in Barles

Les Clues de Barles

An integral part of the Haute-Provence Geological Reserve and a veritable open-air museum, the Clues de Barles can be visited by car, motorbike or bicycle!
Rocks, fossils, varied landscapes tell a story dating back 300 million years.
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.

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.
As early as the 17th century, at the time of Gassendi, scientists were intrigued by the very particular arrangement of rocks in the region, and the origin of the mysterious fossils. But the development of geology in the Basses-Alpes dates back to the first half of the 19th century. Until the end of this century, discoveries were facilitated by the bareness of the mountains.
Deforested by centuries of cultivation and stone collection, they revealed outcrops, slabs, fossils... Just after 1945, Barles became a base camp appreciated by stratigraphers, paleontologists and tectonists.

At the entrance you will find a strange stone sculpture. This is one of contemporary artist Andy Goldsworthy's “sentinels”, which opens the way to the contemporary art route and the Geopark.

At the exit of Barles, the paths become so narrow that it is difficult to pass with two cars.

At the entrance to Provence, the splendid rocky landscape of the Clues de Barles overlooks the cool Bès river. These clues are idyllic for geology buffs or simply people looking for an exotic and cool nature break.
We speak French

Rankings & Labels

  • Natura 2000
  • Nature reserve of France

Location details

  • River or river within 300 m
  • Mountain view
  • Isolated
  • At the water's edge


Opening hours from January 01 to December 31, 2024





  • Pet Friendly

Home animals

Animals are accepted


04140 Barles
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