Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, or simply Moustiers, (Mostiers Santa Maria in Occitan) is a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in southeastern France, a part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region and considered one of the "most beautiful villages of France".
The village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, seen from above
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Alain Archiloque|
|Area1||87.97 km2 (33.97 sq mi)|
|• Density||8.1/km2 (21/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|INSEE/Postal code||04135 /04360|
474–1,729 m (1,555–5,673 ft) |
(avg. 631 m or 2,070 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
It lies at the western entrance to the Gorges du Verdon. The village has been a centre of the pottery trade, especially faïence, for centuries. A spring flows out of the cliff and creates a waterfall in town, providing water power.
The village was built on platform terraces a hundred or so metres up the side of a limestone cliff. At twilight when the sun on a clear day strikes the south-facing cliff, a diffuse pink light glows across the village..
Above the town, a gold-painted star hangs on a 225m-long chain suspended between two cliffs. Its origin, according to a legend popularised by Provençal poet Frédéric Mistral, lies in the 10th century; the original star and chain have been replaced several times since then. The current star is about 50 years old. Ten years ago it fell after the chain snapped, and was rehung using a helicopter.
According to the legend, during the Crusades the knight Bozon de Blacas was held prisoner by the Saracens; he vowed to hang a star over his village if he was able to return. No one knows how the star was originally hung there.
Twin towns — Sister citiesEdit
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is twinned with:
- "Histoire". Office de Tourisme de Moustiers Sainte Marie. Archived from the original on 24 February 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
- "The village of Moustiers Sainte Marie". La Bastide de Moustiers. Archived from the original on 2006-04-29. Retrieved 2006-06-18.
- Collins, Sarah (March 3, 2002). "A Wild Road Follows A Wild River". New York Times, Travel Section. Retrieved 2006-08-30.
- "Tourist information in English". Archived from the original on 2011-01-16. Retrieved 2010-10-10.