The stone giants of the Alps overflown by CNVV gliders.

These stone monuments dominate the entire Durance valley. For dozens of kilometers around, they are a landmark for local residents. And the closer you get, the more grandiose the Pénitents des Mées become. Their shapes evoke a thousand and one images for passing travellers. There are many legends, and that’s where the name Pénitents comes from.

According to myth, these lined-up figures are monks punished for watching women bathing in the Durance. To find out the real story behind these mysterious rocks, you need to get up close and personal. They are made up of a multitude of small stones drained by streams and assembled over time. This geological formation is called a pudding, in reference to pudding, the English cake made of small pieces of fruit.

For the best view of the Penitents, you’ll need to take to the skies in a glider. Just a stone’s throw away is one of France’s most famous airfields and the Centre National de Vol à Voile, which welcomes glider pilots from near and far to discover the beauty of the Alpes de Haute Provence.

TF1 | Reportage P. Géli, M. Dubois