THE PROVENCE GALLERY

    
 

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RIEZ  

The Alps of High Provence 

Population: 1700  Height: 520m

Riez is 13 km from Valensole, 10 km from Moustier St Marie and 48 km from Digne.

In the heart of the plateau of Valensole which covers 800sq. km, Riez stands out because of the historic character of the houses of the village and its natural animation, in particular the picturesque market of Wednesday and Saturday morning.  A cocktail of different people come together,  authentic Riezois and tourists of multiple nationalities.  Today artists, potters, and traders carry on this market tradition.       

The main street exudes an authentic medieval atmosphere created by the narrowness of the little streets which are linked by alley, passages covered under houses, and high facades of the ancestral   buildings where formerly shopkeepers were buzy.  The Hotel Mazan and duplicate house facades given an original picture of the rich architecture of the Renaissance.

Riez is towered over by a tubular hill which overhangs the confluence of three valleys, through which flows trickling rivers.  These approaches were used to connect with the Roman empire in Haute Provence, Auguste founded the summer camp at Reii Apollinares a crossroads linking Aix  and Frejus to Haute Provence.

Four monolithic granite columns, surmounted by a sculptured architrave, the remains of a temple dating back to the 1st century AD.  On the ruins of a Roman thermal resort, a baptistere was   erected in the 5th century with antique materials recycled;  this work remains one of the rare early Christian buildings of Provence, although its dome was reconstructed in the 12th century.  The 14th century bequeaths us the vestiges of beautiful military architecture, sections of wall including a clock tower, the Sansons gate and the Ayguiere gate.  These works reveal the technical knowledge of construction using local materials, pebbles and river sand, not using cut flintstone, more rare,  therefore more expensive, except for the important parts.

 

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