In marked contrast to the relatively untouristy Queyras, Briançon and the other towns and villages on the northern side of the Parc National des Écrins are crawling with people in summer. If you come by car the best thing is to stop at the Champ de Mars at the top of the hill and look around from there. The old town, mainly eighteenth-century, is enclosed within a set of Vauban's stout walls, which you enter by the Porte Pignerol, from where the narrow main street known as the grande gargouille because of the "gurgling" stream running down the middle tips steeply downhill, bordered by ancient houses. To the right, is the sturdy, plain collegiate church, designed under the supervision of Vauban, again with an eye to defence. Beyond it there's a fantastic view from the walls, especially on a clear starry night, when the snows on the surrounding barrier of mountains give off a silvery glow. Vauban's Citadel above the Porte Pignerol, the highest point of the fortifications, can be visited for free at any time, and there are also daily guided tours in July and August at 3pm.
Pages in section ‘Briancon’: Practicalities, Clarée valley, Parc National des Écrins, North of the Écrins, Briançon to Queyras.
Alternate spellings:: France, Brianšon, Briançon, Briancon
|© Rough Guides 2008||Printed from http://france-for-visitors.com/alps/briancon/index.html||About this website|