Embrun, Hautes-Alpes tourism & sightseeing
Visit Embrun (Provence, France)Photo Gallery
Embrun is a town about 30 kilometres east of Gap in the Hautes-Alpes department of France (in the Provence region), sitting on a cliff above the Durance river and below Mont Guillame. This attractive location has led to parts of the town and surrounding countryside being over-developed but the town has retained its historical centre and there are some interesting sights to discover.
Start a visit in the centre of the old town, around the Place Barthelon - home to the town hall and some shady cafes - and the surrounding streets. This square is most lively on market days, wednesday and saturday, when a wide range of local produts is available.
Strolling through the streets, many pedestrianised, you will discover a typical Provencal town, plenty of shops and cafes, buildings of historical interest painted in pastel shades, and a variety of architectural highlights and decorative old fountains in unspoiled little squares.
The most important historical monuments in Embrun are the Cathedral Notre Dame du Réal and surrounding streets. The Lombardy style cathedral is especially impressive, above all for its unique decorative facade with a large central 'rose' window, two lions supporting columns in the porch and other carved figures, but be sure to enter to see the fine organs and the treasury. Inside the cathedral the walls are decorated with attractive patterns of black and white stone.
The 13th century square donjon next to the cathedral, the Tour Brune, was once part of the defensive walls of Embrun.
Other highlights of note in Embrun include the Archbishop's garden and a walk to a viewpoint across the river, behind the cathedral, and the understated beauty of the 13th century Maison des Chanonges decorated with a carving of a lion eating a goat.
The Maison des Chanonges also has fine arched windows and doorway though extensive renovations had to take place to reveal these. When you visit, look at the photograph of the building before renovations which is hung on the wall - it is suprising how such an attractive building had been made so ordinary.
Just outside Embrun to the south you can visit Boscodon Abbey, a beautiful roman style abbey that is in a lovely setting and contains several medieval artworks. The abbey church is free to enter but there is a small charge (seven euros when we visited) to visit the cloister and other parts of the abbey.
Embrun is at the eastern end of the popular leisure lake of Lac de Serre Poncon, and conveniently placed for excursions into the mountains.
Map of Embrun and places nearby
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Address: Embrun, Gap, Provence, 5200, France || GPS: latitude 44.565833, longitude 6.496111
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Lac de Serre-Poncon: site of natural beauty (13 km)
- Place Forte de Mont-Dauphin: national monument (15 km)
- Mont-Dauphin place forte (Vauban fortifications): heritage site (15 km)
- L'Argentiere-la-Bessee: recommended detour (26 km)
- Source - Verdon: site of natural beauty (27 km)
- Col d'Allos: site of natural beauty (31 km)
- Queyras: regional natural parc (33 km)
- Domaine de Charance: remarkable garden (35 km)
- Col de la Bonette: site of natural beauty (36 km)
- Poligny: town of art and history (38 km)
- Briancon: secteur sauvegarde (39 km)
- Col de la Cayolle: site of natural beauty (39 km)
Market days in Embrun, France
Regular market(s) are held in Embrun each Saturday.
A seasonal market is held in Embrun on Wednesday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Embrun (Francais)