Nicknamed the little Nice of the Alps because of its particularly mild and sunny climate, the town of Embrun, a former archdiocese and military fortified town, dominates the Durance valley from the top of a cliff.
The Provençal-looking old town boasts a wonderful heritage: a network of narrow streets lined with colourful houses, pretty squares with fountains, arched passageways and walls decorated with sundials.
The must-see Notre-Dame-du-Réal cathedral dating from the 12th and 13th centuries is one of the most important religious monuments in the French Alps. Among its features are a magnificent portal guarded by two statues of lions, a Gothic rose window, a marble high altar, a great organ and a remarkable treasure of ancient sacerdotal garments, manuscripts and pieces of silverware.
Not far from the cathedral stands Brune tower, the former keep of the archbishop's palace dating from the 12th century that now houses a space dedicated to Écrins National Park.
To enjoy a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside, visitors should head to the garden of the archbishop's palace (Archevêché) near the cathedral. From the viewpoint indicators there are stunning views over the Durance valley with the peaks of the Embrunais mountains towering above.
Two kilometres from the town centre is Embrun lake where you can enjoy a whole host of water-based activities, including swimming (supervised in July and August), kayaking, sailing and fishing.