The Clues of BarlesNature Reserve

Clues of Barles © Mika Roux
Clues of Barles © OT BSP
Clues of Barles © OT BSP
Clues of Barles © Jens Jackman
Clues of Barles © Jens Jackman
Le Bès – Clues de Barles © Alain Sauvan

Clues of Barles
Clues of Barles
Clues of Barles
Clues of Barles
Clues of Barles
Le Bès – Clues de Barles
A Haute Provence Geopark site to explore by car, motorbike, bicycle, on foot...


On the road to Barles from Digne les Bains, the gorges become so narrow that it is difficult to pass with two cars... This rocky landscape sculpted by nature is even better appreciated on foot.

The word clue comes from the Latin “clausus” which means “closed”. A clue is therefore an almost "closed" passage, generally opened by the undermining work of a river.

The clues of Barles were opened by the Bès, in a limestone bar dating from the end of the Jurassic or the beginning of the lower Cretaceous, that is to say between 155 and 140 million years. The river made its way through very thick vertical layers, taking advantage of the fragility of the rock.

At the entrance to the clues, stands a strange stone sculpture. She is one of contemporary artist Andy Goldsworthy's “sentinels”. This work of art is part of the “Refuge d'Art” land art route.

Barles and geology
Many geological expeditions have been organized in the town of Barles, which is known worldwide for the diversity and complexity of its tectonic and sedimentary phenomena.

From the XNUMXth century, at the time of Gassendi, scientists were intrigued by the particular arrangement of the rocks in the region, and the origin of the mysterious fossils.

But the rise of geology in the Basses-Alpes dates back to the first half of the XNUMXth century. Until the end of this century, discoveries were facilitated by the bareness of the mountains. Deforested by centuries of cultivation and collection of wood, they revealed outcrops, slabs, fossils...

Just after 1945, Barles became a popular base camp for stratigraphers, paleontologists, tectonicians...

Labels & accessibility

  • Circuits of France_POI
  • Nature Reserve
  • Haute Provence Geopark



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Comfort / services

  • Pet Friendly

Pet Friendly


All year.