HAMEAU DE LA CLAPPE (CHAUDON–NORANTE) / DIGNE-LES-BAINS / MALIJAI
On Saturday 4 March, Napoleon paused just 3km from Digne-les-Bains, in front of Les Thermes where he invited his staff to join him in from Rocher du Mal Assis (Rock of the Ill-Seated Man), saying: “Come rest here, gentlemen, even if we are ill seated!” In Digne, Napoleon stopped for lunch at Hôtel Le Petit Paris before resuming his journey to Malijai where he spent the night in the Castle. Fearing a surprise Royalist attack, he sent Cambronne and a hundred horsemen on Route des Alpes to Sisteron, held by Royalist forces. The town had to be taken at all costs. Napoleon slept part of the night in an armchair on the first floor of the
Castle and the rest in the Castle park with his troops, in case of an attack by Royalist forces.
Today, the area of Digne, at the confluence of three valleys between the Alps and lavender fields, is the starting point for many treks on foot or on horseback, including the famous GR406, Route Napoléon’s historic itinerary. Renowned for its Spa and waters, it has recently become a haven for Land Art thanks to the Art Trail devised by the contemporary artist Andy Goldsworthy. Malijai is remarkable for its Castle. Just 5km south of Malijai, stands the village of Les Mées, famous for its spectacular hoodoos (rock formations, also known as “fairy chimneys”, characteristic of “badlands”), slender spires of rock topped by harder rock stretching over more than 100 metres above the village. It is also the largest olive oil-producing commune in Upper Provence with its 30,000 olive trees.
Several oil mills and olive groves are open to visitors.
• The Castle of Malijai and its Park, where the troops pitched camp on the night of 4 to 5 March 1815
• GR406 (hiking trail)
• Le Grand Paris – Digne-les-Bains: www.hotel-grand-paris.com
• Villa Gaia*** – Digne-les-Bains: www.hotel-villagaia-digne.com
• Hôtel de Provence** – Digne-les-Bains: www.hotel-alpes-provence.com
• Gîte d’Étape et de séjour Domaine de la Clappe Route du col du Corobin Chaudon Norante: www.domainedelaclappe.fr