The Alps of High Provence departement (formerly called the Low Alps) is the hinterland of Provence, a Provence wilder, a Provence of the soil and lavenders, a diversified rural territory, a transition between the Mediterranean climate and the Alps. Digne-les-bains is the prefecture of the department, Manosque its most active town. We can distinguish several territories: Haute Provence including the western end of the Luberon massif, the Lure mountain and the Valensole plateau, with the towns of Forcalquier, Manosque, Sisteron, the characterful villages of Banon, Simiane la Rotonde, the Gorges d'Oppedette, Cruis, Mane or Dauphin. The Verdon, its lakes (Sainte-Croix lake, Esparron lake, Castillon lake) and its magnificent gorges, one of the great natural wonders of France, with the villages of Castellane, Riez, Moustiers Sainte-Marie. To the west, the Parc du Mercantour extends partly over the Alpes de Haute Provence near the towns of Allos, Colmars-les-Alpes and Barcelonnette.