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until the relurning spring; so wretchedly are they off for fuel that dried cowdung is chiefly used.
On leaving La Grave, the path descends to pass some rocks; then rising, it leads abruptly to a turn in the valley thal overlooks a very fine fall of ihe Rornanche, all its waters being poured into a deep abyss; to flank this abyss the road makes a little détour, rises above the head of the fall, and soon after the traveller reaches
Villard d'Arène, a village as wretched and as filthy as La Grave. Here the mountain of the Lautaret commences, or rather the mountain ridge or barrier that divides the valley of the Romanche from that of Monestier or the Guisanne. This pass rises to the height of more than 6000 feet above the level of the sea; the col is covered with the most beautiful pasturage, and is one of the richest spots in the Dauphiny Alps for the harvest of the botanist.
On the summit, two leagues from Villard d'Arène, there is a Maison Hospitalier, one of those founded by Ilumbert II. in the eleventh century; this is kept by a peasant appointed to the duty; but travellers are cautioned not to trust 10 gelting fed ihere, though wine always, and bread and curds may sometimes by found on the Laularet.
The scene from the col is most sublime : immediately above it on the right is the Mount d'Arcines, scathed, and pinnacled with rocks, and clothed with enormous glaciers, ending on side of the Romanche, in the glacier of Tabuchet, whence this river has ils source; on the other side, the river Guisanne is seen tumbling down the Mont d'Arcine, from ils glaciers, lo flow through the valley of Monestier.
From the Col de Lautaret a steep road descends into the are the sterile and miserable valley of the Guisanne to the first
hamlet La Madelaine, thenče lo La Lozet, where there is a inore tolerable inn than any since Bourg d'Oysans; still Jower is the village of 'Casset at the base of the glacier of Lasciale; and at the end of three hours, or four leagues, from The Col de Lautaret, arc the
Baths of Monestier, fourteen leagues from Bourg d'Oysaus: here there is an inn, to which the fifth and privations of those passed en route reconciles the traveller, and almost persuades him that it is tolerable.
The mineral waters here are both drank and employed in baths, and are so abundant that they are employed to turn a mill. Below Monestier the valley exhibits cultivation"; barley is grown, and the meadows by irrigations are very productive; and after the naked and sterile route from La Dauphin to Monestier the appearance of trees is liailed as giving the highest charm to the scenery. The whole course of th: Guisanrie can be scen to Briançoll,
where the forts of this frontier town are seen, piled above each other; beyond is a chain of lofty mountains, over which is seen the peak of the Monte Viso--this is a mag. nificent scene.
There are several villages in the Val Monestier below the baths; the principal are La Salle, Chantemerle, so named from ihe number of blackbirds that frequent it; and St. Chalfrey. The approach to Briançon is strikingly fine, its walls and fort rising as they do to the highest l'Infernet, which is : placed on a peak, nearly 10,000 feet above the level of the sea: the broad rich valley of the Durance below the town, and the mountain boundaries to the valley make this one of the most picturesque towns and scenes in the Alps.
Briançon, 4 1/2. Inhabitants 3000. This town has gates, walls, and regular defences, and every strong position occupied with a fort or battery: it guards the frontier of France by the pass of the Mont Genèvre and the valley of the Durance.
It is a city of high antiquity. Pliny attributed its foundation to the Creeks, who were chased from the borders oi the lake of Como; others have given its foundation to Bellovesus or Briennus. Ammianus Marcellinus calls it Virgantia Castellum; it held a Roman garrison. St. Ambrose was here on his way to Vienne in Dauphiny when he heard of the death of the emperor Valens, whom he was going to baptize.
So strong was the position of Briançon, or so small the community, that the barbarians who dismembered the Roman empire appear to have respected or despised it; for no mention is made of their desolating presence in this little city. This was probably due to the strength of its position. After the Roman power had ceased, Briançon became a republic, until it voluntarily placed itself under the Dauphins. It was in part burnt in the wars of Calvinism, at the end of the sixteenth century; but it was destroyed by fire in 1624, and again in 1692, its archives were consumed, and with them the records of the civil and military history of the Cottian Alps.
Numerous bas-reliefs, inscriptions, and medals, have been found here, which give to Briançon a high antiquity.
This little city is one of the smallest in France, having less than 3000 inhabitants. The streets are narrow and steep; but many of the houses are well built. It boasts of a Grand Place, and its old church is worth a visit.
The city itself is strong from its position and mural defences; but the seven forts which guard it render it almost impregnable. Between the city and some of these forts there is a bridge over the deep bed of the Durance, which foams beneath vast precipices: the bridge is of bold construction, a single arch of 130 English feet span and 180 feet above the
torrent: it was built in 1730, under the direction of the Maréchal d'Asfeld.
BRIANÇON TO SUSA BY THE PASS OF THE MONT GENÈVRE.
On leaving Briançon for the Mont Genèvre, the valley of the Durance is ascended by a narrow gorge for more than a Jeague, just to La Vachette, a little hamlet at the foot of the Mont Genèvre; here, on the left, in a striking contrast to the valley of the Guisanne, opens the Val de Neuvache, a large and productive valley. It is also called the Val des Près from its rich meadows; its mountains are clothed with forests; through it the river Clairée flows for 10 leagues, and then loses its name in a less important torrent - the Durance, which has scarcely run two leagues from its source in the Mont Genèvre. At the foot of the Mont Genèvre is a fountain which formerly bore the name of Napoleon, and served to commemorate the construction of the new route; this was removed by the Bourbons, lest some thirsty wayfarer should bless his memory.
The ascent commences through a pine forest and by a series of admirably constructed zigzags leads the traveller up to the col, and presents at every turn a variety in the views of Briançon, and its forts, the valleys of the Durance and Neuvache, and the surrounding mountains; these so much relieve the tedium of ascent that the summit is attained before the traveller has an idea that he has accomplished a distance of nearly two leagues.
The plain of the Mont Genèvre is remarkable for the culture of barley on its summit, nearly 6000 feet above the level of the sea, and there are fine pasturages on the slopes of the neighbouring mountains. On the plain there is a village, called the
Bourg Mont Genèvre, three leagues from Briançon, which is inhabited all the year: here is the custom-house, a troublesome place to those who enter la belle France.
On the plain, and almost from a common source, two rivers rise-the Durance, which flows through France, into the Mediterranean, and the Doira-Susana, which flows into the Po and the Adriatic.
On the summit of the plain an obelisk was erected, to commemorate the construction in 1807 of this fine road over the Alps; it is 60 feet high, and had on its pedestal inscriptions to record the event : ihese the Bourbons removed. Is it possible that the wicked and the weak who ordered the destruction of such memorials as these, and the record on the fountain at the foot of the Mont Genèyre, can have thought
that with their removal the fame of Napoleon would be forgotten? Some retribution has already fallen upon such foll; and injustice.
On leaving the col of the Mont Genèvre, the course of the river is followed for two leagues down a series of tourniquets, made in the loose soil on the side of Mont Chaberton, alon: which the road is carried, until it reaches the bed of the river, and crosses it about two miles from Cesanne; the road then continues to this village, where the stream from the Mont Genèvre falls into a larger branch which descends from the lofty mountains that bound the Protestant valleys of Piedmont.
Below Cesanne, the coursé lies down a principal valley to
Oulx, three leagues, a large village at the entrance to the valley of Bardonneche, whence there is a pass by the Col de de la Rue, lo Modane, in the valley of the Arc. From Ouli. it is about two leagues to Salabertrand, a place memorable for the battle fought and won by the Vaudois, under Henri Arnaud, on their return to their valleys after expatriation, in 1689, when they were opposed by 2500 regular entrenched troops, three times their numbers, and commanded by the Marquess de Larrey, who was wounded in the action: every spot around has interest in connection with that event: especially the mountains in proximity, that by which they had descended on the night of ihe battle; and that on the opposite side of the valley, which they crossed, by the Col de Sou, to go into their valleys after their victory.
Beyond Salabertrand the valley narrows considerably, and forms, a good league below, near the fort of Exilles, a deep defile; in the midst of this the fort is placed, which perfectly commands the valley; here the river is crossed, and the road! thence continues on its right bank, beneath the heights of Chaumont, a spot rendered memorable by the fate of the Comte de Belleisle, who fell here on the 9th of July, 1717: his desperate valour, which had been excited by the promise of a Bâton de Mareschal of France, if he succeeded in forcing the pass, was checked, after he had received many severe wounds, by a coup de grâce from a grenadier of the regiment of Monserrat.
The valley, in and below the defile, is richly wooded, and preserves nearly the same character for three leagues from Salabertrand to Susa, (Route 127.), 22 miles from Gesanne.
CESANNE TO PIGNEROL, BY THE COL DE SESTRIERES.
From Cesanne, the road made by order of Napoleon lo descend into Italy, is more direct than that by Turin; but the miserable policy of the Sardinian government has allowed this road beyond Cesanne to fall into decay, and thus almost compelled travellers to pass by Susa and Turin.
The route by the Sestrieres from Cesanne, crosses the to Doire, and the ascent to the col immediately commences,
by a series of zigzags like that of the descent from the Mont re Genèvre, each can be seen from the other across the valley
of the Doire, a lengthened snake-like course. The road from Cesanne soon reaches the hamlet of Champlas ; still the road continues to ascend over fine pasturages, iill it reach the Col de Sestrieres and its châlels: the plain of the col is nearly two miles long. On the side towards the Val Pragelas the view is wild and fine, of the valley and the Mont Albergian. Above the fort of Fenestrelles, the road leads down by tourniquets to the banks of the Clusone, and to the first village. Sestrieres, four leagues from Cesapne, and thence to Traverse : the broad bed of the river beneath the dark pine forests opposite to Pragelas, gives rather an appearance of sterility to the valley.
Fenestrelles, four leagnies, a village of 800 inhabitants, with a tolerable inn. The fort of Fenestrelles is a place of great strength, which guards the approach to Piedmont by this valley; it rises, from the defile formed by the base of the Mont d'Albergian, and the mountain which commands the left bank of the torrent; up the latter an immense line of connected fortifications rises, and a gallery leads up through these defences from terrace to terrace by 3600 steps to reach the highest battery. On the summit is a basin covered with verdure, called the Pré de Catinat, from that celebrated general having encamped there. Not far from the summit is the Col de la Fenêtre, which looks out upon the combe of Susa and the valley of the Doire: there are remains of old forts on the base of the Albergian, but they are neglected as unnecessary. The village of Fenestrelles lies in the middle of the defile below. The fort of Fenestrelles is used as a state prison.
From Fenestrelles to Pignerol there are eight leagues, nearly the whole of wbich lie in the valley of the Clusone : there is little interest in the valley, or variety in the scenery: it is generally narrow, but where there is cultivation, corn and wine abound. The mulberry, for silk-worms, flourish