Nestled at the foot of the Mont d’Or, the old town of Manosque was built in the heart of a rich and diverse natural environment. Its thousand-year history has left us with superb monuments and inspired painters and writers. But, beyond being a perfect place to stay for lovers of culture and history, it is above all a privileged gateway to the Gorges du Verdon and all the natural and sporting activities on offer.
What to see in Manosque?
Manosque has made itself known throughout the ages for its strategic location. But also for its heritage and its land, mother of emblematic local products: olive oil and wine.
First of all, we cannot talk about Manosque without mentioning Giono’s passion for this city. The writer was attracted by this Provence full of wilderness and history. Thus he took up residence there in 1929 to write most of his literary work. Immerse yourself in the intimacy of this emblematic figure of French literature. You can visit Le Paraïs, the writer’s house, located on the southern side of the Mont d’Or hill that dominates Manosque. Indeed, thanks to the association of the “Friends of Jean Giono”, founded by Henri Fluchère and Aline Giono, this house still seems to vibrate with the presence of Jean Giono. In addition, this discovery is perfectly suited to groups. On a reservation, you will enjoy a guided tour every Tuesday and Friday afternoon from June 13 to September 19.
Then, another notable figure in the history of Manosque is the painter Jean Carzou. His impressive fresco “The Apocalypse” decorates the chapel of the Convent of the Sisters of the Presentation. It will delight the eyes of the curious thanks to the Carzou Foundation. Composed of about fifty paintings and three stained glass windows, this masterpiece traces his personal reflection on the history of mankind and its future. Moreover, this neoclassical chapel, classified as a historical monument, is worth a visit on its own!
Local produce not to be missed!
After enjoying the flavors of Provence by visiting the emblematic markets such as Gréoux-Les-Bains or Forcalquier, come and learn more about the olive. This precious fruit that is so famous here. During hot afternoons, enjoy the beautiful collections of the Olive Tree Ecomuseum in Volx. You will discover many objects related to the olive tree and olive oil. Oil jars and tools collected during the travels of its founder, Olivier Baussan, are displayed alongside the history of the farmers or the views of artists, photographers or poets on this beautiful Provence. Exhibitions of contemporary art are regularly presented and olive oil tastings punctuate the life of this museum.
Manosque is the second-largest wine producer in the department. Indeed, it delights our palates with its appellations of “Vin de pays des Alpes de Haute-Provence” and “AOC Pierrevert“. The Ecomuseum of Vines and Wine pays tribute to the “old” winegrowers of the village. Its visit will introduce you to the secrets of its production through an exhibition. Collector’s pieces, wine-growing equipment, photographs illustrating the details of wine-growing, and above all a rich description of the evolution of working techniques, will help you discover the secrets of wine! On our site, in the Activities section, you will find one of our favorite guides on this subject in “Les escapades de Clément”.
A stone’s throw from the Verdon and Luberon Natural Park
Enjoy a breathtaking nature only a few minutes from Manosque. It can be said that the reputation of the Luberon and Verdon Regional Natural Park is well established.
First of all, if the Manosquin country is not part of it, the Verdon Regional Natural Park touches it very close (from Gréoux-Les-Bains and Valensole, for example). For sports enthusiasts or simply lovers of wilderness, this remarkable park offers a multitude of activities (hiking, cycling, horseback riding, canyoning, rafting, climbing…) for all levels, all ages, alone or with family.
Finally, for the curious or lovers of horticultural knowledge, do not miss the Maison de la Biodiversité! This site, a real concentrate of Provence, offers you an original and educational walk. Immerse yourself in the extraordinary diversity of cultivated plants. This house includes a conservatory orchard of more than 400 varieties of fruit trees in the heart of the Manosque hills.
Last but not least, a visit to Manosque without a stop at the L’Occitane en Provence factory would not be complete. Just go and have a look at our article on L’occitane en Provence visit: you will have a great time!
What to do with children?
For a fun visit with children, have them conduct the survey! Ask for your Randoland tour at the nearest tourist information office! These sheets, available in all tourist information offices, are divided into three tours. Each tour is adapted according to the age of the children: 4-6 years, 7-9 years and finally 10 years and over. The principle of this adventure is simple: solve the enigma entrusted to Inspector Rando! Is it the photo that corresponds to the landscape you see? Is this the shape of the church bell tower? What is the name of this street? The walk becomes a real inspector’s investigation and the whole family takes pleasure in walking through Haute-Provence and its villages.
Where to stay in Manosque?
Obviously, Manosque offers a wide range of accommodation. Everyone will find what they are looking for. Hotels, bed and breakfast, seasonal rentals and even campsites will welcome you to enjoy the mild Provençal climate.
On the other hand, for groups, two places are particularly noteworthy. The gîte du Moulin Saint-André and the gîte Les Naïsses offer a special welcome for groups. Both are situated in the heart of nature and yet a stone’s throw from Manosque.