The Rhone-Alpes region boasts one of the most diverse landscapes in France, with Alpine mountains including Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, ancient cities and a large tract of the Massif Central offering a wealth of volcanic peaks. While the wintertime attractions of world-famous ski resorts such as Les Deux Alpes and Chamonix provide some of the most compelling reasons for visiting, we know for a fact that there are an exciting array of other activities and destinations that are equally as good! From the grand old city of Lyon, with its labyrinthian Traboules and UNESCO-listed architecture, to one of the eight superb nature parks – the largest and one of the most beautiful is The Parc de la Vanoise.
Places to go in Rhone-Alpes
As such a large French region, Rhône-Alpes offers a wide array of towns and cities that deliver everything, from rich history to a base for a fun-packed skiing holiday. The region’s capital, Lyon, with its unrivalled selection of restaurants is a must-see, but the task of choosing where to go doesn’t get much easier after that: Grenoble, aka the Capital of the Alps, is a good starting point if you’re seeking on-piste action, while Saint-Étienne is an equally appealing city to begin exploring the Massif Central on the west. Other places include Annecy with its cultural and sports activities, Chambéry with its stunning lakes, Chamonix with its access to the majestic Mont Blanc, and the town of Evian – which needs no introduction. While staying ski-side is what inevitably attracts most visitors, we think you’ll find the western reaches of Rhône-Alpes equally appealing.
Our Top Picks in Rhone-Alpes
We want you to enjoy the best that the Rhone-Alpes has to offer and so here's a small selection of our favourite things to see and do;
Restaurants of Lyon
We wouldn’t normally simply suggest visiting the restaurants of a city, but with Lyon we just have to make an exception. We talk a great deal about French food, but the capital of the Rhône-Alpes region is really something else, drawing in the freshest ingredients from the lands surrounding it to create a gastronomic experience you’re unlikely to forget. Add to this the vineyards of Beaujolais and you’ll soon discover why this city can offer you some truly enjoyable dining experiences!
Snow sports in Chamonix Mont Blanc
If you do insist on gliding across the fresh white powder on either ski or board, you could do a lot worse than doing it in Chamonix. Built in the imposing shadow of Mont Blanc, this town and the hamlets around it serve as a mecca for all those who enjoy rather dangerous – yet exhilarating – sports. As well as the standard one or two plank pastimes, those seeking extreme surges of adrenaline might choose ice climbing, rock climbing, paragliding, rafting or canoeing. The cleanest highs known to man? Possibly.
If your adrenal gland has been exhausted, or you simply don’t hold with rocketing down a black run with nothing but your bare wits to keep you out of a ravine, then the placid Lake Annecy might be just the job. The tranquillity of this lake has made it a firm favourite among many French families, often resulting in a thoroughly relaxed, civilised atmosphere under the trees by the water – particularly in spring and summer months. Stunning views make this definitely one to put on your Rhône-Alpes itinerary.
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