Lyon + The Rhone Valley Travel Guide

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Rather like the confluence of two rivers—the Rhone and Saone—in the city of Lyon, the Rhone Valley offers two distinct experiences. There are vibrant European cities, and stunningly beautiful countryside, home to some of the best wines and cuisine in the world. Visit the Rhone Valley—which spans from Lyon to just north of Orange in Provence—and you’ll see the terrain that once served as the north-south route of armies crossing France during the time of Charlemagne. Lyon (now the second largest city in France) was once a key city center of the silk trade, while Vienne and Valence were early Roman towns. Today, the Rhone Valley offers a rich trove of medieval and Renaissance architecture, world-class wineries and the kind of French cuisine that makes the bucket lists of gourmands everywhere. Read on in this Rhone Valley travel guide to explore this idyllic region in France:

Things Not to Miss in the Rhone Valley

• Stroll around Vieux Lyon to see Europe’s oldest Renaissance Quarter
 • Visit vineyards that create Côtes du Rhone wines
 • Dine in the restaurants that have long defined French cuisine
 • Lyon’s Musée de Beaux Arts, showcasing France’s best collection of sculptures and paintings outside Paris
 • Sample nougats in Montelimar

When to Go to the Rhone Valley

The peak of the Rhone Valley travel season lasts from June to September—both in terms of crowds and prices. Summers here can get hot—but the heat offers an excellent excuse to go canoeing on the rivers. For the sweet spot of fewer crowds and lower prices, come in April or May, when temperatures are still mild. The Rhone Valley travel season experiences another surge in winter, given the easy access to skiing in the Alps. In December, Lyon also hosts the renowned Festival of Lights.

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