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Auvergne Rhone Valley Travel guide

Chaîne des Puys, Puy de Dôme Notre-Dame de Fourvière, Lyon Summer lavender field, Plateau d'Albion
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Auvergne Rhone Valley : Michelin's recommendations

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Auvergne is not only the geographical centre of France, it is also its heart and in some ways its soul too! This is the birthplace of Vercingétorix, the great leader of the Gauls who organised the resistance movement against the Roman invasion in 52 B.C. It is also the region that has produced the most French presidents and one of the greatest scientific and literary geniuses in the history of France: Blaise Pascal.
Auvergne is a land of volcanoes with enchanting verdant landscapes, lakes, forests and rivers where you can swim, hike, and go trout-fishing, skiing, rock-climbing, canoeing and kayaking. It is a paradise for sports-lovers, not to mention those who are fond of cheese ( Roquefort, Salers, Cantal), regional wines and handcrafted knives.
From there, the southern route leads to the sunny Rhone Valley, where the strong mistral winds blow. The rapid and majestic Rhône is the most powerful of French rivers, and the valley has a surprising variety of landscapes stretching from south of Lyon down to Provence: from the gentle hills of Beaujolais and the spectacular Ardèche Gorge to the Drôme Alps covered in lavender fields and dotted with villages such as Dieulefit known for their arts and crafts. The Rhône Valley also boasts some of the most famous vineyards in the country, including Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Condrieu, choice locations for Syrah and Viognier grapes.

Auvergne Rhone Valley - See all cities and regions

Auvergne Rhone Valley : Must-see towns and regions

  • Le Puy-en-Velay

    Le Puy-en-Velay’s setting is unforgettable. From a fertile plain enormous spikes of volcanic origin rise up, sometimes crowned by a chapel – Saint-Michel-d’Aiguilhe on the top of the Saint-Michel rock...

  • Lyons

    The capital of Gaul, Lugdunum, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built on two hills at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. With a history stretching back twenty centuries, the third larg...

  • Clermont-Ferrand

    Nowadays, Clermont Ferrand is a young and dynamic city. The old houses and cathedral built from volcanic rock are part of the “ville noire” (black town), with the Puys mountains forming an awe-inspiri...

  • La Chaise-Dieu

    Set on a sprawling wooded plateau that links the Livradois and Forez mountain ranges, the houses of this small village are grouped around the vast, majestic buildings of its famous Benedictine abbey. ...

  • Pérouges

    Located to the south of the Dombes, Pérouges is a harmonious village surrounded by ramparts. It was once a favourite with the sovereigns of Dauphiné and Savoy who fought over the town. Over time, the ...

  • Saint-Flour

    The square towers of Saint-Flour's cathedral seem to keep watch over the main route between the Languedoc and the old kingdom of France. This former town of consuls and bishops has made up in charm an...

  • Vienne

    Often neglected by motorists who fly by on the motorway in search of the sun, the old Gallo-Roman city is a true summary of history. Not very often do you find so many Romanesque temples and medieval ...

  • Saint-Étienne

    Often considered to be an industrial city polluted by its coal mining industry, Saint Étienne provides a good example of successful redevelopment with its whitewashed façades, parks and attractive squ...

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