The Project At the Château de La Barben, Rocher Mistral promotes Provençal culture
In Provence, there is a thousand-year-old castle whose stones tell the story of the history and culture of this old region of France. It is here that the Mistral Rock was born and its thousand characters spanning the centuries: peasants, knights, lords, monks, craftsmen, heroes of Provence, they tell new generations about the deeds and traditions that made the history of our beautiful Provence.
At the crossroads of Aix-en-Provence, Marseille and the Luberon, in the heart of the Provençal countryside, welcome to the castle of La Barben and enter a world of stories and heroes from the past. A world where a cultural heritage is passed by the mistral and the hot sun of the southern France. Among the peasants and the craftsmen, on the market square or in the shadow of the oldest castle in Provence, Rocher Mistral immerses you in the heart of a cultural, environmental, artisanal and heritage project that is not just a theme park.
The castle of La Barben, in the heart of Provencal culture
Thanks to outstanding shows, Rocher Mistral offers you a unique tour of Provence. In the castle, in its vast interiors and garden, discover the adventures of Claude de Forbin or experience the Cascavèu revolt in the XVIIᵉ century. A dramatic and immersive experience unique in France, combining incredible stories with cutting-edge technology.
Rocher Mistral’s purpose is to promote the culture of Provence. Inspired by the rich history of the castle of La Barben and the great artists of the region, such as Frédéric Mistral, Alphonse Daudet, Marcel Pagnol and Marius Granet, Rocher Mistral puts at the heart of its project magnificent shows for families to discover a unique place that is intimately linked to the great history of France.
The castle of La Barben, home to the fauna and flora of Provence
It is in a setting of 400 hectares of shrubland that Rocher Mistral is developing an environmental and agricultural project to protect biodiversity and preserve the knowledge of Provençal farmers. In the middle of the Massif des Costes, between the Touloubre river and the Maurel valley, this vast estate is a wonderful reserve for the local fauna and flora. Rocher Mistral is developing a variety of agricultural activities in this area: 150 beehives, two breeds of Arles merinos and Rove goats, 8 hectares of vines and, as of 2022, the reopening of the castle’s former vegetable garden to market gardening.
Rocher Mistral is helping to safeguard this unique natural heritage in the Bouches-du-Rhône. In all, 80 hectares of the estate will gradually be converted to agricultural use: a real challenge which must bring together the age-old practices of our ancestors with the agro-ecology of the future.
A thousand-year-old castle restored for the next 150 years: Rocher Mistral takes up the challenge of restoring this essential heritage in Provence.
With original creations, Rocher Mistral tells the story of Provencal history and culture in a way that is unique in the world, to travel through time and Provence.
With its 400 hectares of scrubland, Rocher Mistral is developing an ambitious environmental and agroecological project to safeguard biodiversity and know-how.
Thanks to its magnificent Provençal market, Rocher Mistral is keen to promote and pass on Provençal crafts.
At the Château de La Barben, one of the most beautiful markets in Provence
There used to be a whole bunch of small farmers who used to come and go from the mill to the village, who came down from the farms in the shadow of the castle. These were the same people that Alphonse Daudet describes in his famous Letters from my mill: these craftsmen, these millers, these shepherds, who have disappeared until now like the old Master Cornille. Today they are coming back to the castle of La Barben.
On the Provencal market and, from 2022, in the Provencal village, come and meet these endangered skills that used to give rhythm to the daily life of the whole region. Rocher Mistral places at the heart of its project the development and enhancement of traditional craft activities: these are the ones that supply the site’s restaurants, the market stalls and the future Provençal village.
The castle of La Barben, a jewel of Provencal heritage
A real architectural treasure in Provence, the Château de La Barben is the witness of 1000 years of history. From the monks of the Saint-Victor abbey, to the Forbin family and the love affairs of Pauline Borghese, a whole part of France and Provence lives here. A masterpiece of medieval and neo-medieval architecture, this historic monument owes a large number of frescoes to the painter Marius Granet and its gardens to André Le Nôtre, gardener of Versailles.
Seriously affected by rain and weather in the XXᵉ century, the Château de La Barben is now getting a new lease of life. Thanks to major repair and restoration work, the durability of this unique heritage is assured for the next 150 years: every terrace, all the roofs, the old stables, the Cordoba leathers and the numerous paintings of the castle have thus been renovated.
The legacy of Frédéric Mistral and the Félibrige
Rocher Mistral owes its name to Frédéric Mistral, founder of the Félibrige. The Provençal writer by excellence worked all his life to formalise, protect and transmit the language and culture of Provence. The first writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature for a work published in a regional language in 1904, he gave Provence a national and international influence: Lamartine, Daudet, Gounod, all the great artistic personalities of the time participated in making Mistral one of the greatest poets of his time.
Today, the Félibrige continues its work to protect and transmit Provençal culture and, more broadly, to promote regional languages, which are specific to France. It is under the guidance of the Félibrige that Rocher Mistral is developing its project and thanks to this collaboration, the park gives the general public an authentic vision of Provence.
Vianney d'Alançon, cultural entrepreneur at the Château de La Barben
Passionate about heritage and history, Vianney d’Alançon bought the castle of La Barben in 2019 with the aim of turning it into a park dedicated to Provence. With a previous experience in the field of history and heritage at the Fortress of Saint-Vidal in Auvergne, he is now taking up this new challenge to enhance and promote the riches of historic Provence.