Information and Tourism
One of the biggest regions in France, the Rhone Alpes is known as the 'crossroads of Europe'. To the east, the region borders Italy
, while to the west, it reaches the Loire. Its landscape is both defined and dominated by the high mountains of the Alps and the River Rhone, which twists its way to Lyon before heading south to the Mediterranean.
Lyon is a confident city, happy to show off its rich heritage and present-day affluence that has been built on industrial wealth. Lyon is also something of a gastronomic centre. Local dishes are in abundance at Lyon's traditional restaurants known as 'bouchons', and you don't have to look too hard to find a top French chef and a Michelin star or two.
Further down the Rhone Valley, Grenoble has been nicknamed the Silicon Valley of France because of the proliferation of high tech industries based here. This self-styled capital of the Alps is a compact city, neatly nestled in the Isère Valley and within sight of the Vercors, Belledonne and Chartreuse massifs.
The Rhone Alpes boasts some of the most prestigious French ski resorts, from Grenoble-based Alpe d'Huez to the more northerly resort of Chamonix, which rates as the oldest of its kind in France.
Nearby Mont Blanc is the point of departure for climbers intent on challenging themselves on Europe's highest, and arguably most intriguing peak. Indeed, it is considered to be the birthplace of modern mountaineering.
The Ardèche takes in the northernmost parts of the Mediterranean 'garrigue', characterised by scrub-covered hills and punctuated by the Gorge de l'Ardèche. The Gorge drops dramatically down to the river below, making it very popular with canoe and kayak enthusiasts, as well as sports climbers.
Rhone Alpes Information and Fast Facts
- Country: France
- Main city or administrative centre: Lyon
- Biggest city: Lyon
- Population: approximately 6.5 million
- Language: French
- Area: 16,870 square miles / 43,695 square kilometres
- Height of Mont Blanc: 4,810 metres / 15,780 feet
WORLD GUIDES TO THE RHONE ALPES
World Guide to Lyon, France
To many, Lyon is nothing short of the epitome of gastronomical France, being home to an outstanding cuisine and countless stylish bistros. Lyon is the capital of France's Rhone Alpes and visitors always enjoy strolling around its Old Town.
Map of France