Manosque photo manosque0015s.jpg (5 k) Manosque is a large, walled town in the Durance river plain, at the edge of the Luberon to the west and the Valensole plateau to the east. We generally find it busy, crowded and noisy after visiting the quiet little villages out in the hills, but quickly get caught up in the excitement of the place.

location map for Manosque area map
Dept: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04)

Nearby: | Aix-en-Provence 56 km | Avignon 110 km | La Bastide-des-Jourdans 21 km | Cereste 21 km | Digne-les-Bains 60 km | Forcalquier 23 km | Gréoux-les-Bains 15 km | Moustiers-Sainte-Marie 50 km | Quinson 35 km | Reillanne 16 km | Riez 34 km | Saint Michel L'Observatoire 16 km | Sisteron 53 km | Valensole 20 km |

Hotels near Manosque: | Manosque | 15 km Greoux-les-Bains | 20 km Valensole | 23 km Forcalquier | 35 km Quinson | 50 km Moustiers-Sainte-Marie | 53 km Sisteron |

We've done short visits to Manosque several times over the years, staying overnight a few times. We find the town most interesting for its shopping, lodging and dining, making it a good base for visiting a wide area, from the Luberon to the Verdon.

The buildings in the old town lack the quaintness of the smaller towns and villages, with some exceptions such as our [photo-6]. The buildings are old, though, and while you're wandering the town streets you'll discover interesting old places and ancient doorways.

It's a market town on Saturday mornings, with the large Place du Terreau taken over by the main market. Wandering through the narrow town streets you'll run across other markets as well, like the food market on the Place [de la Mairie]. Perhaps inspired by Giono, this is a reader's town, and we found several outdoor bookstalls as well.

Historical highlights of Manosque are the two 14th-century fortified portes.
dot The town's main entrance at the south is the Porte de la Saunerie [photo-2], built in 1382. Also called the Porte de sel (salt entrance), because the salt tax gabelle was paid here. The gabelle was a law that obliged every subject of the King to purchase a certain amount of salt every year, with a tax to the state monopoly. Widely different methods of taxation caused a vast black market. This very unpopular tax was abolished in 1790.
dot At the northern end of town, the entrance is through the Porte du Soubeyran [photo-1], the highest tower in town. The base and the arch of the Soubeyran date from the 13th century. The clock tower was built in the 18th, and the campanile in 1830.

Mont d'Or, the hill where the Counts of Forqualqier once lived, is just over 1km from the center, northeast. About an hour round-trip offers you a nice view of the town and the surrounding countryside.

Jean Giono

Manosque has a few "Favorite Sons", including Elémir BOURGES (1852-1925), author of fiction and the play "La Nef. The most favorite, though, is Jean GIONO (1895-1970).

Much of Giono's work paints a very descriptive picture of early 20th-century life in Provence, that we highly recommend, including: Coline, 1929 and Regain, 1930. Another favorite is Le Hussard sur le toit, 1951.

Giono's birthplace is just a block in from the main entrance Porte de la Saunerie, on the left side of Rue Grande at number 14, marked by a plaque. The Centre Jean Giono is on the ring-road, just to the west of the main entrance, a block north of the Office de Tourisme.

History

Name

First record, 978 Manoasca, from the Celtic evoking sources and river. The Office de Tourisme pamphlet states that the original name was Maneask, from the Celtic "man" for hill and the Ligurian "asq" for inhabitants.

The town was probably founded by the Celto-Ligurians around 300 BC, was occupied by the Romans, and destroyed in the late Middle Ages by the Saracens.

The town was liberated in 974 by Willian the 1st, Count of Forcalquier, who then stayed regularly in his chateau on the hilltop of Mont d'Or. Being the favorite residence of the Counts of Forcalquier, coproprietors with St-Victor of Marseille, Manosque regained importance from the 13th century.

In the 12th century Manosque was connected administratively to the Hospitaliers de St-Jean-de-Jerusalem, who retained control until the Revolution, 500 years later, and who continually opposed the communal liberties.

La Reine Jeanne (Queen Jane) called the town "Manosque-la-Fleurie. King François 1st (1515-1547) named it the "Pudique" (the chaste) because, according to legend, a young woman defigured herself rather than yielding herself to the King.

Manosque and its inhabitants have expressed their independence proudly over the centuries. In 1851, Mayor Joseph Buisson headed an armed insurrection against Louis Napoléon's coup d'état, marching on Digne-les-Bains and installing (briefly) a government.

Office de Tourisme

Tel : 04 92 72 16 00; Fax: 04 92 72 58 98

Web: www.manosque-tourisme.com

Email: otmanosque@hotmail.com

The Office de Tourisme is located a block south of the main entrance of Porte de la Saunerie. It's on the west side of Ave Jean Giono, at the north end of the parking area of Place du Dr Joubet.

Dates

Every Sat - Marché - Market
Every Mar - Foire des Rameaux - in the old town and the circular boulevards
Every May - Fête de l'olivier
Every May - Fête votive de la St Pancrace - in town
Every May - Foire de la St Pancrace - in the old town and the circular boulevards
Every June - Journées Médiévales (every 2 years, even numbered years)
Every Aug - Festival International du Luberon - Theatre Jean le Bleu, et Parc de Drouille
Every Dec - Crèches (Santons) of the 19th c.

Museums

Centre Giono

This is more than a museum, all about native son Jean Giono.

On the ring-road, bvd E. Bourges, just to the west of the Porte de la Saunerie

Foundation Carzou

Located in the old Convent of the Presentaion, the Foundation Carzou has a huge fresco inspired by the Apocalypse de Saint Jean

Church - Eglise Notre Dame de Romigier

Destroyed around 900 by the Saracens and rebuild again in the 10 century.

Contains a paleo-Christian sarcophage and teh 11th-c Vierge Noire (Black Virgin)

Hotel de Ville (Town Hall)

This renaissance style hôtel particulier (town house) has been the Hotel de Ville since 1772.

Contains a bust of Gérard Tenque, Father founder of the Hospitalers, and a series of watercolors by Louis Denis Valvérane tracing the history of Manosque.

Guided Tours

Guided tours of the old town are organized all year, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Details from the Office de Tourisme


Olive Oil Mills    (List of Mills - 04)

Olivette Mill - Moulin de L'Olivette

Location: Place de l'Olivette

Tel: 0492 720 099

Web: www.moulinolivette.fr

Olive oil available.

Museums & Sites

Garden

Transportation Manosque

Train

The town's railway station (gare SNCF) is about 1500 meters southeast of the center, just off the D907. Manosque is on the line Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Manosque, Sisteron, Gap, Embrun, Briançon, with several trains a day [Rail Travel Planning].

Bus


Sports

Water Sports
The Plan d'Eau des Vannades, 4 km east of Manosque beside the Durance, has a sailing school, windsurfing and swimming.

Swimming Pools
There are two municipal piscines, one about 1 km north of the center and another 1 km south.

Pony Clubs
A couple of pony clubs are located a bit out of town.

CASINO. For gambling, not the grocery-store chain.

Hiking

Maps

IGN (1/25,000) #3342 OT "Manosque, Forcalquier"

Located at the edge of the Luberon, there is excellent hiking west and north of town. Of the many hiking trails in the Pélissier forest to the north, many follow small roads or forestry roads, and not all are signposted.

The GR4 hiking trail goes through Manosque. To the east, the GR4 crosses the canal by the hamlet of Moulin Neuf, then joins the main D907 road for 3 km, until after the river, where it goes into the forested hills towards Gréoux-les-Bains. To the west, the GR4 goes to Pierrevert (3.5 km), then northwest to Montfuron and further west across the Luberon.

Dining

Hostellerie de La Fuste

Location: Rte d'Oraison; La Fuste

Closed: oct-mid apr (except holidays): sun diner, mon; 6 jan-12 feb

Tel: 0492 720 595; Fax: 04 92 72 92 93

(At La Fuste, on the D4 across the river 7 km east of Manosque)

Luberon Mountains, Park

Location: 21 bis place du Terreau

Tel: 0492 720 309; Fax: 04 92 72 03 09

Le Petit Lauragais

Location: 6 place du Terreau

Closed: sat lunch; sun; 20-28 feb; 14 july-14 aug

Tel: 0492 721 300

Located in the center of town, near the ramparts. Parking. There's only room for 20 diners, so reserve early.

La Rotissrie

Location: 43 bd des Tilleuls - La Filature

Closed: sun; wed dinner; 15 july-15 aug; 1 week school vacation feb

Tel: 0492 723 228

Located in a previous 17th-c stable.

La Source

Location: Route de Dauphin; D5

Closed: sat lunch, mon; 2 weeks nov

The hotel-restaurant over-looks Manosque from the Dauphin/St-Maime road. (1 km from the center via the Porte Soubeyran at the nw corner, on the D5)

Lodging - Hotels