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Briançon is Europe's highest city, a fairytale place only accessible by those brave enough to travel the hairpin-shaped roads teetering around glaciers, sheer cliffs and peaks, and as the temperature warms, thundering waterfalls. After that drive you'll be relieved to check into one of the best places to stay in Briançon!
Briançon is worth the exhilerating-drive though; the old town within its beautiful walls, built in the 17th Century to protect it from the Austrians, is surrounded by spectacular scenery. This is the ski resort to come to if you want thrilling runs in the mornings, then a run through history in the afternoons. There's even a ski-in ski-out museum installation telling the story of this city and the men who made it great.
Sebastian de Vauban is the main man when it came to shaping the appearance of Briançon. Renowned as one of the greatest military engineers of his time, he's responsible for the star-shaped fortifications and the surrounding forts. And these Heritage Listed gems are what make Briançon more than just one of the largest towns in the Serre Chevalier Valley ski area.
At the very top of Briançon is the Fort du Chateau, which also affords more of those wonderful alpine views.
As well as its own charms Briançon does still share those of the rest of the Serre Chevalier Valley: 155 miles of piste, an average of 300 sunny days a year and 565 snow cannons in case it's too sunny. This region is great for all levels of skiers, but the majority of the runs are long blues and reds.
It is actually possible to arrive in Briançon by train, there's a night train from Paris, or TGV from Lyon. But you'd be really missing out on the views from the car or bus...
The city is a popular destination during the high seasons (winter and summer) so ensure a spot at one of the best places to stay in Briançon be sure to book well in advance.
What not to miss
- The Old City, or Cité Vauban, is an absolute must-see for all those visiting Briançon. History buffs should also check out the Fort des Têtes which boasts magnificent views of the area.
- In the summer, head off on long walks through the dense Grimp'in Forest - a beautiful spot.
- Or, you could alternatively go around the lovely La Croix Toulouse hiking trail.
- Hit the slopes. With over 250km of pistes spanning the Serre Chevalier area there's plenty for all abilities to choose from.
The best places to stay in Briançon
Just minutes from the slopes, and from the thermal baths at Le Monetier les bains, the Auberge du Choucas is a traditional, 17th-century built auberge, featuring a gastronomic restaurant with an excellent reputation.
- Located in Serre Chevalier, the Auberge du Choucas is a cosy retreat with plenty of wooden features and roaring log fires. This historic property dates back to the 17th century, with the rooms reflecting the traditionally French style, and their gastronomic restaurant is bound to impress.
- Across the border in Sestrière, the Shackleton Mountain Retreat is a contemporary stay with glorious mountain views. Some of their wood-pannelled accommodation boasts private saunas or hot tubs, whilst there are also two pools and spa treatments available.
For an apartment
If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.
- The nearest airport is Turin, which is just under two hours away.
- You can also get a night train from Paris directly into Briançon.
- If you're here to ski then consider coming from December to March. However, if you want to head off hiking and enjoy the area's natural beauty then the summer months - May to August - are better choices.
- For those who want the freedom of having a car with them, look through the options available with Rentalcars.
Still not sure where to book?
Best Hotels in Briançon
Hotel de la chaussee 14 rooms from £88Briançon
A cosy hotel set within a National Park. Rooms are full of character with wooden panel walls, beams and alpine furnishings. A terrace to enjoy spectacular views, superb regional dishes, and minutes from ski lifts and walking routes. Family friendly, great value, and lots to do in the mountains.Families - Fairytale type location, walks, wildlife trips, skiing, cycle rides for all the familySights nearby - Fortifications of VaubanLocal markets - Hosted every WednesdayGreat walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - Michelin Travel