Hautes-Alpes (French pronunciation: [ot.z‿alp] (listen); Occitan: Auts Aups; English: Upper Alps) is a department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of Southeastern France. Located in and named after the Alps, it had a population of 141,107 in 2016, which makes it the third least populated French department. Its prefecture is Gap; its only subprefecture is Briançon.
Auts Aups (Occitan)
|• President of the Departmental Council||Jean-Marie Bernard (LR)|
|• Total||5,549 km2 (2,142 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,665 m (5,463 ft)|
|Highest elevation||4,101 m (13,455 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||470 m (1,540 ft)|
|• Density||25/km2 (66/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries and lakes, ponds and glaciers larger than 1 km2|
At the time when the department was created, the two mountain communes of La Grave and Villar-d'Arêne successfully campaigned to be included in Hautes-Alpes and not in the neighbouring department of Isère to which they had originally been assigned. This was because they hoped to benefit from the relative autonomy and certain fiscal privileges enjoyed by the region since the fourteenth century under the terms of the Statute of the Briançon Escartons.
After Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, the department was occupied by Austrian and Piedmontese troops from 1815 to 1818.
During World War II, Italy occupied Hautes-Alpes from November 1942 to September 1943.
The department is surrounded by the following French departments: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Drôme, Isère, and Savoie. Italy borders it on the east with the Metropolitan City of Turin and the province of Cuneo, region of Piedmont.
Hautes-Alpes is located in the Alps mountain range. The average elevation 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 following rivers flow through the department: Durance, Guisane, Buëch, Drac and Clarée. The Durance has been dammed to create one of the largest artificial lakes in Western 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 and Haut-Alpines in French.
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.
Population development since 1791:
Departmental Council of Hautes-AlpesEdit
|•||The Republicans and Union of Democrats and Independents||22|
|Socialist Party and Radical Party of the Left||8|
Members of the National AssemblyEdit
|Hautes-Alpes's 1st constituency||Pascale Boyer||La République En Marche!|
|Hautes-Alpes's 2nd constituency||Joël Giraud||La République En Marche!|
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.