It was said the “the mistral, the parliament and the Durance were the three scourges of Provence”. The parliament of Aix no longer exists and the Durance has been greatly diverted to prevent floods. Only the Mistral wind remains, guaranteeing us a blue sky.
It's true that all the alterations have had an effect on the ecosystem, yet at the same time, this change in course allowed for the development of many towns.
Manosque, in this respect, benefits from a good situation with the banks of the Durance River on one side and the Luberon Nature Park on the other, which respectively give it flourishing agriculture and an important place in the tourism of Provence.
Another story or, rather, another regard has left its mark on the town and its hills, that of Jean Giono. His writing, in symbiosis with nature in which the peasantry of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence tolls, echoing his utopian and poetic vision of the world, gives his readers beautiful images of the rural world.
He was an icon of pacifism in the 1930s with his Contadours, the annual meetings of free thinkers that took place during 4 years.
His works spread to the cinema and gave us some masterpieces, such as The Horseman on the Roof, The Baker’s Wife, Un Roi sans divertissement.
“When you look for excuses, you have already sinned in your heart.”
By Jean Giono, from the film The Baker’s Wife.
Visit the Jean Giono Centre. And if you have a bit of time, treat yourself to the luxury of savouring Provence in a different manner, by reading one of his books at a sidewalk café before strolling the medieval streets lying around the two churches, St-Sauveur and Notre-Dame-de-Romigier, both Romanesque and modified over the years. Let yourself be guided by the history, enjoy the richness of local produce and crafts, regional products, art studios (fine art and environmental art) without forgetting the Maison de la Biodiversity of the Luberon Nature Park
It's hard to choose which direction to take when leaving Manosque.
All around, the landscapes go all out to seduce you:
the Rocher des Mées (a natural splendour), the monastery of Ganagobie, Notre-Dame-de-Salagon, Forcalquier, Lurs and the Luberon with its architectural history and its nature, the Lure Mountain, the Gorges of the Verdon and its Grand Canyon of breathtaking beauty, unique in Europe, Aix-en-Provence, Digne-les-Bains, Avignon, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Martigues, Roussillon, Oppedette and its gorges.