The most impressive of Vauban’s principal constructions are : Fort des Salettes, imagined by Vauban in 1692 to occupy the sloping ledge of Le Poët, dominates the town ; Fort des Trois Têtes, pivotal point of the Briançon defence system, is an imposing construction which in 1721 replaced the defensive camp situated on the Plateau des Trois Têtes, judged by Vauban to be of prime importance in the defence of the town ; the position of Fort Dauphin at the same firing height as Fort des Salettes ensured that access to the town via the route from Piedmont was prohibited ; Fort du Randouillet, in a steeper, narrower position than the other forts, extended to three platforms and its main role was to prevent enemy attacks from the summits.
Another military heritage construction near Briançon is the Pont d’Asfeld. The remarkably designed stone bridge across the River Durance has a single arch measuring 40m. A lovely walk from the old town of Briançon lets visitors discover the different fortifications and cross the famous bridge.
The large number of these constructions and the quality of their conservation plunges visitors into a very distinctive universe where history is intermingled with architectural prowess.
Kévin and Zoé tell us about their family trip to discover the fortifications : « We planned to take a full day exploring the forts of the Durance Valley. We started off at the Visitors Centre at Mont-Dauphin and a guided tour of the site – definitely a good choice and an excellent introduction ! The following day we explored the old town of Briançon and climbed up to Fort des Têtes which was a wonderful opportunity to discover the scale of the military heritage buildings and enjoy the spectacular views over the surrounding mountains and the Durance Valley. To finish up, we strolled through the streets of old Briançon visiting little souvenir shops and meeting some very friendly people. »
How to get to Briançon
By air : to Turin (Italy) 153km, Lyon 261km, Marseille 258km
By road : RN85, RN75, RN94 and autoroute A51
By rail : to Montdauphin/Guillestre, TGV to Grenoble, Valence, Aix en Provence"