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Fortifications of Vauban

The History of Vauban

Vauban is the name of the beautiful old village within the skiing town of Briancon. The village of Vauban is surrounded by military walls that are simply named the fortifications of Vauban. To understand what the fortifications of Vauban are you might want to know about Mr. Vauban himself, the man who built them.

Sébastien Le Prestre, marquis of Vauban (1633 - 1707) was a man of many skills: military architect, engineer, urbanist, french essayist and hydraulician engineer. He was even nominated as Marshal of France by Louis XIV at the end of a quite hyperactive career. Between 1667 and 1707, Vauban upgraded the fortifications of around 300 cities, including Briançon, which lies within the Serre Chevalier area.

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. These buildings are: the city walls, Redoute des Salettes, Fort des Trois-Têtes, Asfeld Bridge, Fort du Randouillet, and the ouvrage de la communication Y. 11 other sites of fortified buildings and towns in France were classified along with Briancon. Among them is the place-forte of Mont-Dauphin, which is in the Hautes-Alpes department, same as Briancon.

The inner city of Vauban today

It's amazing to think that all of these structures that were originally designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban for military purposes can now be enjoyed as wonderful pieces of art every day, by both tourists and residences in the town alike.

The town in itself offers a remarkable architectural experience: the ancient Collégiale*, the church of the Cordeliers, the bridge of Asfeld, the Château, the fort of the Salettes, and of course its delightful winding back streets, which are always popular with visitors.

* Click this link for an amazing panoramic view of the square in which the collegial is situated: : www.360cities.net

By LPLT (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons