To the south of Lyon, the Rhône Valley is steeped in history and legitimately deserves its title as a route of civilization, from prehistoric sites such as the Chauvet 2 -Ardèche cave to the Gallo-Roman remains of Vienne / Saint Romain en Gal, via Valence, classified as a Town of Art and History, the Rhône River has remained a major route between the Mediterranean and Europe. The vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône as well as the orchards characterize this landscape which takes on the accents of Provence from Valence. On either side of the Rhône, two major holiday destinations are revealed: the Drôme on one side, with its charming villages, its gentle hills, its lavender fields and mountainous reliefs of the Vercors and Diois, the Ardèche on the other side, with its famous gorges and the Pont d’Arc, popular with kayakers, its villages of character, its volcanic sites, its medieval castles and its superb panoramas.
With its pedestrianised streets and shaded squares lined with inviting terraces and colourful markets, Valence has managed to retain its charm from days gone by. Strolling in the streets, you can admire Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral, the statues and mouldings that cover the facade of the Maison des Têtes, and the city’s most famous monument, Kiosque Peynet, the symbol of lovers. In the open air, succumb to the charm of Parc Jouvet, located at the heart of the city. Valence is also home to the Musée Art et Archéologie and the Centre du Patrimoine Arménien; the city’s “Town of Art and History” status is fully deserved.www.valence-romans-tourisme.com
Vienne - Condrieu
Following the bend of the Rhône on either side of the river, Vienne and Saint-Romain-en-Gal together form one of the region's greatest Gallo-Roman sites. On the Vienna side, visit the Roman theatre and the Temple of Auguste and Livie. On the other bank of the Rhône is the Saint-Romain-en-Gal Museum, with models depicting Roman life as well as numerous mosaics. Easy to get to by all modes of transport and just twenty minutes south of Lyon, Vienne Condrieu is a unique destination waiting to share its secrets. Dozens of registered sites, 6 museums, two AOP wines (Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie) and soon a third, one AOP cheese (Rigotte de Condrieu), the Pilat Regional Nature Park (covering nearly half of the territory), home to the best in French gastronomy, one of the top 5 largest music festivals in France (Jazz in Vienne) and many other events! This endearing, gourmet and lively land is proud of its heritage and resolutely modern. Today, the town welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the year, both French tourists and international visitors.
An essential gourmet stop for its famous nougat, Montélimar is located between Valence and Avignon in the heart of Drôme Provençale, a land of lavender. Montélimar is peaceful, welcoming and perfect for a stroll, with its old pedestrian neighbourhoods, small squares, Provençal streets and private mansions in the historical centre. Adhémar Château, a medieval 12th century ramparted palace overlooking the town, boasts Romanesque architecture and today holds temporary exhibitions and performances. Be sure to visit a nougat maker to enjoy a sweet treat made with honey and almonds, and then explore the Palais des Bonbons (Candy Palace), the ultimate spot for fun.
Tain – Tournon sur Rhône
The cobblestones of the pedestrian street, the breathtaking view from the banks of the Rhône or from Tournon Château, playing pétanque in the shade of the plane trees, the whistle of the Train of Ardèche or the charming vineyards on the hillsides of the left bank. Let yourself be amazed by the unique atmosphere of this territory that is reinventing the art of living. Discover and truly enjoy its heritage, with of course the Valrhôna Cîté du Chocolat for visiting and savouring, as well as the rest of the two cities linked by the magnificent Marc Seguin Bridge across the Rhône!
The Train of Ardèche
For an unforgettable adventure in an exceptional setting, there's nothing better than climbing aboard the famous Train of Ardèche to discover the exquisite Doux Gorges.
The treasures of Drôme Provençale
The ultimate colourful destination, Drôme Provençale's quintessential landscapes are brimming with lavender, olive trees and vineyards, and dotted with white stone villages and hidden secrets, like the truffle of Tricastin!
Grignan in Drome Provençale
Explore Grignan and discover, of course, the splendid château of Madame De Sévigné, (which was the castle of her daughter, the Countess of Grignan). Visitors will delight in this authentic Provençal village full of charm. From the terrace of the castle, marvel at the beauty of the landscapes of Grignan, with vines, lavender, truffle patches and large forests. The charming villages around Grignan, often perched atop hills, reveal themselves during unforgettable walks.
Suze la Rousse
In the magnificent castle of Suze la Rousse, the University of Wine, the emblematic professional oenological school, opens its doors to the public for workshops during weekends in the summer. There's also a brand-new museum circuit dedicated to wine growing.
The hilltop villages of Drôme
Most of the perched villages of Drôme Provençale are fortified and date back to the Middle Ages, the 11th and 12th centuries. These typical Provençal villages are built atop admittedly modest hills, but sufficiently high to see and be seen. For a long time, historians attributed this fact to a need to defend themselves. Today, there is also the idea that the local lords were simply trying to gather the population together to enjoy monopolies over things like mills and ovens.
The Palace of Facteur Cheval
Unique in the world, the Palais Idéal has been inspiring artists for more than a century. Independent of any artistic trend and built without any rule of architecture, the Palais Idéal has won the admiration of surrealists and is recognized as a work of outsider art. It was classified as a historical monument in 1969 by André Malraux, who was then Minister of Culture, as a work of naïve art.www.facteurcheval.com
Vercours Regional Nature Park
A bastion of limestone. A familiar and perhaps over-used expression, but one which accurately reflects reality here.
Barronies Provençales Regional Nature Park
Straddling the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions, the Parc Naturel Régional des Baronnies Provençales spans a massif between the Drôme and Hautes-Alpes departments.
Monts d’Ardèche Regional Nature Park
With an area of around 200,000 hectares, the Monts d’Ardèche comprises an area of extraordinary heritage. Allow some time to stop, listen and watch, and you'll discover some of the cultural and natural highlights of the undiscovered region of Ardèche.
Ardèche's characterful villages
Atop hills or hidden away, the old stones of Ardèche's characterful villages have been basking in the sun for generations. They have a medieval soul and an authentic heart, cultivating a taste for traditions. They are lively, endearing and sometimes mysterious, spread throughout the valleys all across the territory. 20 emblematic villages have come together around a quality charter under the "Villages de Caractère" label to invite visitors to share the know-how and lively spirit of the villages. Curious visitors will be charmed by the rich architectural heritage.www.ardeche-guide.com
The Gorges of Ardèche
A remarkable natural site composed of the Pont d'Arc, a natural arch spanning the river, and the Gorges of the Ardèche starting in Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche. The protected site is registered as a national nature reserve since 1980. Visitors can follow the scenic route to discover the gorges and limestone plateaus covered with green oak trees and admire river bends and caves with exceptional geological and archaeological heritage.www.ardeche-guide.com
La grotte Chauvet 2 - Ardèche
Discovered in 1994, Chauvet cave houses mankind's most ancient masterpiece: hundreds of animals depicted in movement dating back more than 36,000 years. To preserve and share this exceptional remnant of the past and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the world’s largest cave replica was created: Grotte Chauvet 2 Ardèche
“DES LIONS ET DES HOMMES: mythes félins, 400 siècles de fascination”: this exhibition offers a unique exploration of the feline legends and the relationship nurtured between humans and cats. It transports visitors to Europe, Asia, America and Africa on a long journey to the heart of an almost universal fascination, with 180 artworks (on loan from the Louvre, Berlin State Museum, Quai Branly and others), as well as stuffed animals and a mummified frozen lion cub from 46,000 years ago, never before exhibited in France! What place do felines hold in humanity?
From 6 April to 22 September 2019