Sundials adorn the facades of more than 480 houses and religious edifices in the Hautes Alpes and form an integral part of the Briançonnais heritage. Most of painted sundials date from the 17th and 18th century. The sundial maker Giovanni Francesco Zarbula from the Piemont region of Italy, created the most beautiful examples of sundials in the 19th century, such as the Marchioness sundial in Vallouise.
Their main purpose was to serve as a timepiece but they also had a moral and decorative function and their low cost explains their vast number in our valleys. Today, the sundials of the Briançonnais are restored and new ones created, keeping ancient and regional traditions alive.
(to find out more, refer to the English guide books in the “Pas à Pas” series by Marianne Chanel and Jean-Michel Neveu.)