Image – A lavender field at Valensole, Copyright Atout France/Michel Angot
As the administrative centre of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence département, a stopping place on the Napoleon Road (Route Napoléon), a spa and health resort and the lavender capital, the town of Digne-les-Bains has plenty to interest visitors! The historic centre, dominated by Saint-Jérôme cathedral, features picturesque pedestrian streets and Saint-Charles hill. It is also home to the must-see Gassendi museum devoted to local history, art and science. Housed in a 16th-century former hospice, it contains collections of 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century painting, as well as contemporary artworks, stuffed animals and physics and optical instruments.
Also worth visiting is the Cordeliers botanical garden in the grounds of the old Cordeliers convent. This medieval garden, where herbs, heritage vegetables and fruit trees grow, is a lovely place for a stroll.
Specialising in the treatment of respiratory and rheumatic problems, the Thermes de Digne-les-Bains thermal baths north of the town offer spa cures as well as fitness breaks and well-being treatments. Definitely one for relaxation fans!
Digne-les-Bains also organises the Corso de la Lavande every August, a five-day lavender festival featuring parades of flower-covered floats, a producers’ market, shows, concerts, dances and fireworks.