The town of Embrun sits on a cliff-top plateau (the "Roc") overlooking the upper Durance river just before it flows into the Lac de Serre-Ponçon [photo-1]. The hills closely surrounding the town are covered with modern buildings and holiday chalets, not at all pretty. A view of Embrun from across the river, though, with the higher mountains beyond, is lovely [photo-2], and the center of the town is ancient and interesting.
Cycling Tour de France 2011 |
Barcelonnette 54 km |
Boscodon Abbey 11 km |
Briançon 50 km |
Ceillac 35 km |
Ecrins National Park 12 km |
Gap 38 km |
Guillestre 21 km |
Lauzet-Ubaye 35 km |
Mont-Dauphin 18 km |
Orres 12 km |
Serre-Ponçon Lake 2 km |
Hotels near Embrun: |
12 km Orres |
21 km Guillestre |
35 km Lauzet-Ubaye |
35 km Ceillac |
38 km Gap |
50 km Briançon |
Although the town is ancient and still has many old buildings, it's well restored and seems very neat and modern. It's a pleasant enough town, with several squares, and a pedestrian zone with shops and market stands. At the Office de Tourisme, in grand looking old building, probably an old church, you can get a free map of the town.
There are enough narrow old streets to make exploring interesting, and the main pedestrian street through the center is an active market place. The Place E. Barthelon, in the center of the old town, has a large fountain, several terrace cafés and other shops, and a Provençal-pastel city hall [photo-3]
The Cathedral Notre-Dame-du-Réal is an impressive building, and the main portail, "le Réal" is listed as a remarkable example of Lombard art. We especially like the lions supporting the rose-marble columns. (A copy inspired by these supports the "réal" of the church in Guillestre, and we found a pair of identical lions, also holding their prey between their paws, supporting the columns of the church in St Véran.)
Behind the 12th-c Cathedral is the 12th-c donjon Tour Brune [photo-4]
We toured the town by searching out the old fountains, of which Embrun has several. Many of the fountains are of a similar style to this 16th-c one on Rue Chaffuel [photo-5]. We found other ancient stone fountains at Place St Marcelin, Place E. Barthelon, and a small one between the Cathedral and the Tour Brune. On the Square Lapeyrouse at the west side of town is a 17th-c rose-marble fountain with a column dedicated to the Chasseurs Alpins [photo-6].
We found only one sundial (cadran solaire) in Embrun, a rather fantasy version, on the Place E. Barthelon [photo-7].
There's a shady little park area at the edge of town past the Cathedral, at the edge of the "Roc" overlooking the Durance valley.
First record, Eburodunum
Eburodunum was an important Roman town on the Briançon--Arles Roman road. In the 4th century, a bishopry was founded here by Saint Marcellin. In 804, the bishop became an archbishop, and soon after Embrun was attached to the Germanic Roman empire Saint-Empire.
Office de Tourisme
Tel : 04 92 43 72 72; Fax: 04 92 43 54 06
Market: every Wed and Sat
Bus Marseille - Gap - Briancon
The Marseille - Gap - Briancon bus route is: Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Meyrargues, Peyrolles, Mirabeau, Corbières, Sainte Tulle, Manosque, Volx, Villeneuve, La Brillanne, Lurs, Peyruis, Saint Auban, Chateau-Arnoux, Volonne, Peipin, Les Bons Enfants, Sisteron, Le Poet, Rourebeau, Le Beynon, Valenty, Monetier-Allemont, Le Vivas, La Saulce, Tallard, Chateauvieux, La Tourronde, Gap; La Batie Neuve, Chorges, Savines, Embrun, Chateauroux, Guillestre, Mont-Dauphin, L'Argentière, Briançon.
Trip time Marseille - Gap is 3h15 (Marseille - Manosque 1h20; Manosque - Sisteron 0h50; Sisteron - Gap 1hr). The separate bus between Gap and Briançon is just under 2 hours.
The route and schedule is available on the SCAL-Autocars website (link just below).
Embrun has the following train service:
- Rafting and kayaking on the Durance.
- Mountain biking (VTT cycling), with 380 km of marked routes.
- Horse riding
A multitude of water sports on the adjacent Lac Serre-Ponçon
Intersport Sport Evasion
Zone Commerciale Intermarché Baratier
Tel: 0492 432 900
Tel: 0492 435 360
rte Gap, quart La Robeyère
Tel: 0492 433 337
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #7 "Hautes Alpes"; #10 (Queyras Pays du Viso)
A short, marked trail leads from the town northwest up the flank of Mont Guillaume to join the GR50 (2 km, 1286 m).
To the west, the GR50 circles the flanc of Mont Guillaume, follows the river valley to Les Gourniers (about 15 km), then comes back southeast before again going west to Ancelle and beyond. To the northeast, The GR50 goes past Châteaureaux and St Marcellin and points north.
There are other shorter trails on the east side of Mont Guillaume, and there are some loops possible using part of the GR50. Because of the steep rocky nature of the northern part of the mountain, no trails circle Mont Guillaume other than following the river valley northwest of St Marcellin, well to the north.
Southeast of Embrun, a trail crosses the river and goes out past St Sauveur, then through the Forêt du Meale or southeast to Les Orres.
Lodging - Hotels