During the hot air balloon ride above the mountainous region of Lure and Luberon, the commune of Forcalquier, the embankment dam of Laye and the Château de Sauvan unfold before our eyes.
Forcalquier may refer to “source of rocks” or more likely “lime kiln”. The citadel, which is a fortification ensemble, occupies the centre of the town and is marked by the Notre-Dame-de-Provence Chapel. The foundation stone of the chapel was laid in 1868. It was inaugurated on 12 September 1875. The chapel is in neo-byzantine style, having an octagonal plan and a dome, on top of which the statue of Virgin Mary stands. The carillon consisted of twenty bells originally, but now only fifteen remain.
Forcalquier is in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, having an area of 42.76 km2, and 4,707 inhabitants.
The 35m high embankment dam was built in 1963 in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, near Focalquier. It was built for water supply (irrigation and drinking). The reservoir has a volume of 3.5 million m3 and the basin measures approximately 130km2. At the downstream, the river la Laye first merges with la Largue, then with la Durance after 15km, passing through four communes (Dauphin, Saint Même, Villeneuve and Volx). The dam underwent a special overhaul in 1999 to improve its capacity against flash floods after the review of hydrologic data.
It is an 18th century manor which has been declared as a historical monument since 1957. The Ministry of Culture classified the gardens of the manor as jardins remarquables in 2005. Since 30 July 2003, they have been protected as historical monument.
The manor represents one of the rare examples of classical architecture in the south of Alps, and is nicknamed the petit Trianon provençal. Standing amid the ancient trees, its 18th century façade is properly restored. The furniture dating from 17th -19th centuries enhance the beauty of the interior. The manor is located in Mane-en-Provence, near Focalquier.