Le fort des Têtes, Briançon

Fort des Têtes, Briançon, Hautes-Alpes, France. Vue depuis la Croix de Toulouse. Source : GNU Free Documentation License - Libre de droit


At the heart of the southern Alps, at an altitude of 1,300 m, Briançon overlooks Valley of the Durance, the Guisane, the Clarée, the Col de l'Izoard and Mont Genèvre...



Overlooking the valleys of the Fontenil and Fontchristiane, the Fort des Têtes is the cornerstone of the city’s fortified defences and the most important structure in the part of the network built in the 18th century.

The wrinkles and steps in the fort’s defences show the engineers’ stubbornness in resolutely defending Briançon, which was on the front lines after the transalpine Dauphiné was lost in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.



Back in 1700, Vauban had understood the importance of the Plateau des Trois Têtes, which overlooks the city beyond the Durance. In 1709, Marshal de Berwick set up an entrenched camp which was very useful in 1711 and 1712. From 1721 to 1733, the Marquis d'Asfeld, director general of fortifications, and the engineers Tardif and Nègre reorganised the structure into a permanent fort with bastioned fronts. Larger than the citadel of Briançon, the fort could house about a thousand men and materiel.


The use of the relief as an obstacle, the compartmentalisation of the defences brought about by the successive sieges, the firepower of the seventy-two embrasures combined with the neighbouring forts attest to the extraordinary mastery of mountain fortifications acquired by the King’s engineers. Access. Briançon is located at the intersection of the N91 and N94 highways, 87 km from Gap, 116 km from Grenoble and 125 km from Turin, Italy.


Office Briançonnais du Tourisme


Visits are often organised to show you the fortified city, the high-altitude forts and the monuments of Briançon.
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Office Briançonnais du Tourisme website


Quiz: Fortifications


  • Le fort des Têtes et plus haut la redoute des Salettes. Source : Ville de Briançon - Direction du Patrimoine et des Archives