Entrance to old fortified centre of Briançon

Briançon is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. It is the sub-prefecture of the department. At 1,350 meters it is the second highest city in Europe after Davos. It is built on a plateau nucleated around confluence of the Durance and the Guisane. The historical centre is a strongly fortified town, built by Vauban to defend the region from Austrians in the 17th century. Its streets are very steep and narrow, though picturesque. Briançon lies at the foot of the descent from the Col de Montgenèvre, giving access to Turin, so a great number of other fortifications have been constructed on the heights around it, especially towards the east. The Fort Janus is no less than 4,000 ft (1,200 m). above the town. On 8 July 2008, several buildings of Briançon were classified by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, as part of the Fortifications of Vauban group. Among them is the place-forte of Mont-Dauphin, also in the Hautes-Alpes department. These pieces of art were designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633-1707), a military engineer of King Louis XIV.

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