French commune
région=Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
maire=Daniel Spagnou
alt moy=485 m
alt mini=448 m
alt maxi=1,145 m
dens= 139

Sisteron (Occitan: "Sisteron" in classical norm or "Sisteroun" in Mistralian norm) a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. The inhabitants are called the 'Sisteronnais'.


Sisteron is situated on the banks of the River Durance just after the confluences of the rivers Buëch and Sasse. It is sometimes called the 'Porte de la Provence' (The Gateway to Provence) because it is in a narrow gap between two long mountain ridges (Baume/Gache and the Lure mountain/Moulard).

It is 135 km from Marseille, also 135 km from Grenoble, 180 km from Nice and 40 km from Forcalquier.


Sisteron has been inhabited for 4000 years. The Romans used the route through Sisteron as can be shown by a Latin inscription in the rocks near the road to Authon. It escaped the barbarian invasions after the fall of Rome, but was ravaged by the Saracens. It was first fortified by the Counts of Forcalquier in the 11th century and later was the northern boundary of the domain of the Counts of Provence. In 1483 during the reign of Louis XI, Sisteron re-joined the kingdom of France. Around this time there were seven plagues that killed two thirds of the population. Between 1562 and 1594 the town and its citadelle was fought over by Protestants and Catholics including two sieges. During this time the walls of the town were built. The plague returned in 1630, and typhus in 1744, killing many of the town's population.

During the French Revolution the town remained Royalist. Consequently when Napoleon arrived on his march north after his escape from Elba in 1815, the town ignored him and let him through.

On 15 August 1944 French B-26 Marauder bombers and American B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 42nd Bomber Wing tried to destroy the railway bridge and the road bridge which span the Durance. The weather was unfavorable and the bridges were not destroyed. A bomber during a manoeuvre to avoid a collision accidentally dropped several bombs on the town. including a full church, causing about 100 fatalities and seriously damaged the citadel. On August 17, the French aircraft returned and destroyed the bridges.

Ecclesiastical history

Johannes, the first known Bishop of Sisteron, appears early in the sixth century. Owing to the ungracious reception accorded Bishop Gérard by the Chapter of Sisteron, the bishops of that see remained at Forcalquier from 1061 to 1169 and, until the time of the Revolution, the church at Forcalquier bore the title of cathedral.
Laffittau, the Jesuit who was an agent of Cardinal Dubois, and also an historian, occupied the see of Sisteron from 1719 to 1764.

By the Concordat of 1801, the diocese of Digne was made to include: the two departments of Hautes-Alpes and Basses-Alpes, in addition to the former diocese of Digne; the Archdiocese of Embrun; the diocese of Gap, diocese of Sisteron and diocese of Senez; a very considerable part of the diocese of Glandèves and diocese of Riez; and fourteen parishes in the Archdiocese of Aix and the diocese of Apt. In 1822 Gap was made an episcopal see and, thus divested of the department of the Hautes Alpes, the present Diocese of Digne covers the territory formerly included in the dioceses of Digne, Senez, Glandèves, Riez, and Sisteron.


The town has several important buildings including the citadel and the 12th century former Sisteron Cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Thyrsus ("Cathédrale Notre Dame des Pommiers et Saint Thyrse").

Many tourists also visit the town because of its climate (300 days of sunshine each year), quaint narrow streets, the beautiful surrounding countryside, its lido and the airfields at Vaumeilh, Motte du Caire and Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban which are dedicated to the sport of gliding. There is an annual festival with many events throughout the summer months. There is a market every Wednesday. A long distance walk, the GR 6 ("Grande Randonnée") passes east-west through Sisteron.


Sisteron is served by the A51 autoroute, which now by-passes the town, eliminating it as a notorious 'bottle-neck' for traffic. There is also a railway station on the line from Marseille to Briançon and Grenoble.


*The poet Paul Arène (1843-1896) was born in the town.
*Louis Antoine Jullien (1812- 1860), popular music conductor and composer of light music, was born in Sisteron [cite book |last= Faul |first= Michel |title= Louis Jullien, musique,spectacle et folie au XIXe siècle |publisher= Atlantica |year= 2006 |id = ISBN 2-35165-038-7 ] [ [ Louis Antoine Jullien] ]

ee also

* Route Napoléon


External links

*fr icon [ Town of Sisteron council]
*fr icon [ Additional town information]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Sisteron —   [sistə rɔ̃], Stadt im Département Alpes de Haute Provence, Frankreich, an einer malerischen Engstelle des Durancetals (Kluse von Sisteron) gelegen, 6 600 Einwohner. Sisteron wird von einer mittelalterlichen Burg überragt …   Universal-Lexikon

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  • Sisteron — (spr. ßist róng), Arrondissementshauptstadt im franz. Depart. Niederalpen, 483–518 m ü. M., am Fuß eines hohen Felsens und am rechten Ufer der Durance, die hier den Buech aufnimmt, an der Mittelmeerbahn, hat eine ausgelassene Zitadelle, Reste… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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  • Sisteron — 44° 11′ 28″ N 5° 56′ 50″ E / 44.1911111111, 5.94722222222 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sisteron — Original name in latin Sisteron Name in other language Segustero, Sisteron, shisutoron, xi si te long, Систерон, Сістерон State code FR Continent/City Europe/Paris longitude 44.18758 latitude 5.94623 altitude 487 Population 7605 Date 2012 01 18 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database