Travel guide to the Rhône-Alpes
France’s sun-kissed southern regions have long been popular with both locals and tourists.
When to visit
Winter, spring, summer or autumn, the climate of the Rhône-Alpes is “variable” in one word. In summer, which is generally hot, there are often severe storms. Winters are usually mild, with the warm months of April – May and October – December being the main travel times. In total, the region enjoys almost 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, and the summers are particularly hot in the south. Spring and autumn are mostly mild and the Alps are perfectly cold and snowy for winter skiing. But a variable climate is unpredictable, but not a bad thing. This means that you can access different activities depending on what time of year you want to travel the Rhône-Alpes.
Around the Rhône-Alpes
- Airports: You will have no problem reaching Rhône-Alpes by air as it is served by a number of major international airports including Lyon and Grenoble and Cointrin in Geneva, Switzerland. The Rhône-Alpes cities of Chambery and Valence also have their own, smaller airports.
- Public transport: France’s network of international high-speed trains covers parts of the Rhône-Alpes and some trips can also be made on SAT Bus-style buses, which are often the longest, but most affordable, way to get around. Taxis are readily available at airports and train stations, but they can be tricky if not booked in advance.
- Rent a car: Renting a car is easy in the Rhône-Alpes region as international rental companies operate from all airports. Major highways and mountain roads connect many larger holiday resorts. Visiting this region by car allows you to explore pretty much everything at your own pace.
Highlights of the Rhône Alps
- The Ardèche
- Hidden gems like Vienne and Valence.
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First stop in our Rhone-Alpes travel guide: Lyon
Read our personal recommendations for top attractions in Lyon, France, including restaurants, hotels, vistas, plazas and districts.
With its old center divided by narrow streets with houses from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Lyon has a lot to offer the curious and hungry visitor. Often referred to as the “world gastronomic capital”, the city owes its reputation to its original guinguettes – the welcoming and familiar bistros on the banks of the Saône. With more than 2000 years of history, Lyon is known not only for its heritage but also for its gastronomy as well as for the famous chef sons Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud and is an excellent historical and tasty starting point to begin your Rhône-Alpes road trip.
Our Rhone-Alpes travel guide will take you northeast and to the Belle Epoch town of Evian-les-Bains
Here’s everything you need to know about this starting city to the French Alps!
Evian-les-Bains is an exciting mix of locals and tourists.
Ferry commuters to Lausanne, alpine hikers and skiers from Great Britain and Germany, spa enthusiasts who enjoy the famous warm and calming waters of Evian Thermal Spa, Evian les Thermes, all of them come from this historic holiday resort Belle Epoch with 8000 inhabitants, enjoy the mountains, the lake and of course quench their thirst for mineral water with one bottle after the other ‘Evian Eau’ or Evian Water.
- Evian-les-Bains beautiful Art Nouveau Buvette Cachat
- Le Sources Cachat
Ahhh: the Ardèche region!
Next stop in our Rhone-Alpes travel guide: The beautiful Ardèche region with its wild and rugged character and its climbing, winding roads leads nature lovers into the remote hinterland of the hilly, curving, cliff-spanning Gorges de l’Ardèche, where you can hike and kayak can drive Campsite Ardeche Field after field of purple lavender and a paleolithic cave welcome both the outdoor enthusiast and the ancient history lover. Add breathtaking views, pristine lakes, and a grueling bike race that passes majestic cathedrals Ardèche villages, classic castles and majestic mountains that make this nature reserve a must on any nature-loving vacation destination list.
and some hidden gems from the Rhone-Alpes travel guide
Consider traveling further afield and enjoy the wine, food and hospitality of the city of Vienne, perhaps best known for its Jazz à Vienne. At sunset you can sit on one of the city’s sun-kissed stones Roman theater Vienne and Get your jazz up with international artists like Diana Krall, Chick Korea, Seal and Tonya Baker.
As the capital of the Drome department, Valence is known as the city of the Romans and primarily a leather and shoemaking center. Overlooking the Rhône and in close proximity to vineyards producing Crozes-Hermitages, St. Joseph and St. Peray wines, this beautiful medieval town is an excellent stop for wine tours of the region.
Complete your entire Rhone-Alpes travel guide with these handy links that you might want to bookmark.
- Don’t forget travel insurance! We work with World nomads Because with the “Explorer” option you will find out how you can make a difference and make more responsible and sustainable travel choices.
- Feel reborn with the Auvergne Rhône Alpes tourist attraction. It will definitely inspire your trip!
- Renting a car is easy. We rely on Eurocar for our rental needs. This gives you the flexibility to tour at your own pace and set your own itinerary.
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The following summer was invited to enjoy the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France on a press trip sponsored by Air Canada, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Tourisme, Rail Europe and Atout France.
World traveler, writer and blogger, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the travel blog followsummer.com. A retired actor, current shower singer, and non-hipster foodie. Loves his weekend home in St. Marys, Ontario. Father of Sophia, Ariel and Hastings, three of the best cats in the world.