The ultimate guide to Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Use this Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes travel guide for a road trip through the idyllic Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France from Lyon to Vienne to Valence!

Let’s go!

Travel guide for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

France’s sun-kissed southern regions have long been popular with locals and tourists alike. Provence may be too tempting while Lyon is just a gastronomic stop before the allure of Parisian delights. We hope to take you into one of France’s best kept secrets: The Auvergne Rhône-Alpes.

When to visit the Auverne-Rhône-Alpes:

Winter, spring, summer or autumn, the Rhône-Alpes climate is, in a word, “variable”. In the generally hot summer there are often violent thunderstorms. The winters are usually mild, with the warm months of April to May and October to December being the main travel times. In total, the region has almost 2,000 hours of sunshine a year and the summers are hot, especially in the south. Spring and autumn are mostly mild and the Alps are perfectly cold and snowy for winter skiing. But changeable climates, although unpredictable, is not a bad thing. That means you can access different activities depending on the time of year you want to travel the Rhône Alps.

Getting around in the Auverne-Rhône-Alpes

  • Airports: You will easily reach Auverne-Rhône-Alpes by air as it is served by several major international airports such as Lyon and Grenoble and Cointrin in Geneva, Switzerland. The cities of Chambéry and Valence in the Auverne-Rhône-Alpes also have their own, smaller airports.
  • Public transport: France’s network of international high-speed trains covers parts of the Rhône-Alpes, and some journeys can also be made SAT Coach-style buses, which are often the longest but cheapest way of getting around. Taxis are readily available at airports and train stations, but it can be difficult to find elsewhere unless booked in advance.
  • Rent a car: Renting a car is easy in the Rhône-Alpes region as international car rental companies operate at all airports. Major highways and mountain roads connect many larger holiday resorts. Visiting this region by car gives you the freedom to explore pretty much everything at your own pace.

Highlights of the Auverne-Rhône-Alpes

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First stop on our Auverne-Rhône-Alpes travel guide: Lyon

Check out our personal recommendations for must-sees in Lyon, France, including restaurants, hotels, lookouts, plazas and District.

With its ancient center divided by narrow streets with medieval and renaissance houses, Lyon has a lot to offer the curious and hungry visitor. The city, which is often referred to as the “world gastronomic capital”, owes its good reputation to its original Guinguettes – these welcoming and familiar bistros on the banks of the Saône. With over 2000 years of history, Lyon is famous not only for its heritage, but also for its gastronomy as well as the famous boss sons Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud and is an excellent historical and tasty starting point for your Rhône-Alpes road trip.

Lyon, France

Vieux Lyon: First stop with our Auverne-Rhône-Alpes guide

Our Auverne-Rhône-Alpes travel guide takes you to the northeast and the Belle Epoch town of Evian-les-Bains

Here’s everything you need to know about this jump-off town in the French Alps!

Evian-les-Bains is an exciting mix of locals and tourists.

Commuters by ferry to Lausanne, alpine hikers and skiers from Great Britain and Germany, spa enthusiasts who enjoy the famous warm and calming waters of Evian thermal baths, Evian les Thermes, everyone comes to this historic Belle Epoch spa town of 8,000 inhabitants while they enjoy the mountains, the lake and of course their mineral water thirst for the city with one bottle at a time ‘Evian Eau’ or Evian water.

Ahhh: the Ardèche region!

Next stop on our Auverne-Rhône-Alpes travel guide: the beautiful Ardèche region with its wild and rugged character and climbing, winding roads that lead nature lovers into the remote hinterland of the hilly, winding, cliff-rich Gorges de l’Ardèche, where you can can hike, kayak, Ardèche campsite and field after field of purple lavender and a Paleolithic cave welcome both the outdoor enthusiast and the ancient history buff. Add in breathtaking views, pristine lakes, a grueling bike race that speeds past majestic cathedrals Ardèche villages, classic castles and majestic mountains that make this nature reserve a must on every nature-loving vacation destination list.

and some hidden treasures from the Auverne-Rhône-Alpes travel guide

Consider traveling further afield and enjoy the wine, food and hospitality of the city of Vienne, perhaps most famous for its Jazz à Vienne, where you sit on one of the sunlit stones at sunset Vienna Roman Theater and Get your jazz going with international artists like Diana Krall, Chick Korea, Seal and Tonya Baker.

As the capital of the Drôme department, Valence is known as the city of the Romans and above all as a leather and shoemaker center. Overlooking the Rhône and in close proximity to vineyards producing Crozes-Hermitages, St. Joseph and St. Peray, this beautiful medieval town is an excellent stop for wine tours in the region.

Complete your entire Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes travel guide with these handy links that you will want to bookmark.

  • Don’t forget travel insurance! We work with World nomads because with the coverage of the ‘Explorer’ option you will discover how to make a difference and make more responsible and sustainable travel choices.
  • Feel reborn with the Auvergne Rhone Alpes tourist resort. It will inspire your trip!
  • The website viamichelin.com confirms travel times and distances to the ski slopes, wineries, castles and lavender fields including tolls, fuel costs and suggested routes.
  • Renting a car is easy. We rely on Eurocar for our rental needs. This gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace and set your own itinerary.

Please Note: This post contains World Nomads product links, which are affiliate links. So when you click on it and buy something, we get a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no additional cost to you) that is used to keep the following summer going. Merci beacoup in advance! (because we are in France after all!)

Followsummer was invited to enjoy the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France as part of a press trip sponsored by Air Canada, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Tourisme, Rail Europe and Atout France.

Gregory George

World traveler, author and blogger, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the travel blog followsummer.com. Come, travel the world with me and my experienced eye!

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