Located on the banks of the River Bleone, Digne-les-Bains lies at the geographical heart of Alpes de Haute-Provence. The rugged surrounding terrain encompasses one of the most geologically rich areas of France and a 150-kilometre-long sculptural hiking trail known as the Refuge d’Art.
Things to do in Digne-les-Bains
In the heart of Digne-les-Bains is the Musee Gassendi, which occupies five floors of a 17th-century building. It houses exhibits related to the natural sciences, local history and art, with an exceptional collection of 19th-century Provençal landscape paintings. Dotting the surrounding hills are sculptures by British artist Andy Goldsworthy that can be appreciated along a multi-day hike.
Also in Digne-les-Bains is the former home of Alexandra David-Neel, a Belgian-French explorer who was the first European woman to visit the “forbidden city” of Lhasa. While wandering through the rooms, you can learn about her adventures in Asia and the more than 30 books she wrote about Eastern religion and philosophy. After admiring the exotic paintings and artefacts on display, enjoy a stroll through the landscaped gardens.
Sprawling north of Digne-les-Bains is the UNESCO Geoparc de Haute-Provence, which is the largest geological open-air museum in France. It encompasses 18 geological sites dating back more than 300 million years where fossilised bird footprints and plants are preserved. A highlight is the Rosso Ammonitico Veronese Formation, which offers an up-close view of hundreds of ammonites.
Getting around Digne-les-Bains
Digne-les-Bains is 2.5 hours’ drive from Nice and Nice Côte d'Azur Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Marseille Provence Airport is 1.5 hours away. Trains connect to the Digne-les-Bains railway station, which is around 10 minutes’ drive from the town centre.