Welcome to theUNESCO Haute-Provence Geopark ! Discover the Carboniferous tropical forest. Dive into seas populated by strange creatures from the Secondary and Tertiary eras. Go back to the traces of the Quaternary glaciations and observe how these different periods shaped the landscapes of today.

AD04-Foehn Photography

Panorama of the Vélodrome and the Facibelle blade

The UNESCO Geopark of Haute-Provence offers an extraordinary journey through the last 300 million years of Earth’s history.

Old Esclangon in the Bès valley
The Naturographer

The Geoparc label

UNESCO Geopark is a label awarded by UNESCO to a territory for its remarkable geological, cultural, natural and intangible heritage. The UNESCO Geopark of Haute-Provence was the very first to be created in 2000. Today, 177 geoparks exist around the world. Immerse yourself here in a journey through time: 300 million years of Earth’s history.

A huge territory

Of the 67 communes of the Alpes de Haute Provence over which the UNESCO Geopark of Haute-Provence extends, the diversity is striking. The different types of rocks, inherited from the geological past of the region, give characteristic colors to the landscapes of Haute Provence: the robines formed by the erosion of black marls, the clues cut into the limestone rocks of the Jurassic, the red traces left by iron oxidation...

The UNESCO Geopark lists numerous fossil sites, like the Ammonite slab. This unique site in the world concentrates 1500 ammonite, nautilus and pentacrine fossils over 320 m² at the exit of Digne-les-Bains (direction Barles).

Among the essentials, the Ichthyosaurs of La Robine et of Chanolles , 185 and 107 million years old respectively, are accessible by hiking trails.

Departure from the hike in old Esclangon to admire the velodrome, a spectacular geological formation
The Naturographer

Haute Provence Geological Nature Reserve

The Geological Nature Reserve of Haute Provence is responsible for the preservation of geological heritage. It protects and enhances geological sites, existing fossils, and landscapes with folded and fractured layers.
The protection of geological heritage is carried out at two levels. On the one hand, a set of 18 geological sites on which the extraction and collection of any fossil form is prohibited. On the other hand, a vast protection zone extended over 59 municipalities where the extraction of fossils is prohibited.

The UNESCO Geopark of Haute Provence invites you to discover its natural and human history and its traditions. The Provencal language, customs and even local products are part of the Geopark's heritage, as well as contemporary art. Land of inspiration, artists like Andy Goldsworthy choose the Geopark to create original works in connection with nature.

5 routes to discover the UNESCO Geopark of Haute Provence

5 discovery routes cross the emblematic and heritage places of Haute-Provence and its sumptuous landscapes. Browse the interactive map to prepare your outing independently.

Each route offers its own theme. They can be covered by car in one day (apart from walks), departing from Digne-les-Bains or Sisteron. More than 130 developed sites are to be discovered. You will meet the inhabitants of this country, partners of the UNESCO Geopark: restaurateurs, accommodation providers, artisans or producers, proud of their land and their passion.

The treasures of the UNESCO Geopark of Haute-Provence are everywhere, don’t wait any longer to go and meet them! Your journey through time will begin at Promenade Museum by exploring the themed trails and exhibition halls.

One day the sea receded...

The entire landscape that surrounds you was once submerged under a sea. The land under your feet was then only a seabed carpeted with ammonites, inhabited by colossal marine creatures like ichthyosaurs... With the formation of the Alps, by The action of tectonic forces, this sea has retreated, giving way to fabulous landscapes that geologists around the world covet.

Located in the heart of the UNESCO Geopark of Haute Provence, the Bès valley is unlike any other. In its center, crisscrosses the Bès, this river which is intended to be a torrent. The Bès cuts into the clayey and sandy rocks, sculpting the limestone strata for a million years. Along its course from the hamlet of Couloubroux to Digne-les-Bains, it crosses past tropical environments, 300 million years old, seabeds rich in fossils, and tectonic collisions.

The documentary film "One day the sea retired..." recounts this long story, where fossil ferns rub shoulders with ammonites, where rocky levels collide and overlap, before a simple stream cuts through these mineral layers. to reveal to humans that we are a distant past.

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