When we arrived in 1976, with our 3 young children, this small hamlet on the heights of Digne no longer had any permanent inhabitants. The house was in ruins, without electricity, without water, without heating... The remains of an old stone tower offered an extraordinary playground for the children, but we were far from suspecting that, buried in the earth, the foundations of a medieval castle!
This "castrum" would have been founded in the 11th century, because of its strategic location: the view embraces the landscape for more than 10 km, which made it possible to see the enemy arriving from afar. On an area of 100m², a first enclosure is built comprising a first tower, probably in wood. A church faces it, built during the same period, as was customary at the time.
In order to provide more living space, another fortified building, the stately home, was built soon after. The walls, at the base, were 1.20m thick and the four corners, curiously, were rounded probably for lack of beautiful stones. A local pink plaster coating on the interior facing was found. Cut stones, found on the spot, suggest that a vaulted door existed due south. Remains of floor, supported by wooden rafters were found as well as a wall cupboard, in plaster.
In 1230, the castle belonged to Raymond-Béranger V, Count of Provence and in 1246, Charles 1st, brother of Saint Louis King of France, became Count of Provence. He will have the round tower built there, the base of which can still be seen, to assert his authority. This also makes it possible to monitor the Bléone valley and the passage to Italy.
Here is the castle, as we have restored it, with the church facing it.
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