Caption
  • Leaders
  • Caravan
  • Start town
  • Finish town
  • Feeding zone
  • Checkpoints
  • Sprint
  • Last kilometre
  • Hors catégorie climb
  • Points of interest
  • Cobblestones sectors

On the road

Alpes-De-Haute Provence (04)

Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region
Population: 160,959 (2011)
Prefecture: Digne-les-Bains
Sub-Prefectures: Barcelonnette, Castellane, Forcalquier.
Surface: 6,925 km2
Largest town: Manosque (Pop: 22,000)
Economy: tourism, agriculture.
Specialities: Sisteron lamb, banon (cheese), crouzets, genepi (liquor).  
Tourism: green tourism, citadel of Sisteron, picturesque villages (Moustiers Sainte-Marie, Lurs, Castellane), Montagne de Lure, Gorges of the Verdon, spas (Greoux-les-Bains).
Website: www.cg04.fr

Hautes-Alpes (05)

Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region
Population: 138,605 (2011)
Prefecture: Gap
Sub-Prefectures: Briancon
Surface: 5,549 km2
Largest town: Gap (Pop: 40,000)
Economy: tourism, agriculture.
Specialities: gratin dauphinois, ravioles du Champsaur, tourtons du Champsaur, oreilles d'âne (grated spinach).    
Tourism: winter sports (Serre-Chevalier, Risoul, Vars…), citadels of Briancon, Mont-Dauphin or Fort Queyras, National Park of Les Ecrins.
Website: www.hautes-alpes.net

Km 8.5 : Vizille

Vizille - Château et plan d'eau © Pierre BonaL'église et la mairie de Vizille vue de la Rampe © CORLIN

Population : 7700 hab.

An old vigil post between Grenoble and Italy, hence its Latin name (Castra Vigiliae). In July 1788 was held the Assembly of Vizille, seen as a prelude to the French Revolution. The sumptuous domain of Vizille, park and castle created by Lesidiguieres on the medieval site, houses a Museum of the Revolution. The late Thierry Claveyrolat, best climber in the 1990 Tour de France, was nicknamed the Eagle of Vizille.

Tour de France of the Monuments Nationaux

Mont-Dauphin stronghold

Place forte de Mont Dauphin © Centre des Monuments NationauxPlace forte de Mont Dauphin © Myr Muratet - Centre des Monuments NationauxPlace forte de Mont Dauphin © PAscal Lemaître - Centre des Monuments Nationaux

The Mont-Dauphin stronghold was created from scratch on Vauban's initiative as a result of the raid carried out by Victor-Amadeus II of Savoie in 1692. Vauban concluded that it was necessary to fortify the plateau at the end of the Guil Valley that dominated the Durance Valley, and he drew up the plans to that effect. Work advanced rapidly at first, but was not completed until the 19th century, with the degree of urgency fluctuating with the threat posed by the Alpine border. The military buildings within the enclosure include an explosives depot (late 17th century), the Campana, Binot and Rochambeau barracks, the Officers' pavilion, and the Arsenal.
In order to occupy the soldiers whilst awaiting attack, Vauban designed a Royal town which is today a most unusual village. The houses are built according to a pre-established plan with vaulted cellars to act as shelters, shops on the ground floor, accommodation on the first floor, and an attic above. The streets are straight and wide, following a central channel in pink marble, and water fountains and wash houses fostered daily interaction within the community. The measuring stone and toise measure at the intersection of streets are reminders of the great market days. Work began on building an enormous church but only the choir was completed, which still stands today.
The Mont-Dauphin stronghold includes 32 hectares of open land. Before the arrival of the motor engine, the only means of haulage was by animal (bovine and equine). In mountainous areas, mules are better than oxen or horses due to their greater strength and ability to cope with uneven terrain.
Its mountain location meant that living conditions were very harsh in the stronghold, as were the defensive requirements. The town depended on mules for supply, and for over 200 years, between 100 and 300 mules were kept at Mont-Dauphin. Since there were no roads, long caravans of saddled mules periodically brought up food and munitions. The relationship between man and animal is particularly crucial in the mountains, and whilst this is true for all domestic animals, the most precious was undoubtedly the mule.

The Centre des monuments nationaux organises guided tours of the stronghold.

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