Itinerary by train

High Ups in the Alpes


From Marseille, you’ll plunge directly into Alpine landscapes with mountain reliefs. The train stops at Serres, then Veynes-Dévoluy, before reaching Gap, the heart of the French Southern Alps. The journey continues to Embrun, where you’ll get a taste of an authentic atmosphere and the joys of the plan d’eau (bathing lake), and lastly Briançon, a Cité Vauban inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list.

ItineraryDuration1 day or more

Visited Places

Stop 1Serres

You’ve seen a succession of different landscapes through the train window since you left Marseille. The lush green plains of Provence have given way to the first foothills and then the imposing mountains of the Southern Alpine massif. The train slows down as it comes into the little station of Serres. It’s time to get off. Walk north along Allée de la Gare, to the old village, which you’ll reach after having crossed the bridge over the River Buëch. Little streets, small squares with arcades, carved doorways… the little medieval town has kept all its charm.

Stop 2Veynes-Dévoluy

Back on the train again. But just for 15 minutes: you’ll be getting off at the next station, Veynes-Dévoluy. This stage of this memorable train journey to the heights of the Alps is a 100% nature trip. You have the choice between two hikes: to Col de Cuberselle, a sublime 8-km loop dotted with Mediterranean vegetation. Or, for the more athletic, the hike to the Montagne d’Oule will take you to the heights above Veynes and a guaranteed panoramic view.

Stop 3Gap

Climb aboard the train for a short trip: only 20 minutes. Just enough time to see the imposing Alpine peaks standing out against the bright blue sky: the train has just come into Gap station, in the heart of the Hautes-Alpes. To discover Gap is to discover the soul of the French Southern Alps: a perfect blend of culture and sport. Off you go! Start by exploring the old town, just a short walk from the station, and then lose yourself in the little streets lined with colourful houses which bear witness to the influence of the Mediterranean in Gap. Feeling peckish? Munch a tourton or a delicious tarte du Champsaur, before going on to the Alp Arena: great sensations in this ice stadium with its outdoor skating rink in winter.

Stop 4Embrun

Now it’s time to move further north to the entrance to the Ecrins National Park, an absolute gem of wild, unspoiled nature. Half an hour after leaving Gap, the train stops to Embrun station. Whichever way you look, peaks rise into the sky in the distance. Head for the centre-ville. Its authentic atmosphere (Embrun is an approved “Ville et Pays d’Art et d’histoire”) charms you at first sight: here, medieval and Provencal architecture rub shoulders. From the town centre you can get to the plan d’eau – ideal for a swim or kayaking in summer – via La Plaine du Roc. And don’t forget to admire the Tour Brune and the beautiful Notre-Dame-du-Réal Cathedral. For hiking lovers, Embrun is also a hiking spot (info:

Stop 5Briançon

The train is now on its way to Briançon, the last stage in this journey to the Alpine heights. When you arrive at the station, this time you’ll have to walk about thirty minutes to get to the old town. But it’s well worth it: inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, Briançon was fortified by Vauban, a military engineer and aarchitect in the reign of Louis XIV. Once you’ve gone past the ramparts, you can wander around the narrow streets with their multicoloured facades. And to end this journey in adventure mode (and be in tune with the spirit of the French Southern Alps!) what could be better than a treetop adventure playground?

Train Stations