At 1326m officially Europe's highest town, Briançon does have a strong identity that goes beyond winter sports for the summer months with lots of great shopping and other facilities.
These include several museums, one specialising in ski history; a casino, several cinemas and a theatre. Dining choices are another strong point, with around 30 restaurants to choose from including the Michelin Guide rated Le Valentin.
Serre Chevalier is the resort name for the four main villages located in a sunny south-facing valley at the foot of the most beautiful peaks in the Ecrins National Park. There are actually 13 villages in total forming Serre Chevalier.
The other 3 main villages close by are Chantemerle (Serre Chevalier 1350), Villeneuve and Montier les Bains. Montier les bains is home to the Serre Chevalier Spa which opens late until 10pm.
The old town of Briancon has a very attractive ancient centre. As you ascend above in the gondola you’ll see a variety of 17th century fortifications that developed over several centuries laid out below you.
Indeed many people will enjoy just wandering around the streets of Briançon and taking in the fountains, squares, sundials, the twin-towered eighteenth century church and its ancient streets complete with ‘gargouille’ - a small canal that runs down the centre of the street. The lower town is the most active area with shops, market, cafés and restaurants clustered around Rue Centrale leading to the Rond Point du Quyeras. In 2008 several buildings in the town, including its walls and fortress, were classified World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Leisure facilities include an indoor swimming pool complex incorporating an Olympic size pool, a hot tub, massaging waterfalls, rivers, geysers, massage jets and a 65m long giant slide. There’s also a spa section complete with sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, and relaxation solarium.
Briançon also has a reputation for sunshine, receiving an official average of 300 days of sunny weather each year. So it is a major outdoor activity centre year round often hosting starts and finishes of stages of the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia.