Carolyne Kauser-AbbottFrench Decor & GardensInspire

Visit Salagon Remarkable Gardens and Priory in Mane

Close to Forcalquier, the artistic centre of the Alpes de Haute Provence is a truly remarkable historic site in the village of Mane. The Salagon priory and its gardens with over 1,700 plants. The day we visited was a blinding, hot July day when not as much as an ant wants to venture out in the heat. However, the chance to walk through a place inhabited since Roman times was irresistible.

Salagon Remarkable Gardens Priory

Garden of modern times ©C Brau for Salgagon, musée et jardins

Located just outside the village of Mane, the site has changed through the ages from a Gallo-Roman villa (1st century AD) to a museum and historical monument since 1981. However, traces of the earliest inhabitants date to the Neolithic period, 10,000–4,500 BC.

Salagon Remarkable Gardens

Your journey at Salagon begins at the modern reception area, where you find the ticket office, washrooms, a small boutique, picnic tables, and some information on the site. After buying your entry tickets, walk towards the priory building past the field of lavender and other aromatic plants towards the stone-walled entry.

Salagon Remarkable Gardens Priory

©C Brau for Salgagon, musée et jardins

At that point, you enter the more formal gardens, which include beds dedicated to Medieval plants, fragrant species, medicinal herbs, plants from around the world, and even a space dedicated to plants that existed before any North American influence. Even during July, we found some cool, shaded spots to sit and enjoy the vegetation. Surrounding the formal gardens are less manicured spaces with native species such as willows and white oak trees.

Garden of modern times Salgagon

Garden of modern times ©C Brau for Salgagon, musée et jardins

The Salagon Priory

Built with local materials, such as fieldstone, the priory is 50m (160ft) x 30m (98 ft). There is a 12th-century church, a residence and several agricultural structures. The outer buildings surround a cobblestone courtyard (cour caladée). While only part of the priory is open to the public, you can enter the church, where there is often a temporary art display. Take a moment to look at the stained glass windows and enjoy the peaceful setting.

“The story begins in the Neolithic period, when huts were built on an already fertile site. Traces of them can still be seen today. Next, a Roman villa was built. From late Antiquity, a Christian site replaced the villa. The buildings we can see today bear traces of all the changes made since the construction of the first surviving building, the church, which dates from the eleventh to fourteenth centuries.” ~ Salagon, musée et jardins.

Salagon Remarkable Gardens Priory

Garden of modern times (Americas) ©C Brau for Salgagon, musée et jardins

Information for your Visit

Salagon, musée et jardins (website)
Le Prieuré
04300 Mane
Phone: +33 (0)4 92 75 70 50
Open February – December 15th but check seasonal hours before your visit.
The suggested time for a visit is 1-2 hours.

More Remarkable Gardens

The label Jardin remarquable (Remarkable Garden) started in 2004 to celebrate and document France’s magnificent gardens. A Jardin Remarquable must meet the established criteria. The requirements include integration in the site, a blend of vegetation, quality of the location, engaging use of plants and, where applicable, providing historical interest.

Forty-nine (49) gardens in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur make the grade for Jardin Remarquable at the time of writing. However, the region has hundreds of other beautiful gardens and parks.


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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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