Forcalquier is a historic town built on a slope of a hill in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, along the Via Domitia between the Alps, the Rhône, the sea, the plains and the mountains. Sheltered by the Lure Mountain and very close to the Luberon, the town has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and cold winters with frequent frost.
Forcalquier's history is very old. The region was occupied by the Celts, colonized by the Romans then, due to conflicts during the Middle Ages, the people took refuge on the heights, building the villages over time. The 12th century would be the town's golden age. Under the reign of the Counts of Forcalquier, the town became the capital of a county that stretched from the Durance River to the gates of Cavaillon. Many Romanesque edifices were built during this splendid period.
The village of Forcalquier
The Notre Dame du Bourguet Cathedral in Forcalquier
Fields of lavender around Forcalquier
Observatory of Haute-Provence in Saint Michel l'Observatoire
The Château of Sauvan the "small Trianon of Provence"
The Church of Cruis - Dovecote of Limans
In the 13th century, an alliance would bind Forcalquier to Provence.
The 14th century was marked by plaques, including the Black Death, pillaging, an economic and demographic crisis, wars of religion, all causing the decline of Forcalquier and its region.
Following the French Revolution, Forcalquier became a sub-prefecture, one of the smallest in France.
Forcalquier remained throughout an intellectual centre. In the 19th century many events took place, such as the Athénée littéraire (1867), the Jeux Floraux in 1872, the festival for the inauguration of the Notre Dame de Provence chapel in 1875, the founding of the École des Alpes in 1876 and the Latinité festival in 1882.
Its geographic situation with the clearest skies in France allowed the town to set up the Observatory of Haute-Provence at Saint-Michel de l'Observatoire.
You will also find there the hydroelectric plant of the Durance and the La Laye reservoir that allows for a generalized irrigation of the crops and a safe supply of drinking water. Forcalquier is a town of great vitality. It is a sub-prefecture of the fields, endearingly welcoming, lively, musical, cultural, gastronomic, traditional, but also inventive concerning tourism, which it masters with a sense of quality and respect for the environment.
The musts to see and visit are the main monuments, including the Notre Dame du Bourget Cathedral (13th and 17th centuries), the Convent of the Visitandines (1634), the Cordeliers Convent (13th century) and the Notre Dame de Provence Chapel dating from 1875.
In the area around Forcalquier
Simiane la Rotonde: picturesque village from the 17th and 18th century to explore.
The château of the Agoults (12th cent.), the bell tower of the Saint-Jean Church (16th cent.), the little Saint-Pierre Church, the 16th century covered market.
Mane: traditional Provençal village.
The 15th century Saint-André Church, the 16th century Hôtel Miravail, the 12th century Citadel
Oppedette: a tiny traditional village with a population of 40.
19th century Saint Didier Church
Botanical trail, marked trails
The Way of Saint James
GR4 and GR6 big hiking trails.
The Saint-Pancrace Festival in Forcalquier