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Coordinates: 44°40′N 6°20′E / 44.667°N 6.333°E / 44.667; 6.333

Coat of Arms of Hautes-Alpes
Location of Hautes-Alpes in France
Department number: 05
Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Prefecture: Gap
Subprefectures: Briançon
Arrondissements: 2
Cantons: 30
Communes: 177
President of the General Council: Jean-Yves Dusserre
Population Ranked 98th
 -1999 121,419
Population density: 22/km2
Land area¹: 5549 km2
¹ French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2.

Hautes-Alpes (Occitan: Auts Aups) is a department in southeastern France named after the Alps mountain range.



Hautes-Alpes is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It consists of the southeast of the former province of Dauphiné and the north of Provence.

Napoleon passed through Gap when he returned to reclaim France after his exile on Elba.


The department is surrounded by the following French departments: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Drôme, Isère, and Savoie. Italy borders it on the east.

Hautes-Alpes is located in the Alps mountain range. The average elevations is over 1000 m, and the highest elevation is over 4000 m. The only three sizable towns are Gap, Briançon, and Embrun, which was the subprefecture until 1926.

The third highest commune in all of Europe is the village of Saint-Véran. Gap and Briançon are the highest prefecture and subprefecture in France.

The following rivers flow through the department:

The Durance has been dammed to create the largest artificial lake in Europe: the Lac de Serre-Ponçon.

The Queyras valley is located in the eastern part of the department and is noted by many as being an area of outstanding beauty.


The inhabitants of the department are called Haut-Alpins.

The extremely mountainous terrain explains the sparse population, which was originally about 120,000. It changed little during the 19th century, but fell to about 85,000 after World War I. Thanks in large part to tourism, the population has risen from 87,436 in 1962 to 121,419 in 1999, principally in the town of Gap.


The President of the General Council is Jean-Yves Dusserre of the Union for a Popular Movement.

Party seats
Union for a Popular Movement 10
Socialist Party 7
Miscellaneous Right 5
Left Radical Party 4
Miscellaneous Left 3
New Centre 1


The tourist industry is largely dependent on skiing in winter. In summer the Alpine scenery and many outdoor activities attract visitors from across Europe(sailing, hiking, climbing and aerial sports such as gliding). The Tour de France passes through the department regularly. This draws many cycling fanatics to cycle the cols and watch the race.

See also

External links

Hautes-Alpes at the Open Directory Project


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


The French département Hautes-Alpes is marked by mountains and wild ranges.

  • Orcières-Merlette -- for skiing
  • St. Etienne en Devoluy -- for skiing

Get in

The Hautes-Alpes are easily reached by train from either the south (Marseille), the north (Grenoble) or the west (Valence). Valence and Grenoble have high-speed train connections with Paris. There are up to four train connections daily in all directions.

There is no large airport in the Hautes-Alpes. Go to Marseille and take the train from there.

  • canyoning around St-Clément-sur-Durance
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