More than ever now, we need space and time to reconnect with the essence of our selves. Certain destinations are more conducive for this quest for well-being than others. The Haute-Provence UNESCO Global Geopark, Digne-les-Bains and its surroundings are among them. The explorer Alexandra David-Neel will attest to that!
The spirit of Tibetan buddhism
This great lady, who has travelled much of the world, found here the serenity she sought, which reminded her of Tibet. In jest, she even called the Digne Prealps her “Himalayas for Lilliputians”. Born in 1868 in Paris, she spent 25 years of her life exploring the world. She is the first European woman to have entered the forbidden city of Lhassa in Tibet in 1924. After all her years of adventures, it is in the city of Digne-les-Bains where she decided to finally put down roots in 1928. She named her house “Samten Dzong”, which means “Residence of Reflection” in Tibetan. She passed away a hundred years old in 1969. The 14th Dalai Lama came to pay homage to her in 1982 and 1986. You will discover the incredible life of this adventurer during your stay in Digne-les-Bains by visiting her house, which has become a museum, and admire the countless objects brought back from these distant journeys.
After visiting the house of Alexandra David-Neel, you can continue your Zen immersion with a tea, chaï or wholesome vegetarian meals at Nusa Café just opposite Samten Dzong.
A territory inspiring well-being
Digne-les-Bains, a spa town recognised since antiquity for the quality of its waters, offers rheumatology and respiratory treatments as well as a wellness area – “Espace Zen” – where you will be able to enjoy body treatments, massages and bubble baths with essential oils.
Here, even walking is practised mindfully, respectful of the self and the environment, in harmony with nature. Professionals are available to accompany you through the landscapes so dear to Alexandra David-Neel.
If you’re open to unusual accommodation, consider a cabin in Thoard or Volonne in a secluded place, offering an original experience in a preserved valley, even requiring a zip line to transport your luggage! Yurts also exist in campsites where outdoor guides and yoga teachers are available to accompany you on your meditative holiday.
Haute Provence – its landscapes, terroir, culture and way of life – constitutes an ideal place to disconnect and unwind.