Forcalquier and its fortress
"Forcalquier, a true citizen crossroads with its lively markets, bubbling shops, narrow streets where every street corner reveals its history. I love this "flagship" city built around the slopes of a steep conical hill and lined up from the fortress pointing skyward. From the spur which dominates the agricultural plain, you can witness a panoramic view of the Luberon in the south and the Alps to the north." Françoise Delville - Landscape market researcher at the Luberon RNP.
The Convent of the Visitation
The convent with its cloister dates from 1634. One wing of the convent buildings was rebuilt in 1883 to house the town hall. The chapel, built in 1687 houses since 1930 a cinema. Its installation has also been controversial for many years, some seeing in an unfavourable light the use of a place of worship for entertainment purposes.
Notre-Dame-du-Bourguet, a major monument of Forcalquier is known since 1155. Later on, it became co-cathedral along with the Sisteron cathedral. Built, at the foot of the city, as a site both crossroads and a place of ancient market, it may have succeeded to an older building. It was a part of the defence system of the city, one of the doors opening near the porch. The organ, dating back to 1629, is a remarkable instrument used during services and concerts.
The citadel and its carillon
A magnificent panorama of Forcalquier, the Lure mountain, the Alps, the Valensole, Sainte-Baume, the Luberon... At the site of the castle of the Counts of Forcalquier, which remains the foundation stood the Notre-Dame-de-Provence (1875) and its carillon. The carillon rings every Sunday at 11:30 am and for the main celebrations. This is one of the very few manual carillons in Provence that chimes practicing the traditional game of "à coup de poing".
The St. John church
In this small hidden church, the choir and part of the nave date back to the eleventh century. The latter was extended in the 12th century, and the ensemble was changed in the 15th century. Located on the slope of fragile soil, the church has seen many landslides followed by numerous reconstructions. Listed as a historic monument, it awaits restoration.
Ancient temple and mansion
Built in the end of the 16th century, it is the only evidence of Protestantism retained in Forcalquier. On the pediment, there is an inscription taken from the book of Isaiah: "Confess to the Lord, and invoke his name." The beautiful mansion to the right of the temple, dating back to the 17th century, belonged to a large Protestant family, GASSAUD.
Bellfry and fountain
After the fall of the tower of the Récollets, annoyed at not hearing the hours rung by the cathedral, the residents of Saint-Pierre complained to the municipality. In 1859, they built the present bell tower, topped by a wrought iron bellfry. The fountain, in turn, named Jeanne-d'Arc, dates back from the early 16th century. It was the last work of a major project initiated at the end of the previous century to bring water to the city.
Settled in 1627, in the church and the cloister house of Saint-Pierre, one of the four parishes in the city, of which we can still distinguish the roman oculus, the Recollect, Order of Friars Minor (Reformed Franciscans) had an important convent here. It was then transformed into a prison, where they will lock in 1851 the sub-prefect and the police officers rallying behind the coup d'état of Napoleon III against the republican opinion of the inhabitants of Forcalquier.
The old courthouse (1842 façade), which succeeded the former palace of the Counts of Forcalquier, has long housed the district court. A place also once called the Granatarié, meaning "up grain", has conserved the spiral staircase (1853), which joins Berenger street.
The door of the Cordeliers
This door dates back to the 14th century. Today it is the only remaining gate of the six gates of the city whose defensive system also included 14 towers.
The convent of the Cordeliers
The Franciscan convent of the 13th century. experienced three centuries of prosperity before many vicissitudes during the wars of religion when it was sacked and even for a time became a Protestant church. You can stroll through its cloisters and gardens. The convent now houses a training center (European University of Flavors and Fragrances and an antenna of the agricultural high school Carmejane). Exhibitions are organized in season.
While we have no evidence that this Romanesque house, traditionally called the "Synagogue", has been a place of Jewish worship, we know that in the Middle Ages, Forcalquier was home to a large Jewish community settled in the vicinity of the Notre-Dame-du-Bourguet.
With your back towards the tourist office, take a right, pass in front of the Notre-Dame du Bourget gate and go into the Rue Mercière.
1 - Turn left and then right unto Rue Passère. Continue on Rue Saint-Mary to the right. Climb the calade (cobblestone path), pass 3 curves and leave the Chemin de Croix to engage in front on long walks on the plateau. Pass another 3 switchbacks and go into highest chamber to the left. Walk around, come back out and turn left. At 1st intersection, continue straight down, through the gate and below the calade, do not miss the entrance of the narrow passage to the left.
2 - Take a sharp left and reach the St John church. Retrace your steps to point 2, then continue straight on the Rue Saint-Jean. At the corner of the Esplanade Marius Debout, turn left on Rue du Collège. Come out at the Jeanne-d'Arc fountain to the right.
3 - Go to the left and reach a little further to the right, the former Recollects Convent. Retrace your steps to point 3, then continue straight on the Rue Marius Debout and the Rue Grande. Turn right and reach to the left the Place du Palais. Continue on the Rue du Palais, reach the Place Saint-Michel and its great fountain, then turn right on Rue Eugène Planchud.
1 - Take again the Rue des Cordeliers, continue straight down and after two curves, cross the Porte des Cordiers. A little further down, turn left.
4 - Cross the street and step into the underpass of the Grand Carré. Go into the convent's cloister. Come out through a small door, on the opposite side to the left. Once in the garden, turn left to come out on the Impasse des Cordeliers (dead end). Return to point 4. From there, turn right on the Boulevard des Martyrs de la Résistance, then turn left on Rue des Lices, and go immediately to the right on the small cobblestone street. Go straight, cross a narrow archway and come out behind the Notre-Dame du Bourget church. Go along the enclosure to return to the starting point of the route.
Do not panic from the start; the rise is severe!
Caution with your ankles on the cobblestone areas.
House of the Luberon Regional Nature Park
60, place Jean Jaurès, 84400 Apt
+33 (0)4 90 04 42 00
In the heart the old town centre of Apt, the House of the Luberon Regional Nature Park welcomes you in a town house of the 18th century. The permanent exhibition of the geology museum has a rich collection of fossils evidencing the geological history of the Luberon.
On sale at the shop: books, maps, guidebooks, games, posters...
Open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 1:30 pm to 6 pm (and on Saturday, depending on the program). Free admission.
Access and parking
At 23km / 14 miles north of Manosque, through the D13.
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