Mont Chaberton (3131m)Mont Chaberton (3131m)
©Mont Chaberton (3131m)|charles -

Mount Chaberton

Situated on the border between France and Italy, Mont Chaberton is best known for its military fort, one of the highest in the world. This high mountain area has become a very popular hiking destination in the Southern Alps.

Fort du Chaberton, the “battleship of the clouds”

At the end of the 19th century, Italy decided to build a powerful fortress to protect access to the Montgenèvre pass and the Durance valley. The summit of Mount Chaberton was chosen as it offered an unobstructed view and a dominant position. Major works were undertaken, the summit of the mountain was levelled and eight 12-metre high towers were built to house artillery cannons. It was nicknamed the “battleship of the clouds”.

Fort du Chaberton saw its first battle during the Second World War. On 20 June 1940, Fascist Italy declared war on France and the cannons of the eight towers began bombing French towns. But French troops managed to destroy six of the turrets on 21 June, and the fighting ended on 24 June 1940, when the armistice was signed. Mount Chaberton – and the fort – were annexed by France in 1947.

The old fortification will be listed as a historic monument in 2021.

A hike to Mount Chaberton

At an altitude of 3131 metres, Mount Chaberton is a popular destination for hikers. You can reach the summit of Mount Chaberton from the resort of Montgenèvre. A good level of fitness is recommended.

Mount Chaberton is located in a high mountain area, and hiking at this altitude requires certain precautions. We recommend that you check the weather conditions before setting off, and that you have suitable equipment. Good walking shoes, a rucksack with plenty of water and energy snacks, a hat, sunglasses and sun cream in summer are highly recommended. You can also bring walking sticks.

A host of nature activities in Montgenèvre

In summer, you can also go mountain biking on the trails near Mount Chaberton. Montgenèvre also has a bike park, with access to the ski lifts.

Horse-riding trips are also organised in the Clarée valley and Montgenèvre. You can discover the mountains in a different way, to the rhythm of the horses’ footsteps.

Thrill-seekers can also climb the via ferrata at Rocca Clair, a vertiginous cliffside route secured by a lifeline and bars set into the rock.

In winter, you can try to climb Mount Chaberton on cross-country skis. You can also go downhill skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, cross-country skiing or downhill skiing in the Voie Lactée ski area. Want to get away from it all? You can go for a walk with snowshoes or a dog-drawn sleigh.

Discover Briançon’s military heritage

The fort that crowns Mount Chaberton bears witness to the long-standing rivalries between France and Italy, and the need to secure this strategic border. Are you staying near Mount Chaberton on holiday? We also invite you to visit the nearby town of Briançon, whose defences were designed by Vauban. The Fort des Salettes, the Fort des Trois Têtes, the Fort Dauphin, the Fort du Randouillet and the Communication Y no longer fulfil a strategic military role, but continue to delight large numbers of visitors every year.

The historic town of Briançon is still surrounded by powerful walls, and its picturesque little streets are a delight for history and heritage lovers.

Practical information

You can easily reach Montgenèvre from Provence by driving towards Gap and then Briançon.

Montgenèvre offers a wide range of activities, from sports to relaxation.

Would you like to try some thrilling sports? We invite you to contact the Briançon guides’ office or another professional.