MONDAY : FORCALQUIER - MANE or
Forcalquier is quite isolated, in
high Provence, apart from the main touristic trails. For that reasons
this rural city remains authentic. Its stone houses are built around
the slopes of a steep conical hill, overlooking a deserted countryside.
Its market takes place in the lower part, in the main square, the "Place
du Bourguet" and overflows down the adjoining streets. It spreads
across the main road to fill the Place in front of the church and Rue
de Bereluc-Perussis, goes up through the small streets and crowds into
the Place St Michel with its fine old fountain.
It is mostly visited by natives and has just about everything you could
imagine, including agricultural plants and equipment. It has particularly
a large selection of organic foods. Usually, you can see at least a
dozen different stands offering organic vegetables, breads, drinks and
other home-grown foods.
The narrow streets of the town center are worth a stroll.
Many of the doorways are ancient, some dating from the 12th to the 16th
centuries. You will also like the wrought-iron balconies.
Lunch with the advise of your guide in the city
For the afternoon, you have the choice between :
- Salagon priory in Mane. Not only
the religious building is interesting for its medieval fine architecture
but it also houses a museum about the ethnological heritage. Several
exhibitions are dedicated to local ancient crafts. And the surroundings
ethno-botanical gardens are a real marvel with its great number of local
plants. You can spend the whole afternoon enjoying the site. (entrance
- Isolated villages are to be visited
by those who love authenticity and quietness. They seem to have no age,
remain very untouched and far from the modern life. Surrounded by lavender
fields, their sight is fantastic in July
Between the sites, your driver-guide will explain you
many things about the history, the tradition, the natural environment...
You will be able to stop as much as you want to take pictures, to taste
local products or just to breath the fabulous scents of the provencal