Located on the limits of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department, on the edge of the Luberon, Manosque is an old walled town filled with ancient doorways, fountains, meandering streets, and charming squares plus historical buildings such as the Notre-Dame-de-Romigier Church, which was built in the 10th century. It’s a great place to wander or take photos, particularly if you like old architecture.
This walled town boasts plenty of historic buildings and is surrounded by beautiful countryside complete with olive groves and orchards. Less than a mile away from Manosque’s center, Mont d’Or is also home to the remains of a 10th-century castle and lookout post erected by Guillaume the Liberator, which offers 360-degree views of the vast horizons stretching over the Luberon. You can even see the southernmost peaks of the Alps on clear days. Provence lavender tours stop here and many people visit en route to the nearby L'Occitane en Provence factory.
Things to know before you go
- Remember your sunscreen; Manosque gets lots of sun.
- Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking.
- Stroller- and wheelchair-users may experience some challenges getting around town.
How to get there
Manosque makes for an easy day trip from Aix-en-Provence, being just 35 miles (57 kilometers) away via the A51, roughly a 40-minute ride. It is also possible to reach Manosque by regional train from Aix-en-Provence and Marseilles (arrive at Manosque Greoux Les Bains station).
When to get there
Manosque is a year-round destination and gets upwards of 300 days of sunlight a year. That said, if you’re sensitive to heat then it’s best to avoid the months of July and August (many local businesses also close here in August, and elsewhere in France, for summer vacations).
If you're in Manosque, it's worth paying a visit to L'Occitane Factory. Here you can learn about perfumery and cosmetics-making through interactive exhibits. You can also go on a tour of the factory that includes visits to the production line rooms and the chance to buy products at a hefty discount.
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- Sainte-Victoire Mountain (Montagne Sainte-Victoire)
- Lake of Sainte-Croix (Lac de Sainte-Croix)
- Cézanne's Studio (Atelier Cézanne)
- Aix Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint Sauveur)
- Cours Mirabeau
- Aix-en-Provence Old Town (Vieil Aix)
- La Barben Zoo (Zoo de la Barben)
- Les Saintes Maries de la Mer