Briançon is located in Hautes-Alpes department. The town is
about 15 km on the west from the moutain pass Montegenevre which is one of the oldest and most important passes from France into Italy.
Briançon is the second highest town in Europe at 1,350 meters above sea level (after Davos in Switzerland).
The town has two areas with the lower town at the junction of the Durance
and Guisane rivers and the upper town which is the walled area at the top,
fortified by Vauban and including the Fort du Chateau fortress at the peak.
During the Middle Ages, it was the capital of the République des Escartons,
a federation of mountain communities grouped together for mutual defence
and the preservation of their liberties and privileges. Nowadays it is
the ski centre in winter. Briançon has regularly featured as a stage town in the Tour de France
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.