Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04270) Population: 423 Altitude: 575 m
Mézel is a tiny village in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, 15 km south of Digne-les-Bains. (There's another Mezel in the Auvergne region.) It's a long, narrow village, with one long main street, the Rue Grande, that's set back a block from the D907 road that passes by.
Mézel isn't a tourist town. It's obviously a pleasent place to live, and a vacation place for summer visitors. A few shops, including a pharmacy, and café-restaurants along the main road make it a handy stop for people passing through. It seemed to us to be the sort of place one tends to drive past, or stop for lunch and then press on again. If you are passing by, take the time to stop and explore for an hour or two.
Ancient Doorways. We had the pleasant discovery of ancient doorways on many of the houses in the village, with stone sides and lintels of varying designs and ages. Since you can tour Mézel by walking the length of the village on the main street and use parallel streets sometimes for the return, it's easy to find most of these delightful sites. The Mézel Doorways photos are displayed on a separate page.
The Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire sits at the top of the hill overlooking the village. The hillside is so wooded that it's difficult to see the chapel from below. There's a short hike up from the village to the top, starting with wide stone steps in front of the mairie, beside the Place de l'Eglise. This little chapel has a tiny little belfry, and an enormous clock — with a single hand.
• GPS: 43.997386, 6.196519
IGN (1/25,000) #3441 OT "Barreme, Vallee de l'Asse, Verdon"
On a very hot July day we had lunch at the Restaurant de la Place. The shaded terrace was pretty cool and the food and service good. The same family (Bouchet, then Sarracanie-Bouchet) have been running the restaurant for 30 years now (2006).
The Mézel railway station is a stop on the Train des Pigne, running between Nice and Digne-les-Bains. The tiny station is about 1-1/2 km from the village — a bit far if you're carrying luggage, but there is a taxi in the town.
Taxi Réné Simon
Tel mobile: 0688 441 467; house: 0492 355 242
Department 04, Alpes-de-Haute Provence Buses
- See Beyond's Alpes-de-Haute Provence (04) Bus Schedules for downloading Alpes-de-Haute Provence bus-lines map and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
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.