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Mont-Dauphin citadel

This very impressive and very fortified hilltop site overlooks the Durance river, 4 km west of Guillestre. Mont-Dauphin (variously spelled Mont Dauphin and Montdauphin) is the smallest geographical commune in the department, with a total of 58 ha.

The site commands an impressive view in all directions, and there are open grassy areas to wander while enjoying scenery of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The entire top of the hill was fortified by Vauban at the end of the 17th century.

As the Piemontais invaded the DauphinÚ twice in the 17th century: in 1691 via the Col de Vars, from the southeast (coming via the Col de Larche and Meyronnes); in 1692 via the Queyras, from the northeast. In 1692, Vauban was asked to come and review the Plateau de Millaures (meaning mille-vents, or a thousand winds), a site that overlooked both entries into the region.

Since the hilltop was partially surrounded by cliffs, it would only need to defend a relatively short front. Vauban layed out the defensive positions and designed an interior town, with caserns, arsenal and church. He returned in 1700 to complete the defenses and extend the walls completely around the plateau, work that took place slowly during the 18th century

Continued modifications and improvements took place far into the 19th century. The inhabitants of the region didn't flock into the town, and Mont-Dauphin remained essentially a military fortress only.