the olive grove and the cultivation of the vine remain significant. Thus, olive growing supported by the group of olive growers of Haute-Provence and the Luberon retains a significant impact on the city (the Moulin de l’Olivette, a cooperative oil mill in Manosque, has also received numerous distinctions and in particular the gold medal of Paris With regard to the vine, Manosque is today the second producer of wine of the department, whose grape varieties are known under the labels of “vin de pays des Alpes-de-Haute-Provence” and “AOC Pierrevert”.

In the 1960s, the town saw its population increase with the arrival of the Center d’Étude Atomique (CEA) in Cadarache. Urbanization then extends towards the hills and then new districts are gradually emerging, as very recently the Bellevue district which includes the Iscles high school and the Osco Manosco village hall. Today, Manosque exceeds 24,000 inhabitants and remains the most important center of the department.

Manosque has been twinned with the city of Leinfelden-Echterdingen (Germany) since 1973 and with the municipality of Voghera (Italy) since 1984.

Manosque is a dynamic city where life is good. It is equipped with all the essential infrastructures: all types of shops, important associative fabri

In 2009, the active population amounted to 9,533 people, including 1,387 unemployed (1,381 at the end of 2011). Most of these workers are salaried (88%) and work mainly in Manosque (66%).

Manosque workers who cannot find jobs in the town can work for the CEA located in Cadarache, next to which Iter is being built. Many engineers and researchers from all over the world will come to work at this center, and seek among other things to find accommodation near Manosque, about 20 km away and the nearest town.

At the end of 2010, the primary sector (agriculture, forestry, fishing) still had nearly a hundred active establishments (exactly 99) as defined by INSEE (non-professional operators included) and 31 salaried jobs.

The number of professional farms, according to Agreste surveys of the Ministry of Agriculture, has fallen for a quarter of a century: it is 83 in 2010, against 188 in 2000, and 210 in 1988 (i.e. a loss of 55 % of farms). The greatest losses were recorded in arboriculture, with the disappearance of 90 establishments in ten years. There are still 10 farmers practicing mixed farming, the breeders have disappeared from the town. From 1988 to 2000, the useful agricultural area (UAA) fell by 25%, from 2,018 to 1,523 ha. This decline has continued over the last decade, to 1,108 ha.

Part of the town, mainly the plain descending on the Durance (about half of the terroir of town), is devoted to agriculture, which faces competition in all sectors by urbanization. The fertile alluvial lands allow the cultivation of cereals (wheat, corn) and starches (for a quarter of the farms), as well as fruit trees (apple trees, peach trees). On the slopes facing the Durance and in the plain, there were traditionally olive groves, vines and some orchards: half of the farmers in the town cultivate these permanent crops. These plantations have also developed in the plain.

Olive growing
In Manosque, olive growing is supported by the grouping of olive growers from Haute-Provence and Luberon. While the production of olive oil was very important to the early XX century (000 feet with 200 and 632 ha), she collapses to drop to 23,300 feet in 1994. The renewal of the olive grove was subsidized by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Luberon park. Besides its economic role, the olive grove can also be useful in limiting forest fires, by acting as a firewall.

Olive trees are mainly cultivated for the production of quality olive oil, combined with a requalification of the landscapes, the olive tree also being used as a symbol of Provençal culture for tourist purposes. It is with this in mind that 12 ha were put back into cultivation on Mont-d’Or, symbol of the city. In 2005, the olive grove reached 34,000 feet and 236 ha. This agricultural activity, which is often carried out by non-farmers, has a significant impact on the city. The Olivette mill, cooperative oil mill located in the city, has received many national distinctions and in particular several times the gold medal of Paris.

The contribution of olive growing to the landscape around the city is important, giving it the Mediterranean character appreciated by tourists. The hills near the city, such as Mont-d’Or or All-Aures, are covered with olive groves, of the Rosée-du-Mont-d’Or variety, which makes them places to walk.

The vine, component of the Mediterranean triad, is present in the past. In the XIX century, the wine is produced for home consumption, quality to sell in regional markets. Currently, 123 ha are planted with vines, and the town is the second largest wine producer in the department, under the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence wine country labels and AOC Pierrevert.

According to the Departmental Tourism Observatory, the tourist function is of average importance for the municipality, with less than one tourist welcomed per inhabitant, most of the accommodation capacity being market. Several tourist accommodation structures exist in the town: several hotels, including in 2008 two not classified, five classified two stars and two classified three stars (a new three star hotel opened in 2012). The hotel capacity of classified hotels is 242 rooms; a one-star campsite with a capacity of 116 pitches; several furnished apartments labeled or not labeled; guest rooms; on the collective accommodation side, there is a youth hostel and a lodging.

Secondary residences provide a significant addition to the accommodation capacity: 176 in number, they represent half of the housing units. Among the second homes, 56 have more than one dwelling.

Historical heritage
Manosque, a thousand-year-old city, was once surrounded by a rampart and four huge gates. Located at the cardinal points, they gave privileged access to the center of the city. The south gate, called the Saunerie date in its current state, the end of the XIV th century, when the city already existed from 300 BC “Saunerie” comes from the Provençal word meaning salt Sau. A warehouse installed just in front of this door made it possible to store salt and one came there to pay the salt tax, the salt tax. Today you will be able to discover under the door of the Saunerie a simplified representation of the coat of arms of Manosque.

The Soubeyran door to the north, was built in the XIII th century. The upper part is separated from the lower by a balustrade and surmounted by a tower with clock. The set dates from the nineteenth th century. The whole is crowned with a wrought iron campanile, made in 1830 by Bauchamp d’Apt, in the shape of a pear (or bulb) to recall the shape of the ramparts of the medieval city. At the bottom of the “Rue d’Aubette”, was once one of the four gates of the city, the Porte d’Aubette. “Aubette” means “small dawn” because, if it is turned towards the East, it is the one which receives the least sun and which is also the lowest. It allowed direct entry into the Aubette district, popular and very lively. The taverns attracted a large number of passers-by. The Porte Guilhempierre, to the west, like the street on which it gives, bears the name of the notary of William IV, the last Count of Forcalquier, who had drawn up the two charters which governed the very specific rights and obligations of the Manosquins.

The Mosaic of The Three Graces and Bacchus
Its discovery dates back to 1859, in a field near Vinon-sur-Verdon. On the occasion of the digging of ditches to plant trees, a mosaic with geometric decoration is updated. Covered, it was again cleared in 1881 and then in 1919. That year, the site, which then belonged to the Joubert family, was excavated more extensively. It is all the pavement of a Roman villa which is released, with the discovery of the main element, the so – called mosaic of the Three Graces and Bacchus, made up of three panels with figured decoration which surmount an inscription.

On the left panel, we see Bacchus, Roman god of the vine, of the festival and of wine, leaning on a stick surrounded by vine leaves (a thyrsus). Beside him stands Ikarios, who holds bunches of grapes against him. According to the myth, Ikarios was a simple and poor farmer who unwittingly welcomed Bacchus into his house. The god, to thank him, gave him the first vine. While he had planted the vine and pruned it with the greatest care to make it bloom, a goat rushed into the vineyard and grazed the tenderest leaves. It is this scene which is illustrated in the right panel. The central panel represents the Three Graces, daughters of Bacchus and Venus, deities symbolizing seduction, beauty and nature. Only the representation of one of them is well preserved. She wears a simple band on the chest and is adorned with jewelry. Below these three scenes, we can read a line by the Latin poet Martial (1st century) whose translation into French could be: “You who frown and do not read this with good grace, can you, dreadful jealous, envy everyone and no one envy you. ”

The pavement of the Three Graces was deposited in 1922 and transported to Manosque, to the “Château de Drouille”. It was applied vertically, against one of the walls of the building, under a balcony. In June 1969, the property and the mosaic, classified as a “historic monument” since June 15, 1923, were sold to the town of Manosque. In 2014, the city of Manosque decided to restore this pavement, degraded by an exhibition of nearly a century outdoors. The Three Graces and Bacchus thus left Manosque for the restoration workshops of Saint-Romain-en-Gal where, after a major restoration, it regained its former glory… It was reinstalled in April 2015 in the Council chamber of the Town Hall, where it is now visible to all.

The Black Madonna of Our Lady of Romigier
The Church of Our Lady of Romigier conceals several treasures, including a very old statue of the Virgin, in alder wood. Probably dated from the 12th century, this Virgin in Majesty holds the Child on her left knee. Veiled, she is wearing a coat closed by a hook and a long dress decorated with a wide border. The Child, also dressed in a coat and a robe, holds a closed book. Both wear a crown.

Originally this wooden sculpture was not “black” but painted since a recent restoration has revealed traces of polychromy (blue, but also red, pink, etc.) This statue was covered in the 19th century century by luxurious clothes and fabrics, as evidenced by the many ex-votos that represent it. She has always been venerated by the Manosquins, protector of the city and its inhabitants. A legend brings it out of the earth in the 10th century, discovered by a plowman, whose oxen stopped in front of a bush of brambles. While digging into the earth, a magnificent ancient sarcophagus (also visible in the church, where it serves as an altar) was unearthed with, inside, the statue intact. Always according to tradition,roumi, in Provencal), it was nicknamed Notre-Dame de Romigier, a name which was also given to the church where it is exhibited. This Black Madonna was especially called upon to protect women in childbirth, to restore life to stillborn infants and against fatal falls.

The bust of gerard tenque
Manosque town hall has treasures, including this silver bust, classified as a historical monument since 1909, of the founder of the order of hospitals, gérard tenque, death in 1120. Originally, this head was part of a bust-reliquary containing bones that local tradition attributed to Gérard Tenque. But recent studies have shown that the relics were probably not his but those of Saint-Géraud, venerated in Manosque for making rain in the event of drought, during an ancestral procession. These bones were kept in the chapel of the Château des Hospitaliers, located on what is now Place du Terreau in Manosque. It was in 1613 that the Hospitallers literally “trusted” the cult and relics of Saint-Géraud to reassign them to their founder. No doubt the resemblance between the two names and the fall into disuse of the procession have contributed to this usurpation. From then on, Gérard l’Hospitalier ousted Saint-Géraud.

In the 17th century, two silver busts were made simultaneously to contain these relics: one commissioned by the bailiff Jean-François de Puget-Chasteuil, the second, more prestigious, would have been made by the famous Marseille artist, Pierre Puget. In 1793, during the revolutionary troubles, the bells and metal objects of convents and chapels were sent to the foundry and the two silver busts also. A few fragments of relics were saved and locked up under the high altar of the Church of Saint-Sauveur. When the situation calmed down, the head of one of the two reliquaries was found, the same one that can be seen today in the Town Hall.

The Old Center of Manosque
The first tangible traces of a human presence in the territory of Manosque date back to the 2nd or 3rd century AD. Evidence of lives uncovered during archaeological excavations which have shown the presence of remains in the perimeter of the Notre-Dame de Romigier Church located in the old center of Manosque. This establishment, at the “roots” of Manosque, existed continuously until the Middle Ages when it was called the town (burgum). Other castal dwellings were established on the heights but they ended up being absorbed for the lower town. These were the castrumsof the Mont d’Or, of All Aures and of Montaigut.

In the Middle Ages, Manosque was divided into four districts: Palaces, Martels, Payans and Hebréards. The population approached 5000 inhabitants. Four doors, located at the four cardinal points, allowed access. Two of them remain today. The southern gate known as the Saunerie which means “the salt gate”. It is, in its current state, and was built at the end of the XIV th century. As its name suggests, it was used to store salt. The Soubeyran gate is located to the north of the medieval wall and is already mentioned in the archives in 1216, as portali superiori. His current ruins date from the XIV thcentury. The general appearance of the city hardly changed until the earthquake of 1708 when all the houses were affected as well as the hospital. The latter was rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century. It was the first building to be built outside the fortified wall.

The Book of Privileges
This Book of Privileges is an exceptional document, both for the beauty of its pages, remarkably well preserved, and for the importance of its content: the first freedoms granted to the Manosquins. The most beautiful document kept in the Municipal Archives is, without a doubt, the Book of Privileges of Manosque. This cartulary, which is dated approximately to 1315, is a volume of 182 parchment leaves, bound in wood, covered with tawny leather, with two copper clasps, unfortunately broken. The manuscript is written in Gothic, handwriting from the early 14th century, and some initials are finely decorated in red ink, shaded with purple and blue. Annotations were made in the margins at later periods. This book was written in two languages: Latin and Provençal. It contains the founding texts of the city, the Manosquins ‘charters and privileges: municipal constitution, residents’ rights, taxes and drudgery, justice, etc.

Manosque’s Coat of Arms
“Quarterly Azure and Gules, four hands appaumée Argent, two dextres, placed one in each of the quarters, the thumbs facing”. Throughout the ages, different variations of Manosque’s coat of arms have existed, but all have one thing in common: four hands. The oldest representation that we have of it and which, as such, is considered by some to be the “authentic”, appears in a book printed in 1559. It shows the palms of four hands, two right and two left., thumbs opposing; “Quarterly Azure and Gules, four hands appaled Argent, two dextres, placed one in each of the quarters, the thumbs facing”, in heraldic language. In a later drawing, dated 1623, the same hands appear, accompanied by the motto Omnia in manu dei sunt. This motto is undoubtedly one of the keys to understanding the meaning of the Manosquin coat of arms, it would be a talking coat of arms. The proximity between the Latin term manus (the hand) and the name of the city in the Middle Ages, Manuesca, is the hypothesis most often considered to explain the use of these hands.

Old town
The old town, characterized by a pear-shaped plan, is surrounded by boulevards which have replaced the old ramparts of which only a few vestiges remain, such as the Saunerie and Soubeyran gates, resulting in a very clear separation from the rest of the city. With tall houses lining the narrow streets, the old town has remained typically Provençal. Construction and town planning follow strict rules, and car traffic is restricted. A thousand-year-old city, Manosque has an important heritage, which you can discover during your walks, in the heart of the historic city center as on its hills.

Hotel de Gassaud
It is in this very beautiful building, dating from the end of the Provençal renaissance and long owned by the Gassaud family, that Mirabeau, future famous tribune of the third estate, was sent into exile in 1774, on a letter of royal seal, for dissolute conduct. Today, this house houses the presbytery of the parish of Manosque.

Issautier Hotel
This Genoese house is distinguished by its interior courtyard, a sort of patio, now closed, and by a staircase serving, with the help of intermediate galleries, the different residential floors. In 1842, this building was bequeathed to the city’s Charity Office to be used to found a charity establishment for needy old people and orphaned children.

Church of Saint-Sauveur
Second Parish Manosque in the Middle Ages, this building rather late (XIII th – XIV th century), was consecrated in 1372. The church measures 40 m2,10 m in length and 23.70 m in width. Its nave is vaulted on cross ribs and, at the crossing of the transept, rises an octagonal dome; it is home to magnificent baroque organ of the XVII th century. The campanile of the Church of Saint-Sauveur is one of the most ornate in the entire Mediterranean basin. Classified as a Historic Monument, it dates from 1725 and is the work of a local craftsman, Guillaume Bounard de Rians. First ordered for the belfry of the “town house”, it was reinstalled on the raised bell tower of the church in 1868, when this old town hall was demolished.

Place des Ormeaux
This square was formerly called the cemetery square. Until the XVIII th century cemeteries were inside the city, around the churches. That of the Saint-Sauveur church was located behind the building. It was not until the late eighteenth th century – beginning of XIX th that for safety reasons, the cemeteries were located outside of the city.

Control Square
For centuries, to bring goods of all kinds into cities, it was necessary to pay the grant, a kind of internal customs duty. Before being deleted after liberation, it is assumed that the grant from Manosque was located at this location. A narrow passage, in which you can still see a building from the end of the Middle Ages and its large vaulted room, connects the square to the rue Grande.

Church of Notre-Dame de Romigier
Built to the “roots” of Manosque (archaeological excavations have uncovered the remains of a first urban core of the 3rd century in its sector), Notre Dame Romigier is mentioned for the first time in the archives the end of the 10th century. Its construction is probably earlier. Romanesque in style, it has been greatly altered over the centuries. Until XIII th century Our Lady of Romigier is the only parish Manosque.

City Hall
Acquired by the town in 1770 by Monsieur de Pochet, lawyer at the parliament of Aix-en-Provence, to replace the old “town house” which was attached to the Saint-Sauveur church and where the consuls had sat since 1397, the building is located in the heart of the city. Note, inside, the bust of Gérard Tenque, founder of the Order of Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem, attributed to Pierre Puget, a series of watercolors by Louis-Denis Valverane, evoking a fictionalized story by Manosque, as well as very beautiful 18th century doors.

It is in this beautiful building that municipal councils have been held since 1772 and that the affairs of the city are managed. The main building of the current town hall, dated imprecisely between the 15th and 17th centuries, was acquired in 1770 from Monsieur de Pochet, lawyer at the Parliament of Aix-en-Provence. This new building replaced the old “town house” which was attached to the Saint-Sauveur church and in which the consuls had met since 1397. This house has since been demolished. The “de Pochet” building had the advantage of being right in the center of Manosque and had many outbuildings in which the city wanted to install the communal granaries. The first municipal council took place there in 1772! Over the centuries, the municipality bought the six neighboring buildings and the town hall gradually expanded to become what it is today. The facades and roofs have been listed in the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments since 1946.

Place du Terreau
On this square, the highest point of the old town, the last count of Forcalquier, William IV had a castle erected. At his death in 1209, the palace became the residence of the commanders of the Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem (which will become the Knights of Malta in the XVI th century) until 1602. Deserted by that date and falling into disrepair, the castle will finally dismantled in 1793 and its materials recovered, by order of the Revolutionary Committee. It was in 1977 that the square was transformed into a parking lot. Today it hosts the main market of Manosque, every Saturday morning.

Place Marcel Pagnol
It is in a house, near this square (formerly called Place de l’Hôpital Vieux) that the Sainte-Barbe Hospital was set up in 1556. On two levels, it included a dozen rooms as well as a chapel. In 1708, during the earthquake that hit the town of Manosque, this already heavily dilapidated hotel-Dieu suffered severe damage. Thanks to various donations, it was finally rebuilt outside the city, near the Porte Guilhempierre.

The Jean-Giono center
The Jean Giono Center is housed in an 18th century Provencal building. It is the first mansion built outside the walls of the old town. Old terracotta tiles, period joinery, beautiful ceilings and a pleasant garden… so many details that add to the charm of this house. The Jean Giono Center was inaugurated in 1992 and constitutes a leading cultural center, dedicated to Jean Giono and his work.

The jean giono center offers several areas of activity aimed at promoting knowledge of the writer and his work. The Jean Giono center is a place of documentation and research and a center of cultural activities. The media library fulfills a heritage and documentary mission: it is a question of constituting a collection, of ensuring its conservation, of increasing it over the years, and of satisfying the curiosity of the general public as well as the requests of French researchers and foreigners. The library brings together rare texts, reprographics of manuscripts, correspondence, periodicals, first editions, translations, academic works, critical studies and bibliophile works.

Observantins Square
Formerly called instead of the Observance, this is where once stood the convent Observantins which dates back to the end of the XIV th and XV th century. After the Revolution, this church was sold as national property and transformed into residential lots. Of this convent, only the remains of the church remain, which has now become the Olivier Messiaen Departmental Conservatory.

Caragou Square
“Caragou”, in Provençal, means the snail. On this square was once the Vernardines convent, founded in 1634 by Anne de Valavoire, daughter of the Lord of Volx. Convent for young girls from wealthy families, it was closed during the Revolution and sold as national property. In the XIX th century, it serves gendarmerie; the chapel is transformed into a theater. In 1875, Elemir Bourges played “Le miracle de Théophile” there.

Barri promenade
This walk is located on part of the route of the old covered way (“bàrri” means rampart in Provençal). This is where the Maison de l’Agriculture, a departmental agricultural cooperative, was founded in 1936 by Louis Martin-Bret, an activist in the peasant and political world. Opposite the “bàrri”, on the other side of the boulevard, is the Saint-Charles school, installed there since 1839.

The Carzou Foundation
Former chapel belonging to the Sisters of Our Lady of the Presentation, it was classified as a Historic Monument in 1987 due to its neoclassical style. Since 1991, the chapel houses the Carzou Foundation, based on cultural testamentary work center Carzou painter, Apocalypse, a series of paintings created for the building and essentially devoted to wars and utopias of the XX th century. Carzou (1907-2000) was considered, in the 1950s, as one of the ten most influential artists of his generation thanks to his powerful graphics and his talent as a visionary.

Carmelite Court
In 1367, in order to rebuild their first convent and church located “outside the walls” and destroyed for war, the monks of the mendicant order of the Carmelites bought land near the Porte Guilhempierre, sheltered by the ramparts.. Cloister, sacristy, common dormitory, refectory, kitchen, storeroom… even if nothing remains today, it was nevertheless a rich and structured convent. It is also in this establishment that the Parliament of Provence held its sessions between 1589 and 1591. Indeed, King Henri Ill wanting to punish the city of Aix-en-Provence for its dedication to the League, had decided to transfer it to Manosque, more secure for royal power. The Carmelite convent was definitively closed in 1786.

Passage of the attics
In 1770, the consuls of Manosque bought the building belonging to Monsieur de Pochet to establish the new “town house” there. This building had very large outbuildings and the consuls wanted to install the communal granaries there, to store grain reserves to be distributed in the event of food shortage. These “stores of plenty” were located behind the Town Hall. Only a large entrance arch remains.

The All-Aures Chapel
When in the year 900 the Saracens destroyed the towns, the inhabitants left for the hills surrounding Manosque and built 5 villages, including All Aures. In the XI th century, there were two churches: one dedicated to Our Lady of Toutes Aures, one dedicated to St Jacques (brother of John). In the XV th century, the village was depopulated and churches are crumbling. In 1422, a restoration, which proved to be urgent, began: with the stones of the two churches the vault of Notre-Dame de All Aures was rebuilt. In 1631, a serious plague epidemic struck the city. The consuls then vow to raise the Chapel and come there every year, on November 21, the day of the Presentation of Our Lady.

The chapel was rebuilt between 1634 and 1637 to thank the Virgin for her protection during the plague of 1631; the Carmelite Fathers of Manosque celebrated mass there every day. The Chapel then took the name of Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel. The Carmelites settled there occasionally until 1753. In 1708, a great earthquake shook Manosque. The Consuls then make a vow of pilgrimage each year on August 15. During the Revolution, the chapel was looted, the damage was repaired from 1795.

Cultural heritage

Jean Giono
Jean Giono, born on March 30, 1895 in Manosque and died on October 9, 1970 in the same city, is a French writer. A large number of his works are set in the peasant world of Provence. Inspired by his imagination and his visions of ancient Greece, his fictional work depicts the condition of man in the world, facing moral and metaphysical questions and has a universal scope.

Giono nicknamed himself “the still traveler”. In fact, his work often evokes long journeys or journeys, while he himself has hardly traveled, except for short stays in Scotland, Mallorca and Italy (Voyage en Italie, Complete Works, La Pléiade). Before living in Paraïs, which overlooks Manosque, from 1929, Jean Giono lived in Manosque itself: 1, rue Torte, where he was born onMarch 30, 1895; 14, rue Grande, where his parents moved shortly after; 8, rue Grande, where he moved in 1930, after his marriage.

On the circular boulevard of Manosque is today the Crédit Agricole, which was the Comptoir d’Escompte when Giono worked there.

He also often stayed in Trièves where he spent his holidays, before the war (in Tréminis) and after (in Lalley, where his friend Edith Berger, painter lived). This mountainous region, located north of the Col de la Croix-Haute and which he described as a “mountain cloister”, inspired him in particular Le Chant du monde, Batailles dans la montagne (located in Tréminis), A king without entertainment (whose action takes place in a village corresponding to Lalley’s situation), Les Vraies richesesses et Triomphe de la vie, essays that borrow a lot from the bucolic serenity of Trièves.

The work of Jean Giono mixes a natural humanism to a violent revolt against the society of the xx th century, crossed by totalitarianism and plagued by mediocrity. It is divided into two parts: the first books are written in a very lyrical way (these works are often said to be “first”) and their style is very different from the later more elaborate and more narrative works, such as the Romanesque Chronicles. and Le Cycle du Hussard (so-called “second style” works). Nature is in a way the main character of the first books, while Man is that of the second.

A soldier during the First World War, Jean Giono only discusses this period of his life objectively in Refus d’Obéissance, that is to say long after his first publications. The influence of war is however very strong throughout his work. If he is unclassifiable, Giono is undoubtedly a humanist and a pacifist.

It is in a small house in the historic city center of Manosque, at 14 rue grande, that Jean Giono lived all his youth, from his early childhood until his marriage in 1920. He then settled down, a few more streets. far in his little paradise Lou Paraïs, a house with a green garden and a view overlooking Manosque, the Mont d’Or and the valley of the Durance. The Provence of Giono is Manosque and his country, it is these lands, these colors, these images that he describes and brings to life in his works. More than the theater of its stories, Provence is inseparable from its characters. Today Manosque celebrates this great writer by dedicating a Cultural Center to him, Les Rencontres Giono annually, but also an anthology of events throughout the year, from walks to shows and exhibitions.

If Jean Giono is the most famous writer of Manosque, he is far from being the only man of letters to have found inspiration in the heart of this sunny and colorful country. Pierre Magnan was also born in Manosque on September 19, 1922. Lover of the region, like his friend Jean Giono, Pierre Magnan locates all of his work there. The succession of famous Manosquin writers is extended by René Frégni. If this author was born in Marseille in 1947, it is nevertheless withdrawn, in peace, in a small hut of this sweet Provence that he ends up coming to take refuge to write his first novel, Black paths. Manosque, his adopted city since, has become the scene of all his thrillers. To believe that it inspires, this thousand-year-old city…

Events and festivals
Throughout the year, multiple and varied activities punctuate the daily life of Manosquin country. Concerts, festivals, markets, parties, flea markets…, all pretexts are good for having fun. You will be able to take advantage of your stay in the heart of Provence of Giono to pay homage to the almond, during a beautiful autumnal day in October in Oraison; lavender on the emblematic Plateau de Valensole, in July,… Here, all the perfumes, all the flavors and riches, which make the reputation of our region, deserve to be celebrated, and are waiting for you to join celebration.

Since 1999, the Les Correspondances festival, organized in September, has distinguished itself by linking literature with other artistic practices. During these few days, Manosque lives to the rhythm of words, readings, cross-readings, performances, but also encounters in the town squares. A vast course of writing, through a hundred “writing desks”, invests the city, offering to rediscover the pleasure of exchanging and sending thousands of letters.

Music is not to be outdone in Manosque. The Musiks festival in Manosque offers four crazy evenings, outdoors, in the Parc de Drouille, in the heart of summer. For 32 years, this event has attracted an ever-growing audience, coming from all over the region, for completely free concerts. Trio, Kendji Girac, Boris Brejcha, Superbus, Sinclair, the Fatals Picards, Amel Bent and Tal, among others, have already made their show there and the upcoming programming promises wonders.

If Pierrevert is the wine capital of the region throughout the year, during the month of July it becomes that of 8 th art. The Nuits Photographiques de Pierrevert which takes place over a long weekend. Each year, an emblematic photographer such as René Groebli in 2017, Marie Laure De Decker in 2016 or Hans Silvester in 2015, honors the event by being its sponsor. Exhibitions, outdoor screenings and multiple activities bring together enthusiasts and curious spectators around dazzling images, modern as well as surprising.

Initiated in 2018, the International Rosé Day takes place on the 4th Friday of June across the world. Pierrevert, the wine capital of Haute-Provence, is now hosting this major event. Symbol of an entire region, Rosé bears the colors of Provence’s landscapes, its climate, but also its heritage.

In dry Provence, the traditional cultures were those of the olive, the lavender but also the almond. Abandoned in recent decades, the almond industry was relaunched about twenty years ago, from Valensole. Today, she is doing well and is celebrated every 2nd Sunday in October at Oraison.

Beyond these five major events punctuating the calendar, Manosque and the Manosquin country come alive on a daily basis. Theatrical program, cinema screenings, balls, and other shows, from the funniest to the most hypnotic, offer everyone the opportunity to be entertained at all times.

At the bend of the cobbled shopping streets and lively towns and villages of the Manosquin country, you will discover multiple flavors and scents. Many producers have chosen the sunny climate of Provence to come and concoct their sweet and savory inventions. The heat of summers and the freshness of harsh winters allow them to concoct high quality products.

Olive oil, saffron, honey, essences of lavender or even chocolates, cookies and marzipan are made on the territory. Companies whose reputation is well established such as the chocolatier Doucet, Perl’amande, Terraroma or Terre d’Oc, without forgetting of course, L’Occitane en Provence were born in the heart of Provence of Giono, are growing wonders that this territory offers them and are inspired by it on a daily basis.

Discovering Manosque and the Manosquin country means getting to know ancestral know-how, often passed down from generation to generation and giving birth to products with unparalleled flavors. The chef restaurateurs, including several disciples of escoffier, settled in the region draw on these regional riches to concoct traditional and tasty cuisine that will appeal to gourmets and gourmets. Feet and packets, tians of vegetables, pesto soup, ratatouille, oil pump, tapenade and anchovy… names of dishes that leave your mouth watering? Born in Provence, with our products, scents and flavors, this is where you will learn to love them or maybe even to cook them!

Natural space
Manosque and the Manosquin country are part of a territory full of nature full of wonders… A nature made up of contrasts, colors and scents that you will not fail to discover during your stay. Manosque is one of the four most important towns located in the heart of the Luberon Natural Park, which stretches for 60 kilometers between Cavaillon and Volx. The changing landscapes, this atypical natural environment and its rich built heritage open its doors to you. A protected natural area where many activities await all visitors: from excursions to picturesque villages, to hikes, hot-air balloon flights, paragliding jumps or even bike rides.

Mont d’Or
Geologically, the Mont d’Or is a hill made of pudding (agglomerate of pebbles joined together by cement), a sediment drained by the Durance. We can say that at the top of this hill there has always been a lookout point to watch over the plain. Already, when the Celts or the Gauls were established with us, there was certainly a guard tower at the top of which a guard announced to the city the arrival of the enemies. When, around the year 900, the Saracens attacked Manosque, our fellow citizens left the village to settle in 5 small hamlets at the tops of the neighboring hills for greater security.

In 974, Guillaume, son of Boson, freed Provence from the Saracens. On this date, the County of Provence was created. Guillaume, known as “The Liberator”, had a castle built on the Mont d’Or for his winter residence and had the Castrum enlarged. A real fortified village therefore settled on the Mont d’Or with its ramparts, in the center of an agglomeration which took the name of “Castle”. At the beginning of XIII th century, two churches stood on the site: the first dedicated to St. Martin, the village church, the second dedicated to Our Lady, private chapel of the castle.

In the XIV th and XV th centuries, the 5 villages are depopulated, probably for security, but also perhaps because the last Count of Forcalquier, William IV, gives privileges that are applied only to residents of the Village. The village was destroyed over time, but the castle, of more solid construction than the rest of the village, resisted longer. Until the beginning of the 19th centurycentury, the tower, of which there are still the vestiges, had its 4 sides. The village of Mont d’Or was deserted around 1580, but constructions remain. Part of the castle collapsed in 1708 following the earthquake. The stones will be used, in 1757, for the construction of the walls of the promenade de la Plaine. In 1789, Provence lost its privileges. After this date, a new name was given to the hill: the term “Mont d’Or” replaces the name “Colline du Château”.

Verdon Regional Natural Park
The Verdon Regional Natural Park is a remarkable territory of 188,000 hectares which covers 46 towns in the departments of Alpes de Haute-Provence and Var. This site culminating at more than 1800 m of altitude was created in 1997 and allows to discover seven landscapes, all unique and characteristic, such as the Plateau de Valensole, the Basses gorges du Verdon and the Gorges du Verdon or the hills of Haut Var.

Located in the heart of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region, the Luberon Regional Natural Park is a preserved area of over 185,000 hectares. It is spread over 77 municipalities in Vaucluse and the Alpes de Haute-Provence. The site, labeled Unseco, is also an important national natural reserve of geological heritage where many perfectly preserved fossils allow history to be retraced.

Gorges du Verdon
Straddling the departments of Var and the Alpes de Haute-Provence, the Gorges du Verdon are part of the Verdon Regional Natural Park. This unique canyon, considered the “Grand Canyon Provençal”, was carved out by the Verdon river, flowing through the hollow of immense limestone cliffs. It can be admired from the Route des Crètes or the Point Sublime and can be traveled, for the bravest, on foot or on the water.

The Valensole Plateau
The Valensole plateau, famous for its lavender and lavender, measures nearly 800,000 km². With the seasons and cultures, its colors and its light change: the snow-capped peaks of the Alps that surround it give way to almond trees in bloom in March, then to the blues of lavender mingling with the gold of the wheat in July, and finally to the ocher of land just plowed once winter has arrived.