A long story that continues...
In values of eco-responsibility and quality.
History of the castle
From its origins to today.
The castle of La Robine-sur-Galabre has a long history. It was built somewhere in the heights but abandoned in the 14th century because of its difficult access and maintenance. In the 16th century, after a terrible episode of famine and plague, the village of La Robine rose from its ashes. The castle was rebuilt at that time in its current position, at the confluence of the Galabre and Clouet ravines, erected far enough from the houses to distinguish it and ensure its security. Located along a transhumance route, the original spiral staircase leading to a modest dwelling through a beautiful plastered arched doorway, most likely that of the master, remains from this construction. The lords of the Barras family owned its lands, and in the mid-17th century, the castle was enlarged and took on its current form. From the former “splendor,” there remain the large mullioned windows, the superbly restored fireplace, the arches of the courtyard, and a dovecote at each corner.
In the 18th century, it was the Gaudin-Thoron family who took over the reins of the domain, but the revolutionary episode in our country overturned the lives of the lords whose property and land were seized. This was followed by a long and difficult period. The people struggled, living conditions were precarious, crops were poor, taxes were high, and the villagers left for Digne-les-Bains. It would take until the 1970s for the village to start living again and become a residential town.
The castle, its sheepfold, and its lands have long been divided among several owners. The sheepfold housed a flock of sheep until 1997. The castle building, on the other hand, has had multiple uses, and even housed the village bar until the 2000s! But overall, it has been left without maintenance and is starting to deteriorate.
In 1984, the discovery of an ichthyosaur fossil, a kind of marine dinosaur to simplify, sparked the interest of geological researchers, energizing the entire valley with this new attraction. A geological reserve is created, the geopark, labeled by UNESCO. It is in this context that Jacky and Christine Collieux, enamored with the place, buy the sheepfold and the castle part by part. Together with a few extra pairs of hands from time to time, they undertake to renovate the sheepfold, then the castle. They restore, rebuild, modify for nearly 20 years this exceptional building while preserving its soul.
The fruit of the work of these two lovers of old stones has allowed the rebirth of the castle. Thanks to them, this place, steeped in history, has regained the grandeur of its rank, and for many beautiful years they welcomed vacationers, students, and geologists in the different accommodations now housed in the buildings.
In December 2022, Nathalie and Frédéric, also fallen in love with the place and the region, bought the castle to continue writing its history. They will welcome you in one of the 7 holidays apartments and hope that you too will be seduced by the buildings, accommodations, and the astonishing surrounding landscape, and that you will appreciate the preserved marks of past centuries, still legible on the walls.
Who are we ?
After many life experiences on our own in various parts of France, and then together in Marseille, we decided to change our living environment and find nature and peace around us. That’s how we fell in love with this little corner of France, in a village perched at an altitude of 750 meters, with the sun and blue sky of Provence above it.
For us, everything is (almost) there: the stone and wood of the buildings, the stars in the night sky without any light pollution, the fresh air in the friendly southern climate, the silence… life here unfolds peacefully.
Frédéric, born in Paris, has a distant past as a bartender, then as a consultant in human resources before becoming a director of human resources in international companies. Nathalie, born in Saint-Etienne, has a technical background and worked in quality control department for important companies in the automotive and naval construction industries before switching to outdoor hospitality.
Today, both of us are here to welcome you, share our pleasure of living in these beautifully restored buildings, and advise you on places to visit or hikes in this exceptional territory, from a natural, geological, and artistic point of view, including land art.
Our ecological commitments
Because we are located in the heart of an exceptional heritage, because our environment is beautiful within the UNESCO Geopark of Haute-Provence, because our planet is beautiful and we dream that it will remain so long after our passing, we have decided to act at our level to limit our negative impact. We are not ecological extremists, but we are implementing small things to, we hope, preserve the tomorrow of our Earth, in line with our values. When you stay with us, we invite you to follow our eco-sensitive actions, but you remain free to adhere to them or not. We are also open to your ideas!
Our labels and partners
We have chosen to join the labels, accreditations, groups, and associations that are consistent with our values, as well as those who, like us, are committed to sharing and promoting our beautiful region of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
We have taken the step of classifying our accommodations as “Meublés de tourisme” so that our clients have a reference thanks to the number of star(s) indicating the quality of our gites. The classification, renewable every 5 years, is based on a large number of criteria and becomes a guarantee of the level of comfort, service and quality that we offer. The equipment, services we provide, accessibility, and sustainable development are taken into account by the rating grids established by Atout France, a state operator, to give you an overall view of our products. If you request them, we provide you the control sheet and the results table with confidence and transparency.”
We wanted to get involved in promoting our area centered around Digne-les-Bains and sharing our region, Haute Provence. For this, we have decided to become partners with the Digne Tourism Office and the UNESCO Geopark of Haute Provence. These memberships reflect our commitment to promoting and enhancing the natural surroundings and extraordinary Provençal heritage, whether it be architectural, artistic, or geological.
We have chosen to join the “Gîtes de France” label with whom we share values of hospitality, friendliness, kindness, and solidarity.
Gîtes de France is a French label that promotes rural tourism and offers a network of high-quality, independently-owned vacation rental properties.
But our best label is you, our customers, who have trusted us, with whom we have shared moments and exchanged ideas. You who have spent good times in a friendly, tranquil, and natural environment, here, at our home, at your home!