Time: 7.5h. Up: 690m. Down: 960m.
Distance: 25km. Difficulty: easy.

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Stage 79: Briançonnet (1007m) to Castellane (738m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

According to INSEE (L’Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques), there were 60,561,200 people in France on Jan 1, 2005. Well, after another day of hiking through the vast empty forests of Provence you are going to be wondering where they have all gone!

Today you formally leave the Départment des Alpes Maritimes behind and reenter the Alpes de Haute Provence (last seen at the beginning of Stage 65), but nothing changes: there are still woods, still ridges and valleys, and the land remains still and empty.

One feels that an industrious folk like the Swiss might have made more out of the region, but that the French, perhaps being a little less inclined to work and a little more inclined to enjoy, and moreover having so many other attractive areas to choose from, have simply decided to ignore it.

But with Castellane you are coming to the end of this emptiness: soon you will reach les Gorges du Verdon, the gateway to the heart of Provence.

Head west from Briançonnet, mostly along back roads, to le Prignolet (1044m). From here descend southwest into the Vallon de St.-Pierre and then head up the valley to the village of Soleilhas (1127m). Next head northwest over the low Col de St.-Barnabé (1365m), then west first along the GR4, then the GR4-variant through Chaudanne to Castellane.

Alternatives: none.
Map: IGN-3542OT Castellane.

The House to House blog... stage 79.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: picnic or have lunch in Soleilhas after about 4h.
Dinner and overnight: there are several places to stay and eat at in Castellane (for the complete list, see here (click on séjourner)).

Getting There and Back
Briançonnet: from Nice, where there is a regular railway station, take the steam train to Puget-Théniers, from which you can take a taxi the 30km to Briançonnet (for taxi information, see here, for steam train information, see here, and for regular trains, see the SNCF).
Castellane: buses go some days from Castellane to Digne-les-Bains (1h) and Marseilles (3.5h), where there are railway stations (bus information here). You can also take a taxi the 37km to Saint-André-Les-Alpes, where you can catch the steam train, or the 77km to Les Arcs, where there is a regular railway station.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Briançonnet, centered on Castellane.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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