The Rhone Alps are situated on the eastern side of France. It is a beautifully scenic area of France that has dense forests, huge lakes, fertile pasture land, deep gorges as well as spectacular mountains.
Switzerland and Italy lie on the eastern side of this area, with the French Alps forming the border. Winter sport enthusiasts and walkers and climbers in summer have been long drawn to the challenges of the spectacular peaks and awesome landscape.
Chamonix is a mountain climbing center as well as ski resort. This is where the tunnel of Mont Blanc runs right through the Alps and provides a direct connection between Italy and France. Along with Val d’Isere, Morzine and Megeve, Chamonix enjoys international repute, as do Evian and Thonon, spa towns that nestle on Lake Geneva.
Surrounded by mountain peaks, Grenoble lies within Isere Valley and is a modern and busy university town. It has a lovely old quarter with good shopping, numerous gardens and parks and superb ski facilities. The New Museum displays fine collections of contemporary arts.
The Rhone flows through this beautiful province towards the Mediterranean and passes through the capital of Lyon. The city possesses a combination of northern as well as southern influences, with silk and technological industries of the north and southern joie-de-vivre. This is reflected within the Opera House, museums and theatres, as well as its gardens, architecture and all-round liveliness.
Lyon lays claim to being the gastronomic hub of France. There is a diverse choice of restaurants boasting the finest chefs. Food shops, bistros and cafes abound for every palate and pocket. Markets sell local produce, pottery and crafts, and there is an antique dealer quarter with excellent shops.
The Dombes ponds are up-stream from Lyons. These are a cluster of little lakes where a vast diversity of birds make this their home. The Loire vineyards and the gorges and forests of Ardeche lie westward of Lyon. The Drome in the south offers warmth, olive groves and lavender fields.
The Savoy is an alpine region that produces cheese, milk, cream and butter. Fish are plentiful in the mountain streams and lakes, and mushrooms can be found n the forests. Walnut, pear, apple and cherry trees are planted in the orchards, while raspberries and strawberries are plentiful within the glades. Cheeses of this region include Boudane and Beaufort, and Tamie that is made by the Trappist monks. The Savoy produces mountain wines, while the Loire offers a varied selection of wines.
Things To Do
There are many activities that can be enjoyed throughout the region. There are markets in all the villages and towns. The mountain streams, rivers and lakes offer excellent angling and fly-fishing. Rafting can be enjoyed at Ardeche in the Alps. Golf courses can be found everywhere, as well as several spas for relaxing. The natural and wild countryside offers mountain biking, cycling, walking and hiking. Seasoned mountaineers run beginner schools. Skiers can enjoy numerous runs all through the Rhone Alps. The summers are generally long and warm, but the higher Alps are cooler. The winters are cold with a good amount of snow cover and some sun.