Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, department (1990 pop. 132,400), SE France; formerly Basses-Alpes dept. Digne is the capital.
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (Occitan: Aups d'Auta Provença) is a French department in the south of France, it was formerly part of the province of Provence.


Nord-de-Provence was one of the 83 original departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was renamed Haute-Provence and Basses-Alpes. On December 8, 1793, the department of Vaucluse was created from parts of the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône, Drôme, and Basses-Alpes.

On April 13, 1970, the department of Basses-Alpes was renamed Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.


Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is a mountainous region with peaks over 8,000 feet. The climate is very dry and arid but irrigation allows for a prosperous fruit-growing industry.

It is surrounded by the French departments of Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Vaucluse, and Drôme, as well as Italy.

Rivers include: Durance, Verdon, Bléone, Ubaye, Var, Buëch, Jabron, Largue.

Arrondissements and cantons

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is subdivided into 4 arrondissements, 30 cantons and 200 communes.

Arrondissement Canton # of communes
Barcelonnette Barcelonnette 11
Le Lauzet-Ubaye 5
Castellane Allos-Colmars 6
Annot 7
Castellane 7
Entrevaux 6
Saint-André-les-Alpes 6
Digne-les-Bains Barrême 8
Digne-les-Bains-Est 4
Digne-les-Bains-Ouest 10
La Javie 6
Les Mées 6
Mézel 8
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie 3
Riez 9
Seyne 8
Valensole 4
Forcalquier Banon 9
Forcalquier 10
Manosque-Nord 3
Manosque-Sud-Est 3
Manosque-Sud-Ouest 3
La Motte-du-Caire 13
Noyers-sur-Jabron 7
Peyruis 4
Reillanne 8
Saint-Étienne-les-Orgues 8
Sisteron 5
Turriers 7
Volonne 9

See also: Communes of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department


Inhabitants of this department are called Bas-Alpins.

The population was once distributed fairly evenly across the department, both in the mountainous regions and the agricultural ones. However, near the end of the 19th century it markedly decreased due to rural exodus to the cities. It fell from about 150,000 to below 100,000 after World War I. It was not until 1960, that the population began to grow again, from 84,335 in 1968 to 139,561 in 1999. However, although the population figures are about what they were before, the distribution is very different. The population is now centered around the larger towns, Manosque and Digne-les-Bains, and the mountainous regions are very sparsely populated.

The arrondissements of Barcelonette and Castellane are the two least heavily populated of France, the only ones with under 10,000 inhabitants. The town of Castellane is the smallest subprefecture of France.


The beautiful scenery provides the background to many activities and sights. Eleven villages have been classified as having special architectural character. In particular there are:

In summer many aerial sports use the surrounding mountains such as gliding, hang gliding and paragliding. In winter there is extensive skiing at eleven ski resorts.

See also

External links

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