Digne Mini Guide
What can you Tell me About Digne?
Its full name is Digne-les-Bains and it is a town and commune in the French Alps. It has several claims to fame including an asteroid named after it and that it’s the setting for the start of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Les Miserables. Today it is a town heavily dependent on tourists attracted by the stunning scenery and beautiful architecture found in and around the town. It’s not far from the border with Italy
and under an hour from the Mediterranean coast around Nice
What’s the Best way of Getting to Digne?
It is quite remote and the nearest airport is going to be Nice Airport
, over fifty miles away. Nice has a huge range of carriers flying people into the airport from all over Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa including many of the low cost airlines. Direct transport from the airport to Digne is unheard of and rather than try the multitude of connections required, it’s best to hire a car from the airport and use it whilst staying in Digne.
What is There to see and do in Digne?
There’s a little worth seeing there including the cathedral built in the late 15th century as the townspeople moved higher up the hill to make defence of the town easier. It’s now within the town’s ruined fortifications but the cathedral it replaced is still in existence and now houses a museum. Most people go there to hike the trails of the Verdun Gorge, a massive cleft in the countryside caused by the erosion of the Verdun River.
Fifteen miles long and in places half a mile deep, the landscape there is stunning. Seen from the top it has been described as Europe’s Grand Canyon. Back in town there’s a pretty botanical garden which sprang up only 25 years ago but which now has beautifully landscaped grounds and hundreds of plant species.
What can I buy to Take Home from Digne?
Whilst not as well-known as other parts of Provence for lavender, the region around Digne has a thriving lavender production and in Digne, much of the harvest is processed and sold on. A number of small regional factories process the lavender oil and it’s possible to buy gift sets of lavender products including soap, massage oil and other toiletries as well as lavender essence for use in cooking.
What Should I eat Whilst in Digne?
The Bleone River that flows through the town is noted for its trout and other freshwater fish. Many of the rustic restaurants serve grilled trout with lemon, new potatoes and local asparagus accompanying it. Not long out of the river, the meal is delicious, especially with a bottle of chilled white wine.
Do They Have any Festivals or Celebrations There?
There are a couple of religious festivals celebrated from the cathedral including Holy Week and Easter. These are often accompanied by fireworks and processions. The villages outside of Digne also celebrate the putting out and bringing in of livestock from the high pastures in spring and autumn with local celebrations too.