It was for the mendicant order at Minimes, instituted by Saint Vincent de Paul, that Marquis Melchior de Forbin Janson founded in 1613 the Couvent des Minimes at Mane in what became the Alpes de Haute Provence.
The culture and study of plants then became an important part in the life of Le Couvent. Louis Feuillée, Louis XIV's botanist studied there and wrote two treatise.
During his expeditions in South America he studied new species of plants such as the nasturtium and the fuschia which he brought back to France.
After the French Revolution, Le Couvent des Minimes remained unoccupied until 1862, when Canon Terrasson the archpriest of Forcalquier undertook the restoration and transformed it into a hospice.
Mr Saint Vincent who worked on the transformation of Le Couvent did not hide his enthousiasm : "Les Minimes ! Who can imagine this wonderful site, surrounded and protected by the mountains of the Alpes.
Les Minimes are separated from the mountain chain by a large plain, which in spring ressembles a sea of flowers. Pink or white almond trees in all their finery. Narcissi, different coloured anemone, white daisies emerge from the greenery.
Everywhere perfumed hawthorn blossom.
Everything is in flower, everything is pure delight for the eye".
A few years later a community of Franciscan sisters from the Missionaries of Mary settled there. They looked after the hospice and the residents.
Between missions abroad, the Sisters cultivated the terraced gardens where they planted fruit trees and vines. These crops allowed them to feed the residents and restore Sisters returning from tropical countries.
In 1999 the Sisters left Le Couvent which stayed unoccupied until its transformation into a place of relaxation and well being the Couvent des Minimes Hôtel and Spa.