Summer School: Practical Info

Location

The village of Peyresq is a rustic, picturesque site in the French Alps (Alpes de Haute-Provence) situated about 1.500m above sea level. The village is partly owned and managed by the European Association for Culture and for Artistic and Scientific Humanism Peyresq Foyer d’Humanisme, a Brussels-based philanthropic foundation which has assigned the village as a location for scientific and cultural meetings.

Peyresq (44.0978° N, 6.5561° E) is roughly 100km north of Nice, but the road winds along a river valley and weaves through villages on the way, so the trip from Nice takes about 1½ to 2 hours by road. The hamlet huddles on a precipice at the head of a long valley giving a wonderful view to the south. It is 1530m above sea level.

Travelling to Peyresq

To get to Peyresq by public transport, the easiest method is to first travel to Nice and then take the picturesque train, called the Chemins de Fer de Provence, which goes from Nice through the mountains to Digne. Here is the timetable for the Chemins de Fer de Provence.

Leave the train at Annot, from where we arrange transport to Peyresq. Important! Please do not leave the train at the stop called “Peyresq”, because this is in the river valley from where you would have to climb an hour uphill to the village!

Note that, in Nice, the train leaves from the “Gare de Provence”, which is about 10 minutes walk from the main station, Gare de Nice-Ville. You can use this map for your walk between the two stations.

If you do not have the time to take the train from the Gare de Provence in Nice here is the map of the location of the Gare in Lingostière which is just outside Nice.

By car it takes about 1.5 hours from Nice.

Alternate Travel Route: Marseille

Direct trains to Marseille are available from Madrid, London, Frankfurt, Brussels, etc. When there is no direct Eurostar, then changing in Paris or Lille is possible.

If people come early enough during the day, then the bus from Aix-en-Provence TGV (just 15 min before Marseille) is an option for reaching Digne <https://services-zou.maregionsud.fr/fr/horaires/Zou-LER/Bus/ligne/LER-26/direction/RETURN/914#>; with the 13:25 departure, it is possible to reach the bus/train in Digne for St.André les Alpes and Annot. Anyone flying into Marseille airport does not need to enter into the city; rather, they can reach a direct bus from the airport.

Anyone arriving too late in the day for the 13:25 bus could spend the night in Digne or Marseille. From Marseille, they would take the 7:00 bus: <https://services-zou.maregionsud.fr/fr/horaires/Zou-LER/Bus/ligne/LER-28/direction/OUTWARD/916>.

All this works for the way back of course as well. The Madrid and Frankfurt TGVs from Marseille leave in the morning, so people travelling to these cities would have to spend the night in Marseille.

Domestic Duties

A small staff helps to make our stay in Peyresq even more agreeable by tending to the meals and washing up, but you and your room mate (students share rooms) will be responsible for making your beds and keeping your room clean. There is a washing machine in the hamlet that we can use.

Money

There are no shops in the hamlet and nothing to spend money on, so the absence of a cash machine will not be a problem. Please bring some cash with you, however, since we like to give the staff a small gratuity for their support, and although the bar is free (!) we also like to leave something to help to compensate for our consumption.

Internet and Cell Service

There is (usually) access to the internet through the Wi-Fi in the lecture theatre, but bandwidth is tiny, so do not expect to Skype – or do much more than up- and down-load email. (An unsubstantiated rumour floats around that there might be better internet access in one particular building in a village that is 25 minutes’ drive away.) If there is a thunderstorm we will unplug all electrical equipment to prevent a lightning strike frying all the electronics.

Cell phone coverage is good in parts of the hamlet and absent in others, but you can (usually) depend on being able to use your mobile phone from somewhere in Peyresq.

Local Public Transit

The hamlet lies 4km up the road from the nearest settlement, which consists mainly of a bus stop and a bar-restaurant. The closest place to buy anything (pens, cigarettes, toothpaste or aspirins for example) is about 25 minutes’ drive away, and to get there you’d have to negotiate a lift with someone who has a car – that is, with one of the few organisers or lecturers who might have rented one and – rarer still – who can be persuaded to leave Peyresq even for an hour. If you want – say – gluten-free cereal for breakfast, you’d better bring your own.

In Summary

  • Facilities: fresh air, nature and companionship.
  • Activities: walking, nature-related pastimes, and depending on what is on offer from the talent in the summer school, yoga, dancing, singing – and excellent discussions from breakfast until late.
  • You can find a little more about Peyresq and its history here: http://www.peiresc.org/Bienvenue/Welcome.html.