Le château de Grignan.
Vienne longeant le Rhône.
Les vignobles en terrasse à Tain l'Hermitage.
Le théâtre antique d'Orange.
Le nougat de Montélimar.
La cité des Papes d'Avignon vu depuis Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.
Fromage de chèvre AOC de Picodon.
La tour de Crest.
Tarte à la praline rose.
Gastronomic getaway in the Rhône Valley
The Rhône Valley contains many treasures. Its mere mention evokes thoughts of a myriad of bouquets and flavours. Naturally, there is the simple, generous cooking of the typical small Lyonnais restaurants (‘bouchons’) as well as the riches of its vineyards that accompany the local cuisine so well. Among the great names of the domain arises the other great wealth of this region: its history. A renaissance castle, an ancient theatre, the Palace of the Popes, the wonders of its heritage line your route. Combine these with the discovery of Michelin starred restaurants for a truly exceptional trip.
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Slip on your walking shoes to explore Old Lyon, a little architectural and historical gem. Walk along rues Saint-Georges and Saint-Jean and around the beautiful Cathedral. In these neighbourhoods, the traboules create a genuine treasure hunt from one building to the next and guided tours offer insight beyond the magnificent Renaissance facades. Pause for the obligatory snack break to try the famous praline before taking the Funicular de Fourvière climb to take in the city. And for dinner? Inevitably gastronomic and starred, at one of the places listed in the Michelin guide.
Along the Rhone, discover Vienne, a small historic town that hosts beautiful Gallo-Roman remains such as its ancient theatre. 3km upstream, history lovers can tour the ancient city of Saint-Romain-en-Gal in three hours. For something different try the Peaugres safari park, midway to the Tain-l’Hermitage vineyard. If you’re looking for a gastronomic establishments, this city of wine and chocolate offers great options. Unless your appetite is bigger after a visit to Valence and its Maison des Têtes. Michelin stars have blossomed here.
Overlooking Drôme, stands the Tour de Crest. The highest dungeon in France, its viewpoint across the Valence plain is exceptional. Down below, head to the lanes of the old town which sport beautiful residences. 15kms south, the classified site of the Forest of Saou offers pretty walks. In the village of the same name, try the Picodon, an AOC goats cheese that inevitably goes with a glass of Côte du Rhône. In Montélimar, between nougats, visit Château des Adhémar and walk along the city centre’s wide Provencal lanes before finding your table for the evening.
Before leaving Drôme, visit the renaissance Château de Grignan where the daughter of Madame de Sevigne once lived. Its terraces offer a vast panorama across the surroundings. Your stay in Provence ends with a stop in Orange, to see its striking Ancient Theatre, one of the best preserved in Europe. But Avignon, the City of Popes, with its palace and historic centre, will have many reasons to keep hold of you. In this magnificent setting, enjoy quality Provencal cuisine accompanied by classic wines from the vineyard. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is nearby !
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