Sisteron photo sisteron0010s.jpg (11 k) Sisteron is a pre-Roman town built at a narrow rocky gap (clue) where the Durance and Buech rivers join. The gap, at the north edge of the town, rises in a cliff to the Rocher de la Baume on the east side of the river, and to the rocky peak topped by the imposing 13th-to-17th-century citadel on the west side, protecting the town. From the north, the road enters the town through a tunnel beneath the citadel, and the town is still protected by parts of the 14th-century walls. The gap and the citadel are most impressive when arriving from the south, viewed across the town.

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

Also:  | Route Napoléon | Domitienne Way |

Nearby: | Aix-en-Provence 102 km | Digne-les-Bains 39 km | Forcalquier 39 km | Gap 49 km | Laragne-Montéglin 16 km | Manosque 53 km | Orpierre 30 km | Pierre-Ecrite 13 km | Route Napoléon | Saint Geniez 16 km | Salignac 7 km | Volonne 12 km |

Hotels near Sisteron: | Sisteron | 30 km Orpierre | 39 km Digne-les-Bains | 39 km Forcalquier | 49 km Gap | 53 km Manosque | 102 km Aix-en-Provence |

Sisteron is a very nice town, with interesting streets, houses and other sites. There's a lot to do here, with a multitude of restaurants and shops of all kinds. A main route nationale passes through town, though, along with the autoroute to Aix-en-Provence and Marseilles, and Sisteron is very crowded in the summer. If you're going to be visiting the nearby region, such as the Montagne de Lure to the west or the mountainous country to the east, this is a good central location.

The 11th-century origins of the chateau are long gone, but the donjon is from the 12th century, and the current battlements, built in the 16th century during the Wars of Religion, are ancient enough, and very impressive.

There's a laundramat (laverie automatique) at the Place Dr. Robert, by the campanile clock tower, 7/7, 7h-20h30.

Cathedral

The Romanesque-Provencal Notre-Dame-des-Pommiers cathedral was built in the 12th century (1160-1220), part of an Episcopal group including the Saint-Thyrse church, a baptisery and a cloister reserved for the Canons. The name comes from the Latin pomoerium, for the area inside the walls containing a necropole. The architecture is Lombardian Alpine. It's the oldest and one of the most beautiful of the group of cathedrals of Digne, Embrun, Bayons and Senez.

History

Roman: Segusturo

Gallo-Roman: Sisteron was originally a village of the Celtic Gauls. It was occupied very early by the Romans, and became the sixth city of the Second Narbonnaise.

Medieval: Sisteron became an episcopal town in the 4th century. It escaped the Barbarian invasions, but was pillaged so thoroughly by the Saracens that it didn't regain its prosperity until the 11th century. Sisteron was in the domain of the counts of Forcalquier and then the counts of Provence, for whom it guarded their northern frontier. In 1483, it became a Royal domain when the last count of Provence gave the town to Louis XI, and was co-administered with the bishops.

Around 1400, Sisteron had a spiritual Renaissance with Saint Vincent Ferrier. That didn't last very long, however, as seven plague epidemics between 1451 and 1503 killed off two-thirds of the population. Sisteron sided with the Crown during the Wars of Religion, and suffered two bloody sieges. Along with some other killing troubles, the plague returned in 1630, and typhus came along in 1744, decimating the town.

Recent: Sisteron didn't recover until the end of the 18th century. The town had remained Royalist, so when Napoléon arrived in time for lunch, on 5 November, 1815, the local population pretty much ignored him. During the 1939-1945 war, the resistance managed to liberate the political prisoners being held in the citadel. The town later suffered major damage from allied bombardment.

Office de Tourisme

Tel (Mairie): 04 92 61 36 50; Fax: 04 92 61 19 57 Tel: 04 92 61 12 03

Web: www.sisteron.com

Email: office.de.tourisme-sisteron@wanadoo.fr

Dates

Every Wed - Marché - Market
Every Pentecôte May - Fête votive: attractions foraines, bals, animations (4th day of Pentecôte)
Every July - Fete - Galas Folkloriques *
Every July - Festival des Nuits de la Citadelle- théâtre, danse, musique classique (mid July-mid Aug)
3rd Sun July - Fête de l'Agneau (the famous lamb festival) - from 12h, Parc Massot-Deveze
Beginning Oct - Foire-expositoin: artisanale and commerciale
Every Dec - Santons, Crèches - 80-90 groups assemble.

Museums

Citadel or Citadel Museum

Baden-Powell Scout Museum

Museum

Transportation Sisteron

Train. The TER (Transport Express Régional) train line for Marseilles--Aix-en-Provence--Gap--Briançon stops at Sisteron, with about 6 trains a day. (See also the Rai-Travel, Planning page.)

Driving.

The A51 autoroute goes north and northeast from Aix-en-Provence to Sisteron and almost to Gap. Driving west on the A8 autoroute (from Nice/Cannes) you follow towards Avignon/Lyon past the southern edge of Aix. The "A51" and "Sisteron" are mentioned a couple of times, but then forgotten at the crutial moment.
• Follow "Avignon" past Aix, going right onto a north-bound autoroute that quickly has you up a hill to traffic lights. Past the lights, go right towards "Gap - Digne", which gets you onto the (unmarked) A51.
• A few minutes up the A51, continu on past exit 14; do not exit here because of the green "Sisteron" sign; that's really just for the non-autoroute route.
- It's about 2h30 from Nice/Cannes/Grass to Sisteron.

Bus


Sports

Sports in around Sisteron include:

Cycling

Hiking

Maps

IGN (1/25,000) #3340 ET "Digne-les-Bains, Sisteron, Les Mées"

Didier Richard (1/50,000) #28 "Montagne de Lure, Val de Durance"

The GR6 Hiking Trail passes east-west through Sisteron. The GR6 connects with several other trails to the east and the west, and to the south. North, along the Durance, the land is more built-up.
• To the west, the GR6 climbs to the top of the ridge (748 m) and follows the ridge for about 6 km before turning south. The trail crosses the Montagne du Lure along the ridge between Pas de la Graille (1597 m) and the summit (1826 m), then drops down through the forested southern flanks to St Etienne-les-Orgues, and on south to Forcalquier.

Lodging - Hotels