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Exploring Briancon And Montgenevre, France (By Train)


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Peggy Cabello



France, renowned for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, offers a plethora of captivating destinations to explore. One such region that rewards visitors with its charm and beauty is the southeastern part of the country. Nestled in the French Alps, Briancon and Montgenevre are two enchanting towns that beckon travelers with their unique allure and ample opportunities for outdoor adventures.


The journey to Briancon and Montgenevre is a delightful experience in itself, as you have the option to travel by train, allowing you to soak in the awe-inspiring views of the snow-capped mountains and picturesque valleys along the way. Once you arrive, you’ll find that both towns provide a perfect blend of history, natural wonders, and recreational activities.


As the highest city in France, Briancon boasts a rich heritage, with its well-preserved old town recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town is renowned for its impressive Vauban fortifications, which played a crucial role in protecting the region during the 17th century. Beyond its historical significance, Briancon offers an array of outdoor pursuits, from hiking and mountain biking to skiing and snowboarding in the winter months. With its charming streets and cozy cafes, Briancon is an inviting destination for both history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts.


Montgenevre, a quaint alpine village nestled close to the Italian border, is a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Known for its superb ski slopes and world-class facilities, Montgenevre attracts thousands of visitors every year. But it is not just a winter destination; in the warmer months, Montgenevre transforms into a haven for hikers, with an extensive network of trails offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The village itself exudes a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with its traditional architecture, local boutiques, and savory cuisine.


Whether you’re seeking historical landmarks, thrilling outdoor activities, or simply a tranquil escape amidst nature, Briancon and Montgenevre offer an unforgettable experience. So hop on a train and embark on a journey to these charming towns where history and natural beauty merge seamlessly.


Overview of Briancon

Briancon, located in the picturesque French Alps, is a town with a rich history and breathtaking natural surroundings. Situated at an altitude of 1,326 meters, it lays claim to being the highest city in France. The town’s strategic location, nestled in a valley surrounded by soaring mountains, has made it an important military stronghold throughout history.


One of the highlights of Briancon is its well-preserved old town, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Strolling through its narrow, winding streets is like stepping back in time. The old town is dotted with beautiful buildings adorned with colorful shutters and offers a glimpse into the region’s storied past.


A visit to Briancon would not be complete without exploring its impressive fortifications. Designed by the famous military engineer Vauban in the 17th century, these fortifications played a crucial role in protecting the region during various conflicts. The forts offer panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, providing a stunning backdrop for your exploration.


In addition to its historical and architectural wonders, Briancon is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. During the winter months, the town becomes a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding with its extensive slopes and modern facilities. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced skier, the ski resorts in Briancon cater to all levels of proficiency. The crisp mountain air, endless miles of ski runs, and breathtaking alpine scenery make for a truly memorable experience.


But Briancon is not just a winter destination. It offers a plethora of outdoor activities throughout the year. You can lace up your hiking boots and explore the numerous trails that wind through the mountains and valleys, offering panoramic views of the surrounding nature. Mountain biking, climbing, and paragliding are also popular activities for adrenaline junkies.


When you need a break from outdoor adventures, take some time to explore the town’s charming streets and vibrant cafes. Sample the delicious local cuisine, which includes regional specialties like tartiflette, raclette, and croziflette. The friendly locals and laid-back atmosphere add to the charm of this mountain town.


Overall, Briancon offers a delightful mix of history, natural beauty, and outdoor pursuits. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an avid skier, or simply crave a peaceful retreat in the mountains, Briancon is a destination that won’t disappoint.


Getting to Briancon by Train

Getting to Briancon by train is not only convenient but also offers a scenic and unforgettable journey through the French Alps. The town is well-connected by rail, allowing visitors to easily reach this charming destination.


If you’re traveling from Paris, you can catch a direct train to Briancon from Gare de Lyon. The journey takes approximately 5-6 hours, depending on the train you choose. The trains are comfortable and equipped with modern amenities, ensuring a pleasant travel experience. As you make your way to Briancon, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, and picturesque valleys.


If you’re arriving from other cities in France or neighboring countries, you may need to transfer trains at a major hub such as Grenoble or Lyon. These transfers are usually seamless, with convenient connections and clear signage to guide you. The regional train services in France are reputed for their efficiency and punctuality, ensuring a smooth journey to Briancon.


It’s worth noting that during the winter months, there are dedicated ski trains that run from major cities directly to Briancon. These trains are specifically tailored to cater to winter sports enthusiasts, with designated spaces for ski equipment and comfortable seating arrangements.


Once you arrive at the Briancon train station, you’ll find local transportation options available to take you to your accommodation or various attractions in town. Taxis and shuttle services are readily available, and many hotels also offer convenient pick-up services for their guests.


Overall, traveling to Briancon by train is a convenient and scenic option that allows you to soak in the natural beauty of the French Alps along the way. With efficient rail connections and comfortable trains, it’s a stress-free way to reach this enchanting mountain town.


Exploring the Old Town of Briancon

One of the highlights of visiting Briancon is exploring its captivating old town, which has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The old town, also known as “Ville Haute,” is a charming labyrinth of narrow streets, fortified walls, and historic buildings that showcase the town’s rich history and architectural beauty.


A stroll through the old town is like stepping back in time. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of centuries past as you wander through cobblestone streets lined with traditional houses adorned with colorful shutters and flower-filled balconies. The narrow alleys wind their way up to the highest point of the town, where you’ll find the imposing Vauban fortifications.


Make sure to visit the Place d’Armes, the main square of the old town. Here, you’ll find charming cafes and restaurants, perfect for taking a break and enjoying a cup of coffee or a delicious meal. The square is also home to the beautiful Church of Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Nicolas, a stunning example of Baroque architecture.


As you explore the old town, you’ll come across numerous historic buildings that are worth a visit. The Bishop’s Palace, with its elegant facade and well-preserved interiors, offers a glimpse into the town’s religious and architectural heritage. The House of the Central Chancellery, built in the 18th century, is another architectural gem that showcases the town’s rich history.


Don’t miss the opportunity to walk along the fortified walls of Briancon, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The walkway provides a unique perspective of the town, as well as a chance to admire the impressive Vauban fortifications up close. The forts themselves, including Fort des Trois-Têtes and Fort du Randouillet, can be explored and offer insight into the town’s military past.


For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Contemporary Art Center is a must. Located in the heart of the old town, this gallery showcases the works of local and international artists, providing a unique blend of contemporary art against a historic backdrop.


Throughout the year, the old town of Briancon also hosts various cultural events and festivals that celebrate the town’s traditions and heritage. From music concerts to craft fairs, there’s always something happening in the vibrant heart of Briancon.


Exploring the old town of Briancon is like stepping into a living museum, where history and culture come alive. With its charming streets, historic buildings, and stunning panoramic views, a visit to the old town is a true highlight of any trip to Briancon.


Visiting the Fortifications of Briancon

Briancon is renowned for its impressive fortifications, designed by the famous military engineer Vauban in the 17th century. These fortifications played a crucial role in protecting the region and are a testament to the town’s strategic importance throughout history. Today, visitors have the opportunity to explore these remarkable structures and delve into the town’s military past.


One of the most iconic features of Briancon’s fortifications is the Citadel, an imposing structure perched on a hill overlooking the town. As you make your way up to the Citadel, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Briancon and the surrounding mountains. The Citadel itself is an architectural marvel, with its well-preserved walls, bastions, and watchtowers offering visitors a glimpse into the past.


Another gem of the fortifications is the Fort des Trois-Têtes, located on a nearby hilltop. This fort is accessible via a short hike and provides visitors with a unique perspective of the town and its surroundings. Once inside, you can explore the underground passages, admire the views from the ramparts, and learn about the fort’s fascinating history through informative displays.


For those interested in the town’s military heritage, a visit to the Museum of Mont-Dauphin and Briancon Fortifications is a must. Located in the heart of Briancon, this museum offers a comprehensive look at the history and construction of the fortifications. Through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of the town’s strategic significance and the engineering genius of Vauban.


During your exploration of the fortifications, be sure to take the time to walk along the fortified walls. The walkway provides stunning panoramic views of Briancon, the surrounding valleys, and the majestic peaks of the French Alps. The experience of strolling along these historic walls is truly unforgettable and offers a unique perspective of the town.


Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply seeking breathtaking views, visiting the fortifications of Briancon is a must. The rich history, stunning scenery, and impressive engineering make for an immersive and enlightening experience.


It’s worth noting that access to some parts of the fortifications may be restricted or require guided tours, so it’s advisable to check ahead and plan your visit accordingly. Guided tours often provide in-depth knowledge about the fortifications and give visitors the opportunity to access areas not open to the general public.


Enjoying Outdoor Activities in Briancon

Briancon, nestled in the heart of the French Alps, offers an abundance of outdoor activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its stunning mountainous landscapes and crisp alpine air, the town provides the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.


During the winter months, Briancon transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. The town is surrounded by excellent ski resorts, such as Serre Chevalier, which offer a range of slopes suitable for beginners, intermediates, and expert skiers. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or just starting out, you can carve your way down the slopes, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and crisp, powdery snow.


But the fun doesn’t stop when the snow melts. In the warmer months, Briancon becomes a paradise for hikers and mountain bikers. The surrounding mountains are crisscrossed with an extensive network of trails, catering to all levels of fitness and expertise. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the rugged beauty of the region, as you hike through dense forests, past sparkling mountain streams, and up to panoramic viewpoints that offer breathtaking vistas.


Mountain biking enthusiasts will find themselves in heaven in Briancon. The area offers a variety of trails that cater to all skill levels, from gentle forest paths to challenging downhill tracks. Rent a mountain bike and set off on an adventure, exploring the mountains and valleys, and soaking in the natural beauty that surrounds you.


For adrenaline junkies, Briancon also offers opportunities for rock climbing and paragliding. Test your skills and conquer the imposing rock faces that dot the landscape, or take to the skies and glide above the mountains, enjoying the breathtaking views from a unique perspective.


For a more leisurely outdoor experience, take a gentle stroll along the banks of the River Durance or enjoy a picnic in one of the town’s scenic parks. The tranquil surroundings and fresh mountain air create the perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.


With its proximity to stunning natural wonders, Briancon also offers easy access to activities such as rafting, canyoning, and via ferrata. These thrilling adventures allow you to immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the region and get your adrenaline pumping.


Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-fueled adventure or a peaceful escape amidst nature, Briancon has something to offer everyone. Its stunning alpine landscapes and abundance of outdoor activities make it the perfect destination for those who crave adventure and a connection with the great outdoors.


Overview of Montgenevre

Montgenevre, nestled amidst the majestic French Alps near the Italian border, is a charming alpine village that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventures. Known for its world-class ski slopes, Montgenevre attracts winter sports enthusiasts from around the globe. However, this picturesque village is much more than just a winter destination.


In the winter months, Montgenevre transforms into a haven for skiers and snowboarders. With its vast ski area and excellent snow conditions, it offers a paradise of slopes suitable for all skill levels. From gentle beginner slopes to challenging off-piste terrain, there’s something for everyone. The ski resorts in Montgenevre are well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable skiing experience.


But Montgenevre isn’t just about skiing. When the snow melts and the mountains come alive with colorful blooms, Montgenevre reveals its true beauty. In the summer, the village transforms into a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts can explore a vast network of well-marked trails that wind their way through lush alpine meadows, offering stunning views of the surrounding peaks.


Montgenevre is not just renowned for its outdoor activities; it also boasts a rich history and captivating traditional architecture. Take a stroll through the village and admire the charming wooden chalets, adorned with colorful shutters and balconies filled with flowers. Montgenevre has managed to preserve its traditional charm, creating a welcoming and authentic atmosphere for visitors.


Another highlight of the village is its proximity to the Clarée Valley, a stunning natural paradise dotted with sparkling lakes, cascading waterfalls, and verdant meadows. Hiking in the Clarée Valley allows visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature and experience the beauty of the French Alps up close.


For those seeking a taste of adventure, Montgenevre offers various thrilling activities such as zip-lining, via ferrata, and paragliding. These adrenaline-fueled pursuits allow you to take in the awe-inspiring views from a different perspective, soaring above the mountains and valleys.


After a day of outdoor pursuits, unwind and indulge in the local cuisine at one of the village’s charming restaurants. From traditional alpine dishes to international specialties, Montgenevre offers a diverse culinary scene that caters to all tastes.


With its magnificent mountain scenery, abundant outdoor activities, and rich cultural heritage, Montgenevre is a year-round destination that never fails to captivate visitors. Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures on the slopes or peaceful moments amidst nature, Montgenevre offers a truly unforgettable experience.


Getting to Montgenevre by Train

Getting to Montgenevre by train is a scenic and convenient option for travelers looking to visit this picturesque alpine village. Although Montgenevre does not have its own train station, there are nearby train stations that provide easy access to the village.


If you’re arriving from Paris or other major cities, you can take a train to Oulx-Cesana-Claviere-Montgenevre train station, which is located just across the border in Italy. Oulx is well-connected to various cities in Italy and France, making it a convenient transfer point. From Oulx, you can then take a local bus or arrange for a shuttle service to Montgenevre, which is approximately a 30-minute journey through the beautiful mountain landscapes.


Another option is to travel to Briancon train station, which is closer to Montgenevre and offers easy access to the village. There are direct trains from Paris to Briancon, with the journey taking around 5-6 hours. From Briancon, you can again take a local bus or arrange for a shuttle service to reach Montgenevre, which is approximately a 20-minute drive away.


Both Oulx and Briancon train stations are well-served by regional train services, offering convenient connections to various other towns and cities in the region. The trains in this area are known for their reliability and comfort, providing an enjoyable journey through the stunning alpine landscapes.


Once you arrive at Montgenevre, you’ll find that the village is relatively compact and easy to explore on foot. Most accommodations, shops, and restaurants are within walking distance, making it convenient for visitors to get around.


It’s worth noting that if you’re planning to visit Montgenevre during the winter ski season, there are dedicated ski trains that run from major cities directly to the village. These ski trains are specially organized to cater to winter sports enthusiasts, with designated spaces for ski equipment and comfortable seating arrangements.


Traveling to Montgenevre by train not only provides a hassle-free option but also allows you to soak in the breathtaking views of the French Alps along the way. From the comfort of the train, you can witness the stunning mountain scenery, charming villages, and picturesque valleys that make this region so special.


Whether you’re arriving from nearby cities or embarking on a longer journey, traveling to Montgenevre by train ensures a memorable and relaxing start to your visit to this enchanting alpine village.


Skiing and Winter Sports in Montgenevre

Montgenevre is renowned for its world-class ski slopes and fantastic winter sports offerings. Nestled in the French Alps near the Italian border, this charming alpine village attracts skiers and winter sports enthusiasts from far and wide.


With over 400 kilometers of ski runs in the Serre Chevalier ski area, Montgenevre provides an incredible variety of slopes suitable for all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert skier, you’ll find something to suit your abilities. The slopes are well-maintained and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, making each descent an unforgettable experience.


Montgenevre’s ski area is also known for its exceptional snow conditions. Situated at an elevation of 1,860 meters, the village benefits from its high altitude, allowing for a long ski season that typically lasts from December to April. Modern snow-making equipment ensures optimal snow coverage even during periods of low natural snowfall.


For those seeking a bit more adventure, Montgenevre offers excellent opportunities for off-piste skiing and snowboarding. With the guidance of a professional instructor or experienced guide, you can explore untouched terrain, deep powder fields, and thrilling descents that will test your skills and leave you with unforgettable memories.


Montgenevre also caters to non-skiers or those looking for alternative winter activities. The village offers a range of other winter sports to enjoy. Snowshoeing is a popular choice for those who want to explore the majestic winter landscapes at a slower pace. You can rent snowshoes and venture out on the well-marked trails that wind through the forests and meadows surrounding the village.


If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, you can try snowboarding in one of the well-maintained snow parks or venture out on a thrilling sledding adventure on the dedicated toboggan runs. The whole family can also enjoy activities such as ice skating, ice climbing, or even taking a scenic horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy landscapes.


Montgenevre is also an ideal base for those who want to try cross-country skiing. The region offers a network of well-groomed cross-country ski trails that wind through stunning forests and offer a peaceful and serene winter experience.


After a day on the slopes or engaging in winter activities, you can relax and unwind in one of Montgenevre’s cozy mountain restaurants, enjoy a hot beverage in a slopeside café, or indulge in some retail therapy in the village’s boutique shops.


For winter sports enthusiasts, Montgenevre is a haven of endless possibilities. Whether you’re a seasoned skier, a snowboarder looking for a new challenge, or a family looking to create unforgettable winter memories, Montgenevre offers the perfect setting for an exhilarating winter sports vacation.


Exploring the Village of Montgenevre

The village of Montgenevre, nestled in the French Alps near the Italian border, offers a picturesque and charming atmosphere that captures the essence of an alpine village. Beyond its renowned ski slopes and winter sports offerings, Montgenevre invites visitors to explore its cozy streets, indulge in traditional cuisine, and immerse themselves in the local culture.


One of the delights of Montgenevre is its traditional architecture. As you wander through the village, you’ll encounter charming wooden chalets adorned with colorful shutters, decorative balconies, and flower-filled window boxes. The streets are lined with inviting restaurants, boutique shops, and cozy cafes, creating a warm and welcoming ambiance.


Exploring the village on foot allows you to discover hidden gems and appreciate the local craftsmanship. The village is home to talented artisans who create unique handmade products, from intricate woodwork to exquisite textiles. Stroll through the village streets and browse the boutique shops, where you can find one-of-a-kind souvenirs to remind you of your time in Montgenevre.


For those interested in the history and culture of the region, a visit to the Heritage House is a must. This small museum provides insight into the village’s past, showcasing artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that tell the story of Montgenevre and its heritage. Learn about the traditional way of life, the importance of winter sports in the region, and the rich history that has shaped the village into what it is today.


To truly immerse yourself in Montgenevre’s culture, be sure to sample the local cuisine. Numerous restaurants and cafes offer a range of dishes, including traditional alpine specialties and international favorites. Indulge in hearty mountain cuisine, such as fondue, tartiflette, or raclette, and savor the flavors of the region. Pair your meal with a glass of local wine or a warming hot chocolate, and bask in the cozy ambiance of the village.


Montgenevre also hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, providing visitors with a chance to witness traditional music, dance, and customs. From seasonal celebrations to music concerts, there’s always something happening in Montgenevre that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the region.


When you need a break from exploring, take a moment to relax in one of the village’s serene parks or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined promenade. The crisp mountain air and incredible natural beauty create an atmosphere of tranquility and serenity, allowing you to truly appreciate the stunning surroundings.


Exploring the village of Montgenevre is like stepping into a postcard-perfect alpine paradise. With its traditional architecture, warm hospitality, and delightful culinary offerings, Montgenevre offers an authentic and unforgettable experience that will leave you captivated by its unique charm.


Hiking and Summer Activities in Montgenevre

While Montgenevre is best known for its renowned ski slopes in the winter, the village also offers a plethora of outdoor activities and breathtaking landscapes for visitors to enjoy during the summer months. From scenic hikes to thrilling adventures, Montgenevre is a haven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.


Montgenevre boasts an extensive network of hiking trails that cater to all levels of fitness and experience. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk or a challenging mountain trek, there’s a trail waiting to be explored. Wander through alpine meadows, follow meandering paths beside glistening mountain streams, and soak in the stunning views of the surrounding peaks. The trails provide a chance to immerse yourself in nature and discover the beauty of the French Alps.


For those seeking a more uphill challenge, Montgenevre offers a range of mountain biking trails. Rent a bike and embark on an adrenaline-fueled adventure, as you navigate through diverse terrain and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, Montgenevre caters to all skill levels.


Montgenevre is also a fantastic launchpad for road cycling enthusiasts. The region’s winding mountain roads offer thrilling ascents and exhilarating descents, and cyclists can test their skills on famous Tour de France climbs such as Col du Galibier or Col d’Izoard.


If you’re looking for a unique outdoor experience, Montgenevre offers a variety of adventure activities. Test your limits with via ferrata, a thrilling combination of hiking and rock climbing, as you navigate safely along a protected mountain route with the aid of steel cables and ladders. Alternatively, you can soar through the sky with paragliding, enjoying breathtaking aerial views of the village and surrounding mountains.


Montgenevre is also a gateway to the stunning Clarée Valley, one of the most scenic mountain valleys in the French Alps. The valley is a paradise for hiking and offers a range of trails that take you through forests, alongside crystal-clear rivers, and up to tranquil alpine lakes. Exploring the Clarée Valley allows you to immerse yourself in the serenity of nature and discover hidden gems off the beaten path.


For a more relaxed outdoor experience, Montgenevre offers opportunities for golfing on a picturesque course surrounded by captivating mountain scenery. Challenge your skills on this unique alpine golfing experience while enjoying the fresh mountain air and uninterrupted views.


After a day of outdoor adventures, unwind and rejuvenate in one of Montgenevre’s wellness centers or indulge in a soothing massage. The village also hosts various summer events and festivals, including music concerts and traditional celebrations, providing a glimpse into the rich culture and traditions of the region.


The summer season in Montgenevre is a true paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities set against a backdrop of stunning alpine beauty. Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures or serene moments in nature, Montgenevre has something to delight every visitor.



Briancon and Montgenevre, nestled in the French Alps, offer an unforgettable experience filled with breathtaking scenery, rich history, and endless outdoor activities. Whether you’re visiting during the winter or summer months, these charming towns captivate visitors with their unique allure and warm hospitality.


Briancon, with its well-preserved old town and impressive fortifications, immerses visitors in a rich tapestry of history and culture. From exploring the narrow winding streets and admiring the traditional architecture to hiking the picturesque trails and skiing down the slopes, Briancon offers a perfect blend of historical charm and exhilarating outdoor adventures.


Montgenevre, known for its world-class ski slopes and winter sports offerings, is a paradise for snow enthusiasts. However, it’s not just a winter destination. In the summer, Montgenevre unveils its stunning natural beauty, inviting visitors to explore scenic hiking trails, embark on thrilling mountain biking adventures, and discover the tranquility of the Clarée Valley.


Both towns offer convenient access by train, allowing visitors to soak in the awe-inspiring views of the French Alps along the way. The train journey itself is a memorable experience, providing glimpses of rolling hills, snow-capped peaks, and picturesque valleys.


Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an outdoor adventurer, or simply seeking a peaceful escape in the mountains, Briancon and Montgenevre offer an array of experiences to suit every traveler. The old towns, fortifications, outdoor activities, culinary delights, and rich cultural heritage make these towns truly special destinations.


So, whether you’re gliding down the ski slopes in Montgenevre’s winter wonderland or exploring the ancient streets of Briancon’s old town, be prepared to be captivated by the beauty, history, and adventure that await you in these enchanting spots in the heart of the French Alps.