Take the D908 to Colle Saint Michel, then the D39 for 4km.
Population : 4 inhabitants (200 in summer!) - Alt : 1528 m
Discover the charming village of Peyresq in the Alpes de Haute Provence
The tiny, winding, panoramic road through this wild and majestic landscape is well worth the diversions!
Forests of fir trees, rocky cliffs and snow-capped peaks against which the hamlet of Peyresq stands out - old stone and larch shingles - as do the spectacular yellow cliffs overhanging the entrance to the village... It's here, in Peyresq, that paradise lost!
Built in the 13th century as the stronghold of Nicolas Fabri de Peyresq, a humanist, patron of the arts and a scholar renowned throughout Europe in the 17th century, Peyresq (or Peiresc, meaning "the stony") owes its name to the local limestone.
On the small dirt square shaded by lime trees (no parking, respect the site!), where some beautiful and noble stone houses with shingled roofs surround the solid church of St Pons (14th century), there is an astonishing stele to "René Simon, mason who helped rebuild the village".
You'll understand why when you realise that this mason, who is now deceased, did a marvellous job of restoring this village, which had fallen into disrepair in the early 1950s, in close collaboration with Belgian architect Pierre Lamby, whose Peyresq is his life's work.
This was at the request of a certain director of the Beaux-Arts in Namur, who had fallen in love with the place and bought a first house in 1952.
Together with a lawyer friend, they decided to rebuild Peyresq, with the aim of bringing together students, artists and scientists to create a radiant centre of humanism. For 30 years, cohorts of students, most of them Belgian, worked to raise the village from its ruins, with the greatest respect for the site and the spirit of the place.
As a reminder of the humanist nature of the project, each house was named after an artist or scientist: Mistral, Newton, Alain, Darwin or Leonardo da Vinci.
A village-museum that is virtually deserted in winter, Peyresq is reborn from June onwards, welcoming students from the Université Libre de Bruxelles for seminars on subjects as varied as non-linear physics, cosmology, ecology and computer science, as well as Argentine tango courses and plastic arts meetings. Supported by the Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc Foundation and the 'Pro Peyresq' association, these activities take place in each of the restored houses in the village: meeting and conference rooms equipped with the latest technology, a panoramic restaurant and bedrooms for around 70 people.
Winter or summer, Peyresq is well worth a visit: it's the devil if you don't meet one or two (happy and smiling!) of the village's 4 inhabitants: one will tell you his story while another will open the doors of the little Romanesque church, absolutely sober (he's the one with the keys!).
What to see :
The church, recently listed (14th century, late Romanesque)
Inside, note the altar stone and the originality of the pulpit steps.
Boasting exceptional acoustics and a welcome freshness,
The church hosts a number of concerts during the summer.
Accommodation in Peyresq:
1 Gîte and 1 Auberge in La Colle St Michel, 5km away.
You can also rent houses in the village
(contact the Auberge l'Oustalet in La Colle St Michel).
Leisure activities :
Mountain walks (up to Grand Coyer, 2,697 metres).
Mountain biking in summer. Cross-country skiing in winter at La Colle St Michel.
Downhill skiing at La Foux d'Allos.
1 cinema (summer)