Introduction to the Hautes­-Alpes town of Briançon

Fortified town of Briançon

The fortified town of Briançon lies 18km from Névache, at the meeting point of five valleys. Occupying a strategic position at an altitude of 1326m, the upper town of Briançon is a unique example of mountain fortification perched on a peak high in the Alps. Encircled by a system of ramparts designed by Vauban, the entire town itself is surrounded by a series of high­-altitude forts making it unassailable.

Vauban’s Briançon fortifications inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List

This majestic and imposing site provides an opportunity to understand something of the genius for adaptation for which Louis XIV’s military engineer was famous.

Although part of the defences were built after Vauban’s death, they were entirely in keeping with the principles he set out before 1734.

Vauban’s outstanding ability is the reason for the inclusion of the fortifications in Briançon, together with 11 other of his sites, on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List.

Southern ramparts and façades Briançon
Southern ramparts and façades - ©L. Galloppe

Thanks to their authenticity, their high state of preservation, their representative status and the development and public­-awareness policy applied to them, seven sites in the commune of Briançon have been recognised on the world stage.

For information and tours visit www.serre-chevalier.com/en/winter/ ­ Source: Service du Patrimoine de Briançon (Heritage department)

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