Located in the south-east of France, the town of Manosque is the most populated in Haute Provence. The historical centre, once protected by ramparts, consists of typical Provençal architecture that has been well preserved and maintained.
The rich historical, cultural and gastronomic heritage, combined with a pleasant Mediterranean climate and a multitude of leisure activities, make Manosque a must-see destination in summer.
The characteristic pear-shaped town centre is full of unique buildings and good gastronomic addresses to satisfy the curiosity of visitors. In addition, the city is surrounded by a preserved natural environment, punctuated by the sweetness typical of the South of France.
Even today, the cultivation of vines and olive groves remains a dominant activity. You can meet the producers on their stalls on market days. Manosque is also known for its wines, including those of the AOC Pierrevert.
Manosque was originally a small rural town. With time and development, Manosque urbanised and became a tourist destination of choice in the region.
Manosque’s reputation is based on literature. The writer Jean Giono lived there for many years, first in a house in the town centre, then in a small paradise near Le Paraïs. The town pays tribute to the artist by dedicating a Cultural Centre and various events to him throughout the year.
Visiting the city centre allows you to discover Manosque’s cultural heritage and tourist attractions. It is also a popular destination for its natural heritage. During your stay, you can take a number of hiking trails that will take you to the Mont d’Or hill, which offers an exceptional panorama of the old town and the hinterland.
Throughout the year, Manosque organises numerous events that bring the inhabitants together and introduce visitors to the town’s traditions and heritage. The Les Correspondances festival highlights literature and other artistic practices while music is the focus of the Musiks festival with its ever-promising programme.
In the Middle Ages, the city was protected by ramparts of which only a few vestiges remain today, such as the Soubeyran and Saunerie gates. Situated to the north of the medieval walls, the Porte du Soubeyran is the largest and most imposing: built in the 14th century and decorated with a stone balustrade, it once commanded the entrance to the city and the clock tower was added in the 19th century.
The southern gate, known as La Saunerie or Salt Gate, was built at the end of the 14th century in the Romanesque style, with a central body defended by two lateral turrets crowned by battlements.
The church of Saint Sauveur is in clear Romanesque and Gothic style, surmounted by a wrought-iron bell tower recognised as one of the oldest and most beautiful in Provence.
It houses a magnificent organ built by Meyssonnier in 1965.
The Romanesque church of Notre-Dame de Romigier, rebuilt from the 17th to the 19th century, offers the opportunity to admire a magnificent Carrara marble altar depicting the apostles and a black Virgin, venerated for centuries by the Manosquins for its powers to protect the town and its inhabitants.
Inside the chapel of the former Convent of the Presentation, the Carzou Foundation is a unique place where one can observe The Story of the Apocalypse, a gigantic fresco created by the international painter and sculptor Jean Carzou.
The building, classified as a historical monument, was restored in the 19th century to reveal the beauty of the site and the fresco, which blend perfectly in a green-blue hue revealed by the lighting of the stained-glass windows.
Surrounded by olive groves, Manosque is recognised for its ancient know-how in the art of olive growing. Indeed, it has one of the oldest and most important oil mills in the department: Le Moulin de l’Olivette.
Founded in 1928 as an agricultural cooperative, it is France’s largest olive oil producer and has received a multitude of regional and national awards, including the Paris Gold Medal on several occasions.
A symbol of local traditions, the Moulin de l’Olivette offers the direct sale of its products, which are made exclusively by mechanical processes.
The Jean Giono Centre hosts numerous events throughout the year: permanent and temporary exhibitions, literary walks, reading shows and events that honour the life and work of the writer Jean Giono.
The Centre is located in the heart of the Hôtel Raffin, a Provençal palace dating back to the 18th century. A visit to the building also includes a visit to its gardens. A documentation centre opens its doors to the public to promote research and dissemination of Giono’s works.
Jean Giono’s house, Le Paraïs, is located on the slopes of Mont d’Or. The artist lived there with his wife and two daughters.
A visit to the house will take you through Giono’s personal library, which consists of more than 8,500 works, letters, photos, manuscripts, works of art and furniture. The house has a magnificent garden with a view of the historic centre of Manosque. Today, a shop and a tea room have been installed in the building.
Nature lovers can take advantage of the Mont d’Or hill to explore the hiking trails.
Overlooking the Durance valley and the Asse valley, you will enjoy breathtaking views of the rooftops of the city and the hinterland: the Luberon, the Sainte Baume, the Haut-Var, the Mont d’Aiguines overlooking the Gorges du Verdon and even the pre-Alpine peaks.
The Mont d’Or tower is the last vestige of the castle that once stood on the hill. Initially an observation point, the building was the winter residence of Guillaume, known as The Liberator.
For fans of traditional markets, the 7-place market is the recurring Saturday morning activity. It allows you to discover local products and specialities while strolling around the typical places in the old town: Place du Terreau, Place du Dr Joubert, Rue de l’Eden, Espace Voghera, Place Saint Sauveur, Place Marcel Pagnol and the Town Hall Square.
In this colourful market, you can sample local gastronomic specialities: olive oil, saffron, honey, lavender, chocolate, biscuits, marzipan. Manosque is located in a region favourable to the development of quality products, made using ancestral knowledge handed down from generation to generation.
The green market is held every Wednesday morning on the Cours Aubert Millot: ideal for meeting local producers and eating organic produce.
4 km from Manosque is the factory of Occitane en Provence, a famous brand of cosmetic treatments based on essential oils and natural ingredients.
Surrounded by a Mediterranean garden decorated with wild and cultivated species, the factory and the shop-museum are open to visitors to let them discover the production and history of L’Occitane en Provence, which has lasted since 1976.
A guide will introduce you to the manufacturing processes, the various workshops and laboratories, and the packaging of the products, an opportunity to awaken all the senses.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Manosque is located in a region characterised by a pleasant Mediterranean climate: the summer season is very sunny with dry and warm air, the winter is cold with frequent frosts and possibly snowfall.
Consequently, most tourists are concentrated in spring and summer, the perfect time to take advantage of the many outdoor activities and the density of cultural events offered during this period. You will have no difficulty finding a variety of accommodation options, from B&Bs to hotels to olive groves.
The nearest airport is Marseille Airport, where you can rent a car and reach Manosque in less than 1 hour. If, on the other hand, you land at Nice Airport, you will have to allow about 2 hours and 15 minutes with your rental car.
If you prefer the train, the town is located on the Marseille/Briançon line, stopping at the Manosque – Gréoux-les-Bains railway station.
What's the weather at Manosque? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Manosque for the next few days.
Manosque is one of the main urban centres of Haute Provence, about halfway between Avignon and Nice.