Tour de France, Stage 2 – Sisteron

Pearl of the Upper Provence

Text read by Mary Peters

Geneviève continues to guide us along the 2020 Tour de France.

Stage 2

Sisteron is about 240km north of Nice, situated in the Alpes de Haute Provence. It is known as the pearl of the Upper Provence. It is a medieval town with narrow streets (many too narrow for cars) lined with old houses, small squares with charming fountains. There is a cathedral, (Notre Dame des Pommiers, Our Lady of the Apple Trees). Take time to explore the interior, it is richly decorated. The altar, the golden statue and the baptistry are eye-catching. On the hilltop, you will find an imposing citadel. 

You start by visiting the Earth and Time Museum. Here you can see how time is told and measured in nature using unusual objects. You can also start the Time Trail from the museum.

From the town centre, climb up the hill to the citadel which towers over the Durance valley with the beautiful river. The fortification was in a strategic place between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea. This monument was also a stronghold for the Counts of Provence. Today, it is a museum devoted to Napoleon and also horse-drawn carriages.

Let your curiosity guide you through some of the old streets and squares and discover the towers from the old fortifications, the Baume Rock directly behind the houses. Do not forget to have a look at the special roofs and the beautifully carved, wooden doors which are typical of the Provence. Walking along the Durance River, you have a beautiful view of the town.

The town also offers an arts festival in August and the Lamb’s Festival takes place during the Ascension Weekend.

Discover the surrounding area of Sisteron which offer a lot of possibilities. For example, you can drive to the tiny village Eourres and go on a donkey trek. You have the possibility to do a half-day trip to a weeklong trek, including camping or lodging.

There is an Extra Virgin Olive Oil producer at the Moulin Fortuné Arizzi. He suggests touring the mill, watching an educational film, visit his Eco-Museum and walk along the botanical trail. All free of charge.

Between Sisteron and Mont Ventoux you can find Thierry and Sylvie’s Lavender Distillery in Sault. You can watch the essential oil extraction which is done after the flowers have been dried in the sun. They work with both types of flowers (Lavender and Lavandin). They also recommend walking along the Lavender Trail.

If you want an adrenaline kick, why not go white water rafting or canyoning in Ubaye and the Gorges du Verdon. A professional team welcomes you and guides you to discover the spirit of adventure. 

For cyclists, let yourself be attracted by the spirit of the Tour de France and cycle up the Mont Ventoux. Have fun! 



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