Who goes there? You're at the gateway to the South: welcome to Valence...
This region is made up of the Rhône and Drôme departments, each watered by a river of that name. The landscape of this area varies from rolling hills, villages of golden stone, vineyards, lavender fields, and olive groves, to spectacular forests, lakes and mountains.
The Rhône department contains France’s second largest city, Lyon, a veritable mine of history and culture. The promontory in the city centre is listed as a Unesco world heritage site. Amongst the plethora of sites to explore in the city are the passageways known as the Traboules of Old Lyon and the Roman Theatres.
The Rhône area is one of the most gastronomic regions in France, with its Beaujolais and Côte du Rhône vineyards, and plenty of local cheeses and dishes such as tête de veau (poached calf’s head – not for the faint hearted), quenelles (meaty dumplings), and blanquette de veau (veal stew).
If you’re exploring the region, don’t miss the magnificent Gier Roman Aqueduct, and the fabulous mosaics at the Roman remains of Saint-Romain-en-Gal. For natural beauty, head to the stunning Pilat Regional Nature park.
Drôme is famous for its olives and olive oil, black truffles, garlic, and cheeses such as Picodon. The capital of the region, Valence is a market town with charming narrow streets. Check out the Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral in Valence, and the pretty Jouvet park.
Romans-sur-Isère in Drôme is the capital of luxury shoes, and even has an international shoe museum. Don’t miss the intriguing Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace, which was built by one (post)man in a surreal blend of styles.
There is a huge variety of activities to keep you busy in the Rhône and the Drôme. With walking, cycling, paragliding, horse-riding, skiing in the mountains and watersports on the lakes and rivers, there is something for all sporty types.
If you’re looking to entertain the kids, don’t miss the Crocodile Farm at Pierrelatte: they are bound to be fascinated. Just make sure they don’t try and take a cute baby crocodile home as a pet…
Station to station