Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in July 2008, the medieval town dates to around 800 BC. Its imposing forts and defences, much enlarged under the direction of renowned military architect Vauban, give the town an enchanting and distinctive architectural feel.
The story is that following an attack on France in the summer of 1692, the then King, Louis the XIVth, send his military engineer and architect, Vauban, to build fortifications around the town of Briancon and the surrounding mountains, to prevent enemies from occupying the town. Certainly if you look at any of the mountains around the old town you will see the various forts that dominate the landscape. It is in celebration of the 300th anniversary of Vauban's death that his works have been awarded the coverted UNESCO status. Briancon is just one of 12 sites across France that have become World Heritage sites.
Briancon is dominated the Fort du Chateau which looks down over the town, which at 1320m is the second highest city in Europe.
In between skiing or cycling it is well worth taking your time to explore the old town and enjoy some of the spectacular views from the city's high walls.