The French town of Digne-les-Bains, known only as Digne, has a population of over 17 000 people. Digne is the capital of the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
The city is forever marked by the era of the Middle Ages. In this town, Emperor Napoleon sometimes stopped to enjoy lunch. Digne City is a popular tourist destination for lovers of beautiful buildings and romance worldwide. Among the attractions of the city are the famous thermal baths, which are the cause of the second part of the city name.
The hot springs of Digne-les-Bains have been used since the times of antiquity. After the Romans left the city, the popularity of the baths, built around hot springs, faded. Today, tourists are attracted by modern baths, built in 1982, which are located by the river Eaux-Chaudes. The city boasts eight hot springs and one cold one, that spring from the hills of St Pancarace.
Water has a temperature of forty-two degrees, contains beneficial minerals like calcium, lime, minerals and many other slightly radioactive ones too. The baths are recommended for people who suffer from respiratory problems, and people who suffer from rheumatism. In Digne-les-Bains is grown lavender, for which the city is known.
In the first century BC Digne, who was then known as Dinia, was the central settlement of the Brodiontii, who were defeated by the Emperor Augustus.
In the sixth century fortifications were built because of the frequent incursions of the barbarians. Nowadays most of fortifications have disappeared, only here and there one can see remnants of the former greatness of the fortifications.
The city suffered from the wars of religion. During the period from 1562 to 1595 it was destroyed and its inhabitants were killed. The population managed to survive the war, but was almost entirely destroyed by an epidemic of plague in 1629. 85% of residents of the city died from the disease.
In 1851 peasants rose in revolt against Napoleon III, who occupied the city, because it decided to become a seat of its provincial government.
Among the landmarks of the city is the home-museum of Alexandra David-Neel. She is famous that in 1924, she managed to infiltrate the forbidden for Europeans at the time Tibet and live there for two months as a beggar. Then she returned to Digne and lived in the city until the end of her days. Traveling to Tibet influenced Alexandra David-Neel so well that she died after having celebrated her one hundred and first birthday.
The Museum of Religious Arts is located in the chapel. It presents interesting exhibits relating to the history of religion and the art of building and decoration of the temples.
Museum Gassendi is located in the hospice of the nineteenth century. This is the old City Museum of Digne. There are archaeological artifacts, objects related to the history of the region, research facilities and valuable paintings, created by French masters.
The Museum of War is located in downtown Paradis and you can see interesting objects associated with different French wars.
The largest geological park in Europe is situated near the town of Digne. It has an impressive collection of fossils. The park lies among picturesque waterfalls and streams. Among the ancient fossils can be seen live tropical aquarium fish and Mediterranean fish. The park has a place called butterfly garden that attracts many visitors, especially children.