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Alpes de Haute Provence

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is a French department in the south of France (Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur region), it was formerly part of the province of Provence.

Provence-Alpes-Cote-DAzur

Geography

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is s one of the largest and least densely populated departments in France. Full of contrasts from The Alps and Provence, it comprises vast protected areas. The altitude ranges from 260 to 3,450m and the vegetation varies from typically Mediterranean oaks and olive trees to sub-alpine pitch pines, spruces and alpine meadows.
It is surrounded by the French departments of Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Vaucluse, and Drome, as well as Italy.
The crossing rivers include: Durance, Largue,Verdon, Bleone, Ubaye, Var, Burch and Jabron.
Allos Lake located at an altitude of 2,230 m is surrounded by summits covered by snow ten months a year, and is the largest high altitude lake in Europe.
Eleven villages have been classified as having special architectural character.

Climate

The overall climate of the Alpes de Haute-Provence is Mediterranean, characterised by dry summers, high temperatures, and more than 300 sunny days per year. The climate of the departments’s north-eastern corner is influenced by the mountains. Snow often falls as early as November and remains for several months in the highest valleys where the ski resorts are located.
Low level of air humidity, huge amount of sunshine and the absence of any pollution make this department a climat paradise.

Towns

Dignes-les- Baines and Greoux-Les-Bains are beautiful spa towns, already known and appreciated in Celtic and Roman times. Their spas have proved their curative efficiency and the fitness exercises are as popular as the actual treatment because it is a real delight to come and try the health-giving properties of hydropathic treatment in the Provencal climate.
Dauphin is a typical Provencal village, perched on a hill overlooking the plain watered by the Laye and Largue rivers. At the top of the village, from where you can see the white domes of the Saint Michel astronomical observatory, stands Saint Martin’s church dating back to the15th – 16th centuries with its delicate bell-tower spire.
Seyne-les-Alpes is the main town in the Blanche valley, surrounded by verdant fertile land that the first tourists at the end of the 19th century called “a piece of Switzerland lost in Provence”. This village has a very rich religious heritage such as the Church of Notre Dame de Nazareth and Church of the Dominicans. It’s also classified as “a green holiday resort and winter sports village”.
Forcalquier is situated between the mountains of Lure and Luberon. Its landscapes vary from mountain tops to valleys. There is a wonderful view of Forcalquier and the area from the Citadel. Late Sunday morning, the carillon plays manually (the only one in Provence) at the Chapelle Notre Dame de Provence. Every Monday morning there is a colourful street market with products from local farmers.

Activities

The beautiful scenery provides the background to many activities and sights.The most popular activities are paragliding, rafting, canoeing, swimming, pedestrian walks, horse and bicycle riding, fishing and hiking.
In summer many aerial sports use the surrounding mountains such as gliding, hang gliding and paragliding. In winter, there is extensive skiing at 11 ski resorts and 6 cross-country skiing sites for all snow activities.
While in the area, is a “must” to see the deep cliff of the Gorges du Verdon, which is unique in Europe and is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Provence. This famous canyon offers a beautiful spectacle of lakes, cliffs and wide horizons of the cultivated plains.
Every year in the heat of the summer, festivals and celebrations are renewed in the midst of a remarkable architectural heritage. Music, dance and theatre light up the night in Alpes de Haute-Provence. In the winter, traditional festivals, evening gathering, high level sports events also take place, in a carefully protected natural environment.

Gastronomy

The region is proud of its mountain flavour cuisine with fragrance of Provence. The top quality local products are: olive oil, Banon- goat’s or ewe’s milk cheese, cow’s milk cheese, lamb meet for preparation of “pieds et Paquets”, foie gras and many pork specialities.
Despite the name, most of the famous “Perigord truffles” come in fact from the Alpes de Haute-Provence as well as aromatic and medicinal plants such as thyme, rosemary and fine lavender.
For the sweet lovers there is almond-flavoured “calissons”, nut-flavoured “pralines”, nougats and fruit pastes.
This department produce as well excellent wines such as “Coteaux de Pierrevert” but also the spirits like pastis, orange wine and rinquinquin and genepi.

Useful information:

Tourism office in Alpes-Maritimes
www.francetourism.com

Maps of Alpes-Maritimes
www.ign.fr
www.maps.google.fr

Travel from the UK

By air: British Airways flies to Montpellier and Nice

Ryanair flies to Marseille, Toulon and Nice

Easyjet flies to Marseille and Nice

By rail: TGVs from Paris to Marseille and Aix-en-Provence.

Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. We have a large network of estate agents in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. All of them are registered French estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence matching your requirements.

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