Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04170) Population: 794 Altitude: 804 m
St. André is on the N202 (94 km from Nice), at the upper end of Lac de Castillon, about 20 km north of Castellane. St. André is also on the line of the Train des Pignes. At the station, just outside the town, is an outdoor picnic area, with wooden benches and tables shaded by Giant Sequoias, firs and pines a hundred-plus years old (like those at Barrème and Moriez).
St. André is a popular tourist center, although far enough away from the busy crowds of the major cities and the coast. There are a number of hotels and restaurants here, along with some small shops, cafés and gas stations.
The upper valley of the Verdon river goes north out of town, followed by the road which passes through Thorame-Haute, ski stations of Colmars and Allos, and up to the Parc du Mercantour. The line of the Train des Pignes also follows the valley until, just past Thorame-Haute, it turns to cross over the river and beneath the road to plunge straight into the side of the mountain. The train crosses deep beneath the Col St. Michel and exits almost three and a half km away in the Vaire valley just above Méailles.
• GPS: 43.967348, 6.507027
IGN (1/25,000) #3541 OT "Annot - St. André-les-Alpes"
There are lots of excellent hikes around St André, but this is mountainous country so most of them are fairly steep, in one direction or another.
• Start north out of the village, then turn left immediately onto the D2 towards Lambruisse. About 2 km up the road, along the Issole river, a trail goes off to the right towards Seuil. This trail takes you to the ruins, and also to a group of trails that allow different loop possibilities in the thickly forested mountains.
• 11 km west of St André and 2 km east of Barrême, the D19 road goes north (10 km) to the Bois de Tartonne, then loops east on the D219 over the Col de Défend and down the D2 to St André. At Tartonne by the hamlet of Plan de Chaude (map IGN 3440ET), you'll find a pretty little church with an old stone bell tower; a GR trail goes east up the valley to the Col de Défend. You can hike back again for an easy hike, or continue from the Col northeast to Château-Garnier, beside Thorame-Basse (map IGN 3541OT).
For winter dining, the Hotel-restaurant La Closeraie Bagatelle, on the main road at the edge of the village, is all that's open. The welcome is warm and friendly and the dining is good.
This is an internationally popular hang-gliding and paragliding site, with mountains close to town at the west, going up to over 1700 m, and wide valleys down towards the lake. The main landing site is just at the edge of the lake, within easy walking distance of the town.
Transportation Saint André-les-Alpes
Bus Nice - Gap
- 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.
The route and schedule is 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. (Schedule link http://www.scal-amv-voyages.com/horaires/circuit9.htm)
At Nice, the bus terminal is at 16 ave des Diables Bleus (Tramway stop Palais des Expositions)
- Web: www.scal-amv-voyages.com/ligne.htm
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).