Departement of the Alpes de Haute Provence - Pop.: 750 h. - Altitude : 765m.
From Digne take the N85, then the D17 for 14 km.
Thoard is built on a site that was occupied in antiquity by Celtic inhabitants, it has a long and rich history.
It is still surrounded by ramparts and is a fine example of medieval habitat, defensive in style, gathered around a narrow rocky platform.
A historical heritage of this calibre deserves a long, in-depth visit, for there is so much to see: set out along "Rue de la Grande débauche" (!), where you can admire the lopsided facades and ancient doorways, before quickly reaching the highest parts of the village, and the remains of its medieval ramparts.
You are sure to be fascinated by the enormous grey-stoned church, and its lofty, rather overwhelming bell tower, that dates from the 12th century.
The church is so huge that it is difficult to walk right round it, since it is embedded in the midst of the surrounding houses.
Up there, apart from the marvellous view of the old-tiled roofs and countryside, you will no doubt get a curious impression of cosiness and protection, safe behind these ramparts and such massive high walls!
Lose yourself in the labyrinth of stairs and small narrow winding streets, and time will just fly, taking you back to the past, captivated by the medieval atmosphere that reigns in Thoard, created by its very high houses with stonework that time has worn away, its low doorways, its covered passageways and its ancestral wash-house.
But Thoard is also a typical Provençal market town, with its pétanque players on the main square in the shade of hundred year old plane trees, its cafe terraces and its impressive fountain, its lazing dogs and its group of youths speeding around on their backfiring scooters!
Combine pleasure with sight-seeing, and be sure to taste the local specialities, pure pork sausage from Thoard, juniper flavoured pâté, casserole, andouillette sausage and goat's cheese, etc.
What to see:
The brass Museum take a look to their website (well done...) :
The 12th century bell tower built up against the church.
Inside the church are two altarpieces(one of which is in gilded wood with coiled columns dating from 1677).
The Fontebelle pass and forest (1,304 metres) which isthe starting point for several hiking paths two of which are botanical trails 2 and 5 kilometres long.
Saint-Vincent's cave(4 ½ hour hike through a landscape of black marl clay).
The remains of the surrounding wall and the medieval château (which includes a curious plasterwork chimney dating from 1692).
Fishing. Hiking (in the state-owned forests).
Feast of Saint Blaise (February). Local produce market(every Sunday morning from June to September).
The ewe lamb fair (15 August).
Fair of "all types of wool" (December).
Gite. Overnigh gite for hikers.