The citadelle in Sisteron is a must place. You can see overview Haute Provence mountains, Sisteron town and the River Durance. Please do go to the top of the citadelle, you come across a narrow pathway which resembles a little bit Great Wall in China (of course it is much smaller and short passage). Also, stop by various corners of the citadelle to see all sides of the area of the region. The view of far-away mountains is magnificent!
Directions: Its in front of Sisteron, you never miss it - signs to Citadelle is everywhere.
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Sisteron is a gateway to Provence on the banks of the River, Durance. It has beautiful quaint narrow streets. The climate here is mild throughout the year and the town is called "300 days sunshine city". The city is situated almost middle of Route Napoleon (between Cannes and Grenoble. Napolen escaped from Elba through this city in 1815. There is beautiful church, "Sisteron Cathedral"
I am not sure if this was a castle or church in the past. But it was really a great & interesting place to go to. On the site you will find an interesting building with great stained glasses, stairs and 'wooden people' (a board with drawings of people on it).
Sisteron is a very nice place halfway the Route Napoleon, a trip on national/provincial roads from Grenoble to Cannes in the South. It is cosy and feels like a village. There are enough hotels around the place. See the Photo's. The road is the N 85.
This is a Romanesque-Provencal cathedral, built in the 12th century (1160-1220).
The architecture is Lombardian Alpine. It's one of the oldest and of the group of cathedrals of Digne, Embrun, Bayons and Senez. ( I looked that part up after I was there - we of course went to look at the cathedral because it seemed interesting when we came upon it!)
Throughout the town, plaques will tell you about interesting historical notes. For example, this door has a plaque explaining that it is called the marriage door (it has hearts carved into it). It was an hommage paid to a young bride from her new husband and dates from the 18th century.
The Citadelle is the giant fortress that lords over Sisteron, and which was built directly into a cliff face.
It was built (and rebuilt) from the 13th-17th centuries.
It protected (?) Sisteron during the times of city-states (but since the city changed hands many times, it obviously had some flaws!) and in any case is an impressive piece of architecture.
From it you can see beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, the Durance and Buech Rivers (where they meet), views of the Rocher de la Baume, and of the rooftops of the town.
During it's history it held prisoners such as the Prince Casimir of Poland (1639) and more recently, French political prisoners were held here by the Germans in WWII and were liberated in 1944 by la Resistance, just before it was bombed.
The Citadelle was bombed by the allies in 1944 and parts of it are actually from the later restoration (done very well be local craftsmen), though much of the original structure built into the cliffs directly was not damaged.
In July and August there is a music, dance and theatre festival held in the building called 'Nuits de la Citadelle' which is performed in the upper levels in an old outdoor amphitheatre (with modern seating and lighting).
The best way to explore Sisteron is to walk around in the city. This way you will have a good idea of the city. I had a good time walking around there were a couple of old buildings.