On the road
Prefecture : Gap
Subprefecture : Briancon
Population : 140,000
Website : www.hautes-alpes.net
Hautes-Alpes (High Alps) is the highest department in France in average. The Durance river is the backbone of its territory, on which live a population of 118,000. Isolated until the arrival of the train, the department has learnt through history to live on its own resources, which helped in hard times. It is a mainly farming area – forests, pastures, fruit, milk – but tourism has been developing quickly thanks to the ski resorts of Serre-Chevalier Vars, les Orres or Montgenevre and in the summer to the many campsites around the Serre-Poncon artificial lake.
A mere three hours from Paris by TGV, Isere is a very diverse department, from the mountains of Oisans to the almost Mediterranean flavour of Vienne, the “Roman city”. Among the many monuments to discover, the domain of Vizille is worth the visit with its huge park and its castle hosting a permanent exhibition on the French Revolution. The medieval village of St Antoine l'Abbaye is also extremely picturesque. Vienne's Roman theatre is every year the home to a famous jazz festival while the bustling Grenoble is impossible to miss with its lively student life and long history. Wtih three natural parks, Isere is an ideal destination for tourists and nature lovers, but it is also a pleasant place to live for its population of 1.2 million.
Km 10.5 : La Rochette
The small village overlooking Gap is now famous for the climb bearing its name on which Joseba Beloki crashed heavily in 2003.
Site internet : www.ville-la-rochette.fr
PACA is the third biggest region in France. Its population of nearly 5 million mainly live in or around its four major cities, Marseille, Nice, Toulon and Avignon. Comprising most of the South-East of France, it is bathed by the Mediterranean in the South and bordered by the Alps in the East.
Tour de France of the Monuments Nationaux
Mont-Dauphin: Fortified town
A remarkable defensive site.
Dominating the valleys of the Guil and the Durance, which was based on designs by Vauban, was constantly perfected from the 18th to 19th century. Mont-Dauphin is perhaps France's finest example of military architecture in the classical style.
Designated world heritage site by Unesco.
Jersey wearers after the stage 14
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