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  Villages /  Digne-les-Bains

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• Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04000)   • Population: 16,087  • Altitude: 608 m

Gallery of 10 photos for Digne-les-Bains

Digne-les-Bains, the préfecture of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, is a town with a medieval heart and an even older history. In the early 19th century Digne was a luncheon stop for Napoléon. Today it's a popular tourist stop for French and foreign visitors, with only one of its attractions being the thermal baths that justify the -les-Bains part of its name. • Market day Sat.

Although Digne is a major town, with residential areas and shopping centers (mainly on the northern outskirts and the N85 towards Sisteron), it has a compact center and a beautiful setting, sitting beside the fast-flowing Bléone river and with forested mountains all around. The long main street through town is completely shaded by the overhanging branches of the plane trees.

There's good shopping in central Digne, along the tree-lined Boulevard Gassendi and the pedestrian streets just beside.
A large shopping center (centre commercialle - the equivalent of a mall) is located a 5-minutes drive out of town, on the N85 road towards Sisteron/Champtercier.


Digne has a unique geological position because of the transition between the Alps and the plains of Provence.The Réserve Géologique des Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is a huge area protected for its geological interest. The controlling Centre de Géologie has laboratories, libraries and expositions in Digne. The Centre is located just north of central Digne, across the river and then left up the hillside. There's a 15-minute walk from the parking lot, but you'll have a great view of the town from there.


The hot springs of Digne-les-Bains have been used since Antiquity, but not continuously, the baths losing their popularity after the Romans departed. The modern baths, rebuilt by the municipality and opened in 1982, are still on the aptly-named Eaux-Chaudes river 3 km southeast of the town. There are actually 8 hot springs (and one cold), flowing from the St Pancarace cliffs. The water, starting at 42°C (107°F), contain sulfur, calcic (lime and calcium), strong minerals and are lightly radioactive. The baths are supposed to be good for respiratory problems and rheumatism.


Digne is the center of one of the principle lavender regions of Provence, the Pays de Digne. [ map of lavender regions ]

History of Digne-les-Bains


First record, First record, 1st-century: Dinia; 780 Digna

Gallo-Roman: Situated where the Bléone river, joined by the smaller Mardaric and Eaux-Chaudes, cuts through steep mountain ridges, this was a strategic site between Provence and the Alps and occupied throughout Antiquity. Pliny the Younger (62-114) wrote that Dinia was the capital of the Bodiontici or Brodiontii, a people conquered by Augustus in 14 BC.

Medieval: During barbarian invasions in the 6th century, fortifications were built in a protected little valley to the northeast (Notre-Dame du Bourg) and on hilltops overlooking the current town. The fortifications have pretty-much disappeared, with just a few ramparts remaining.
The lower town (cité) and the Bourg were ruled separately until the 15th century; the cité by the Counts of Provence and the Bishops of Digne; the Bourg by the provost of the church of Digne.
Digne suffered severely from the Wars of Religion, with invasions, massacres and destruction occurring four successive times between 1562 and 1595. Of the population that survived and recovered from the religious wars, 85% died from the plague of 1629.
In 1851 the peasants revolted against Napoleon III (Louis Napoléon Bonaparte) who occupied Digne as the seat of his provisional government; he became emperor the following year.


Market day: Sat. The 1st Sat of the month market includes a foire

June - Fête de la Musique
July - Fete du Jazz
July - Theater Festival- théâtre des villes, théâtre des champs
Aug - Journées Lavande - Lavender festival
Aug (15th) - Large foire-market, on the Place du Tampinet
Aug (1st weekend) - Corso de la Lavande - Lavander celebrations!


• GPS: 44.091006, 6.231478


IGN (1/25,000) #3440 ET "Digne-les-Bains"

Didier Richard (1/50,000) #19 "Haute Provence Verdon"

There's great hiking all around Digne but, because of the nature of the mountains, a lot of the hiking is pretty steep. The best bet is to have a look at the Didier Ricard maps and pick one of the many trails available. We once took the Train des Pignes from Nice to Digne and then hiked back to Vence -- an unforgettable 5-day adventure. You can also take the Train des Pignes from Digne to a nearby village, hike for the day, and ride the train back again. The FFRP Guidebooks page lists a couple of "PR" guidebooks for the Prealpes de Dignes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.


The prices listed below are from our own experiences pre 2000, converted from French Francs.

Le France Brassiere-Restaurant

Lunch here: Filets de Rougets au Coulis de Langoustines - 11 € (a Mediterranean red fish, on a bed of rice and mushroom with lobster sauce). Poêlée de Noix de Saint Jacques au Caviar d'Aubergine, 13 € (scallops on a thick bed of chopped egg-plant).

Also have: Buffet de Hors d'Oeuvres, 8 €; Gourmet menus

Food is great. Service is very slow.

Petit Saint-Jean

restaurant has a warm and friendly welcome and a pleasant decor, with polished wooden beams. Service is also friendly and correct, but with only one waiter for the 12 tables, patience is required.

The soupe de pistou is superbe (kidney beans, green beans,rose beans, carrots, some noodles, onions, tiny dried tomatoes). Trout: pink, fresh and whole. Quail: also whole.


This Digne restaurant had a small dining room with windows on to the walking street. He cooks; she serves. Overall: excellent service: exceptional cuisine, excellent prices.

13 €: La Formule provencal.

15 €: Tarteflette d'olives et tomates et son soufflé de chèvre!!! or Lapin à la menthe (mint rabbit). 19 €: Aïoli froid de Cabillaud !!! or Rognonnade d'agneau à la farigoulette (lamb with stuffed baby squash).

Desserts are artistic, original and delicous.

Fun - Amusement - Kids

Blayeul Museum

Also a Butterfly Garden
•   Open: Apr-Oct, 7/7, 9h-12h, 14h-17h30 (16h30 Fridays). Nov-Mar closed on weekends and holidays.
•   Entry: 4.60 euros, kids 2.75. Promenade and Papillons 6 euros, kids 4 euros.
•   Tel: 0492 367 070
•   Web:
•   Stroll in a geological reserve of fossils, in a park full of waterfalls and streams. Ten aquariums of tropical and Mediterranean fish alongside their ancient fossils.

Le Jardin des Papillons

Also a Musée Promenade
•   Open: July-Aug guided visits daily; July 11h, 14h30, 16h; Aug 10h, 11h30, 14h30.
June guided visits by request, 11h, 14h30, 16h.
Apr, May, Sept guided visits by request, Mon-Tue, Thur-Fri.
•   Entry: 4.60 euros, kids 2.75. Promenade and Papillons 6 euros, kids 4 euros.
•   Tel: 0492 367 070, or 0630 309 963
•   Web:
•   Tour though a 1-hectare (2 acre) open space with a naturalist guide, dedicated entirely to regional butterflies and their preferred flowers.


Digne-les-Bains is an active sports center, with 2 swimming pools and 3 stadiums, and offering canoeing-kayaking, horseback riding, tennis and alpinism as well as good hiking.

Stage 17 of the 2015 cycling Tour de France departed from Digne-les-Bains.


Cordeliers Botanique Garden - Jardin Botanique des Cordeliers

A garden in "squares" typical of the middle ages, with over 350 aromatic and medicinal plants.

Location: Place des Cordeliers Avenue Paul Martin

Open: 15 Mar - 15 Nov: Mon-Fri, 9h-12h, 14h-18h July-Aug: Mon-Fri, 9h-12, 15h-19h

Closed: Weekends and holidays

Entry: Free

Tel: 0492 315 959


Musée Municipal

Prehistoric and Gallo-Roman archeology; paleonthology, entomology

Open: July-Aug: daily; Sept-June: Tue-Sun

Tel: 0492 314 529; Fax: 0492 32 38 64

WW II Museum - Musée de la Seconde Guerre mondiale

Presents the world war from Sept 1939 to Aug 1945, particularly as it affected the department of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Installed in an old bomb shelter carved into the mountain.
Accessible to people of reduced mobility. Animals admitted. Free parking.

Location: Place Paradis

Open: Jully, Aug: Mon-Fri, 14h-17h (rest of the year by reservation)

Closed: Holidays

Entry: Free

Tel: 0492 312 895


Alexandra David-Neel Museum - Musée Alexandra David-Neel

Location: 27 Ave Maréchal Juin (RN 85)

Open: All year. Guided visits at 10h, 14h, 15h30.

Entry: Free

Tel: 0492 313 238


The museum is in the house where A. David-Neel lived; includes a book/gift shop.

Musée d'Art Religieux

Location: Chapelle des Pénitents, Place des Récollets

Tel: 0492 313 461

Gassendi Museum - Musée Gassendi

Located in 19th-centry hospice, this is the old Musée Municipal. It presents archeology, natural and regional history, scientific objects and paintings.

Location: 64 Bvd Gassendi

Open: April-Sept 11h-19h; Oct-Mar 13h30-17h30

Closed: Tuesdays

Entry: 4 € - Accepts the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence museum reduction card.

Tel: 0492 314 529



Géoparc de Haute-Provence

Stroll in a geological reserve of fossils, in a park full of waterfalls and streams. Aquariums of tropical and Mediterranean fish alongside their ancient fossils. Also a Butterfly Garden.

Open: Apr-June, Sept-Oct: 7/7; 9h-12h, 14h-17h30 (-16h30 fridays)
July-Aug Weekdays: 9h-13h, 14h-19h
July-Aug Sat-Sun: 10h-12h30, 14h-18h30
Ticket office Weekdays: 9h-12h, 13h30-17h
Ticket office Sat-Sun: 9h30-12h30, 13h30-17h30

Entry: Museum, promenade: 4.60 euros; 2.75 euros kids
Butterfly tour: 7.00 euros; 4.00 euros kids

Tel: 0492 367 070



Musée de la Guerre 1939-1945

Location: Place Paradis

Tel: 0492 312 95

Transportation Digne-les-Bains

The Train des Pignes is one wonderful way to get to Digne-les-Bains [Train des Pignes map].

Bus Marseille - Digne - Barcelonnette

  • The Marseille - Digne-les-Bains - Barcelonnette bus route is: Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Meyrargues, Peyrolles, Mirabeau, Corbières, Sainte Tulle, Manosque, Volx, Villeneuve, La Brillanne, Oraison, Les Pourcelles, Dabisse, Peyruis, Les Mées, Malijai, Mallemoisson, Aiglun, Digne-les-Bains, La Javie, Col de Maure, Seyne-les-Alpes, Montclar, Saint Vincent, Barcelonnette.
       Trip time is 4 hrs (Marseille - Manosque 1h20; Manosque - Digne 1hr10; Digne - Barcelonnette 1h30).
       The route and schedule is available on the SCAL-Autocars website (link just below).
  • Web:

Department 04, Alpes-de-Haute Provence Buses

Digne, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille

  • The schedule for the Digne-les-Bain, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille bus line is available via the Digne Office de Tourisme website. The route includes stops: Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Meyrargues, Peyrolles, Mirabeau, Corbières, Sainte Tulle, Manosque, Volx, Villeneuve, La Brillanne, Oraison, Les Pourcelles, Dabisse, Les Mées, Malijai, Mallemoisson, Aiglun, Digne-les-Bains. Trip time is 2h10 (1hr Marseille - Manosque, and 1h10 Manosque - Digne-les-Bains).
  • Web:

Nice - Gap Bus

  • There are two buses a day between Nice and Gap, with the route Nice - Digne-les-Bains - Sisteron, and Sisteron - Gap.
    Northbound: Nice 7h00, Digne 10h10, Sisteron 11h00, Gap 11h45.
          Nice 14h50, Digne 17h40, Sisteron 18h45, Gap 19h40.
    Southbound: Gap 8h05, Sisteron 9h10, Digne 9h50, Nice 12h40
          Gap 15h28, Sisteron 16h30, Digne 17h25, Nice 2030
    The Nice - Gap bus route is: Nice, Plan-du-Var, Touet-sur-Var, Puget-Thenier, Entreveaux, Annot-Scaffarel, Rouaine, Saint Julien, St André-les-Alpes, Moriez, Barreme, Norante, Chateau-Redon, Digne-les-Bains, Mallemoisson, Malijai, Chateau-Arnoux, Volonne, Peipin, Bons Enfants, Sisteron, Le Poet, Rourebeau, Beynon, Valenty, Monetier-Allemont, Le Vivas, La Saulce, Tallard, Chateauvieux, La Tourronde, Gap.
    (Schedule link The routes and schedules are available on the SCAL-Autocars website (link below); select Nice / Gap and click on one symbol to view the route map, click on the other symbol for the schedule.
    At Nice, the bus terminal is at 16 ave des Diables Bleus (Tramway stop Palais des Expositions)
  • Web:

Riez - Digne-les-Bains Bus

  • The Riez - Digne-les-Bains bus line has several buses a day; trip time about 1 hr. Schedule available via the Riez town website (see Beyond's Riez page). Stops: Riez, Puimoisson, La Bégude, Bras-d'Asse, Estoublon, Mézel, Chateauredon, Digne-les-Bains.

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