In Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, each city has its history, its specificities, its own personality. Mountain or river, by a lake or near volcanoes, shaped by the environment, shaped by history, each city offers a different universe.
Memory of know-how, expression of a terroir, crossroads of ideas and encounters, they are gastronomic, cultural, innovative, sporting, spiritual, ancient or contemporary … They are the scene of multiple events and demonstrations, a destination for all seasons.
Lyon, regional capital
River city at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône, a must-see stop on the north-south axis of Europe, Lyon is a city of history, art, culture and gastronomy. A city with countless attractions that feeds all tastes.
Capital of Gaul formerly international city of silk, 3rd city in France today, Lyon is the crossroads living 2000 years of history. As such, the old heart of the metropolis (Fourvière hill, Old Lyon and the peninsula) is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Each walk is a journey through time, from the vestiges of antiquity to street art , including the most daring architectures. 2nd cultural city in France, the birthplace of the 7th Art, Lyon offers a rich and continuous program of events, exhibitions, activities and visits.
Exceptionally diverse, its museum offer brings together major venues such as the Musée des Confluences but also the Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Musée d'Art Contemporain, or the Institut Lumière and its Cinema museum where a tour captivating traces the invention of Louis Lumière.
The different districts of the city make up a mosaic of atmospheres that are sources of multiple experiences. Trabouler in the Croix Rousse district on the trail of the Canuts , cross Place Bellecour, one of the largest squares in Europe, to stroll around Vieux Lyon . Taste the famous dumplings in a cork , take the funicular to admire the panorama from the square of Fourvière cathedral. Follow the flow of water by vaporetto towards the Confluence for a dip in modernity, treat yourself to a gourmet break at the Halles Paul Bocuse or pedal along the banks of the Saône ...
Saint-Etienne, a city of innovation
Impossible to talk about design without mentioning Saint-Etienne! Ideas, inventions and designs are the hallmarks of this city, fertile ground for the imagination.Part of the heritage of an industrial and creative culture, the rehabilitation of the former Manufacture Royale in Cité du Design has confirmed the vocation of Saint-Etienne, the only French commune classified Design UNESCO. This space totally dedicated to the sector is at the same time a place of awareness, learning, discovery and discussion. It brings together a school, exhibition halls, a restaurant, a media library, a material library and naturally hosts the International Design Biennale which attracts artists and visitors from all over the world.
Among the flagship heritage sites of the Stéphanois region, the Museum of Art and Industry, the Museum of Modern Art and of course the visionary city of Le Corbusier in Firminy-Vert.
Mixing the art of the beautiful with the useful is a concern that permeates the atmosphere of the city. You can taste it while strolling through the center and the lively streets of the old "Sainté" like that of the Martyrs of Vingré with its shops, restaurants and cafes. Everywhere, sculptures and contemporary installations punctuate the squares and courtyards with a touch of modernity.
Clermont Ferrand, at the gates of volcanoes
Clermont-Ferrand's candidacy for the title of European Capital of Culture for 2028 highlights all its assets: its location, its history, its quality of life and the remarkable character of its heritage. At the gates of the Puys chain, near the puy de Dôme and Vulcania, Clermont-Ferrand enjoys a privileged environment.
If the city can be proud of all its architectural riches, 2 monuments remain emblematic: the Basilica of Notre-Dame-du-Port, a very beautiful Romanesque building on the way to Saint- Jacques de Compostela, listed as a UNESCO heritage site, and the Notre-Dame Cathedral of the Assumption, a true icon of the lava stone city with its high Gothic spiers.
Besides the interest of the museum collections or the scenography of the "Aventure Michelin" which tells the story of the invention of the tire, its fabulous destiny and the rise of the city, discovering Clermont-Ferrand is also tasting the atmosphere. It is to taste the effervescence of the cafes and restaurants Place de la Victoire, at the foot of the cathedral. It is to stroll on the place of Jaude, famous for its shopping centers, its theater / opera and its statue of Vercingétorix, work of Bartholdi. Today, the Galeries Lafayettes occupy the building of the famous “Galeries de Jaude” designed in the tradition of Parisian department stores.
Grenoble, a resolutely alpine city
Grenoble is the ideal destination for those who hesitate between city or mountain. Located on the banks of the Isère near the great outdoors and ski resorts, surrounded by the Vercors, Chartreuse and Belledonne massifs, Grenoble is at the same time a modern city, a cultural city and a green city.
The 23 museums in the Grenoble area are all entry points for approaching and appreciating the many facets of its identity. The Museum of Modern Art, one of the first and most prestigious in Europe, the Museum of the French Revolution in the exceptional setting of the Château de Vizille, the Dauphinois Museum and the Stendhal Museum all tell a bit of its history. The heart of the city is also home to the many witnesses to this long glorious past which began 2000 years ago.
After strolling through its squares and cobbled streets, the story continues on the heights of the Bastille. The cabins of the cable car , (the 1st urban cable car in Europe inaugurated in 1934!) Hoist visitors at an altitude of 500 m to the old fortifications promising them a breathtaking view.
Chambéry, Capital of Savoy
At the heart of the French Alps, the city of Chambéry sometimes surprises with its allure of an Italian city. Residence of the House of Savoy from medieval times, the city was not annexed to France until 1860. For 6 centuries the territory extended to Piedmont so the Italian influence had time to leave its mark. This is evidenced by the colorful facades of Place Saint-Léger, the trompe l'oeil decorations, or the arcades of rue de Boigne. Numerous covered passages allow circulation between the buildings of the old town. These "alleys" also contribute to the charm of walks through the old town, which cannot avoid the famous Place des 4 Elephants or the Italian collections of the Museum of Fine Arts.
Symbol of the power of the Counts and Dukes of Savoy, the castle of Chambéry concentrates centuries of history. Today the headquarters of the administrations, guided tours allow you to enter the most secret parts of the building.
A prolonged stay in this city of art and history allows you to explore all its riches to the surroundings, in particular the Maison des Charmettes where JJ Rousseau, the famous writer of the Enlightenment, stayed.
Valence, essential stopover in the Rhône Valley
Located on the Nationale 7, the mythical axis of the holidays, the city of Valence opens up to the promises of the south, cultivates the art of living and the light of the south. At the heart of the Drôme terroirs, Valence is one of the major gastronomic stops in the Rhône valley. It has no less than 4 starred restaurants! With the famous Maison d'Anne-Sophie Pic in mind. Elected to the select group of 3-star tables, this exceptional chef honors her hometown with her talents.
A stopover in Valence is also synonymous with strolls, discoveries and heritage. While strolling in the historic center, the footsteps of visitors inevitably cross the House of the Heads, an atypical architecture renowned for its facade adorned with many sculpted heads. Not far away, the Museum of Art and Archeology attracts attention for its large collection of works of art gathered around the landscape. The little extra: the Belvedere and the terrace which overlook the horizon 360 °. You can see the Champ de Mars with the Peynet kiosk and the Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral.
Annecy, the Venice of the Alps
Savoyard town on the edge of the lake and against the backdrop of the mountains, Annecy is a destination of great charm tinged with romance. With its canals, colorful facades, cobbled streets, the Venice of the Alps invites you to stroll and detours. Emblematic image of the old town, the Palace of the island sits in the middle of the waters of the Thiou while the museum-castle stands overhanging. From its heights, it dominates Lake Annecy, the old center and more than 8 centuries of history: the Counts of Geneva, the Duchy of Savoy, the attachment to France ... All the heritage of the city evokes this long story like the district of 5 bell towers, witnesses of 5 periods.
The Pont des Amours is to Annecy what the Pont des Sighs is to the Venetian city. Loaded with legends, this obligatory passage offers a unique point of view on the lake, the mountains, the Vassé canal and its moored boats.
Vienna, grandeur and splendor of Antiquity
On the Rhone 30 minutes of Lyon, Vienne was the 2nd city of Gaul, the 2nd port after Rome. Rich in one of the most important archaeological sites in France, an in situ museum, a lapidary museum and remarkable sites, Vienne owes much of its prestige to its Roman style.
Perfectly integrated into the urban landscape, the splendors of the past are obvious to walkers. The temple of Augustus and Livia adjoins the café terraces, the exceptionally preserved ancient theater hosts the “Jazz à Vienne” festival every year. On the Right Bank of the Rhône, the Saint-Romain-en-Gal museum preserves nearly 4,000 objects and preserves the remains of an entire ancient district.
Another distant heritage of Rome ... the vine! The territory of Vienne is prized for its 2 renowned appellations, Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie. which justify twists and turns. The visit of the vineyards makes a good alliance with the discovery of local products. Good restaurants, artisan shops, tastings, not to mention the weekly market, the second largest market in France, put them in the spotlight and make Vienne a destination of all flavors.
Le Puy-en-Velay, heritage jewel of Auvergne
The capital of Velay in Haute-Loire deserves in more than one way its rank as a town of Art and History. Endowed with an unsuspected architectural richness, Puy-en-Velay is a succession of surprises for visitors. The UNESCO World Heritage List of Notre-Dame Cathedral attests to the remarkable character of this building. Listed as one of the most beautiful sets of Romanesque art, it marks the starting point of via Podiensis.
Heir to a brilliant medieval past, this crossroads city has remained the European capital of the ways of Saint James for contemporary pilgrims. A 6.8 km urban route, the PR673 “Prélude au Saint-Jacques”, guides walkers and all the curious through the picturesque and shopping streets to discover the heart of the city. From the Hôtel des Lumières, the digital art center of the Hôtel-Dieu cathedral complex to the Camino, a scenographic museum on the way to Saint-Jacques.
Without forgetting the Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe rock, an old volcanic chimney on which is built a chapel dedicated to Saint-Michel. An unusual ensemble which dominates the city at 82 m !
Vichy, "the queen of spa towns"
From the volcanoes of the Puys chain, the waters of Vichy make this town nestled on the banks of the Allier an emblematic resort of Auvergne. Thermalism is at the heart of its history. Known and frequented since antiquity, it has always seduced the greatest personalities. Napoleon III turned its destiny upside down, wishing to make it “the queen of the spa towns”. Imperial momentum breathed new life into a new era of work: construction of the station, thermal baths, the Grand Casino, villas, palaces, parks to link the Emperor's chalets (still visible today) to the pavilion of the famous source of Célestins. The city is transformed!
This high place of social life continues to transform under the influence of Art Nouveau to reach its peak during the Roaring Twenties. Today the rich heritage and architecture of the city has preserved its prestige. The current Palais des Congrès - Opera, the Hall of Sources, the thermal center of the Domes, the pavilion of the source cultivate its elegance. The lakeside promenade, the beaches, the nautical activities and the green spaces preserve its sweetness of life. Timeless, Vichy remains a city of relaxation and leisure.
Aix-les-Bains, the "Riviera of the Alps"
In a privileged natural setting on the shores of Lake Bourget, the largest natural lake in France, Aix-les-Bains promotes well-being and good living. Fourth spa resort in France, this city has preserved the festive memories of the Belle Epoque and the taste for pleasures.
Numerous architectures bear witness to this, the Château de la Roche du Roi, its palaces and of course the prestigious Grand Cercle casino still in operation. Gastronomy is no longer reserved for crowned heads but for all gourmets. The Chautagne vineyard, which stretches north of the lake, produces Savoie wines that invite themselves to all tables.
Between lake and mountain, close to beaches, wild coves and hiking trails, Aix-les-Bains is also a very popular nature destination for the practice of water and outdoor sports.
Bourg-en-Bresse, the legacy of history
From antiquity to modern times through the reign of the Dukes of Savoy and the attachment to France in 1601, the long history of Bourg-en-Bresse is at the origin of a remarkable heritage. At the head is the Royal Monastery of Brou , the emblematic monument of the city not to be missed! Sponsored by Marguerite of Austria on the death of her beloved Philibert le Beau, this flamboyant Gothic gem houses the princely tombs.
The discovery of the city holds many other surprises or curiosities among which the apothecary of the Hôtel-Dieu, one of the largest in France or the museum of mechanography. In the old center, you can find medieval half-timbered houses, mansions, Belle Époque buildings and contemporary constructions.