Sisteron, pearl of Haute-Provence
Between Provence and the Alps, on the banks of the Durance between two long mountain ridges, Sisteron is an unavoidable city on the Route Napoléon. Gateway to Provence and the Natural Park of the Baronies of Provence, it deserves its nickname of "Pearl of the High-Provence" and catches the eye not only because of its natural situation but also because of its renown. Nestled at the foot of its famous citadel overlooking the landscape, the city lies facing the rock of Baume, recognizable by its vertical limestone strata and folds, well-known worldwide and considered by geologists as a genuine curiosity.
Sisteron offers a maze of stairs and small arched streets named "Andrones" that follow its natural picturesque contours, finally reaching the lofty Citadel, which Henry IV liked to say was "the most powerful stronghold of his kingdom".
I discover with images
Citadel of Sisteron
An architectural heritage flagship, the Citadel (Mon His) consists of a wide range of military works from various periods. The keep and the rampart path, built on the narrow rocky spine, date from the 13th century, the staging of bastioned buildings from the 16th. From the Vauban project, conceived in 1692, only the gun powder magazine has been built. Major alterations were made on the north face in the mid-nineteenth century. At this time the magnificent underground staircase connecting the fortress to the city was carved into the rock.
Despite having suffered the bombing of August 45, it has been beautifully restored and invites you to visit through a soundtrack in 6 languages, or guided tours. Its museum evokes the passage of Napoleon back from the island of Elba, the keep with its jail, an exhibition of horse-drawn vehicles, the Chapel Notre-Dame du Chateau (15th century) and temporary exhibitions.
By nightfall, the citadel enchants with its illuminations (twice-awarded in 2009, 1st National Prize in a lighting Competition - Prix des Rubans du Patrimoine).
The Nights of the Citadel
The citadel is a showcase for an open air theater, every summer it hosts a prestigious cultural event: the "Nights of the Citadel", the first and oldest festival in Provence. Music, theater, and dance take place and enchant the old walls...
Sisteron, a must visit city
Sisteron has been awarded many prizes: Plus beaux détours de France (Most Beautiful Detours in France), Station verte de vacances: (Green resort - for promoting a nature oriented tourism) , - Station classée tourisme: (classified touristic resort), Ville et Métiers d'Art": (City and the Applied Arts), France in Bloom" awarded 3 flowers. It is an active and lively city; its awards guarantee all you need for a pleasant stay. Sisteron has not only a strong heritage but also offers well equipped social, sports and cultural facilities, combined with interesting and varied shopping opportunities.
Take the time to walk the narrow streets, the Rue Droite and the avenues; the city center shelters many treasures, mansions, carved doors, plaster works and decor... but also a variety of shops and services, breweries, and restaurants that make just strolling here as pleasant as shopping or being tempted by one of the treats on offer.
And if you are tired of walking, take the tourist train to the Citadel, it enables you to discover the historical heritage of the city through a guided circuit up to the entrance of the Citadel (Good deal: rest on the way up to the Citadel where in addition you will be entitled to a reduced entrance fee on presentation of the train ticket;)... enough to satisfy everyone!
Many events (Street Parties, Water Festival, concerts, exhibitions) take place during summer, but Sisteron is a cultural city all year round! With the advent of spring, the puppets festival enlivens the city with its hilarious silhouettes. In May the Lamb festival, with the transhumance (moving of livestock, normally sheep, between lowland pastures and mountains) in town with shows, stands, lamb of Sisteron meals (every 2nd year) perpetuates the tradition. In June, the archeology days, the music festival, quality concerts, artistic Sists'Arts meetings. Without forgetting the days of crafts, the book fair, the boule days, the expo fair, and also the Christmas market organized by traders to close the year and the traditional cribs exhibitions that mark Christmas time.
For sure... there is always a good reason to come to Sisteron!
Did you know ?
It is no coincidence that the city is classified as a city of arts and crafts; it combines very well the pleasures of discovery with artistic practices. Art lovers will be delighted by galleries and art and craft workshops flourishing here and there; rue Saunerie, rue Droite, rue Mercerie is where you can meet painters, portraitists, mosaicists, potters, sculptors or even photographers and cardboard artists... There is something for every taste! You will probably not be able to resist the pleasure of visiting their exhibitions, and above all, what a delight to observe them working, modeling the material, giving life to the sketch before your eyes! Several private or municipal Art Galleries, such as the "Domnine Gallery" or the Ornano Space, also present varied temporary exhibitions; the cultural service regularly sets up exhibitions and the traders association (APACS) organizes the events "artists in the street" throughout summer.