Rhône-Alpes, France.

Rhône-Alpes sights.

Notre Dame de Fourvière Traboule Paul Bocuse Restaurant Alpe d’Huez Resort Saint-Nizier Church Saint-Exupéry Monument Cableway Euguille du Midi Sea of Ice

This site contains Rhone-Alpes attractions – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers to what to see in Rhône-Alpes, where to go, and where are the popular and interesting places in Rhône-Alpes.

Notre Dame de Fourvière

Facts of interest

Notre Dame de Fourvière is a religious edifice that was built at the expense of the citizens and symbolizes the victory of Christian values over socialist beliefs. Notre-Dame de Fourvière is located in Lyons, on a hilltop, and its construction lasted more than twenty years.

It dates back to 1643, when a plague was raging in the area. Several local residents of Lyons, being in continuous prayer, asked the Virgin Mary to save the townspeople. After a while, the epidemic subsided. In honor of this, as gratitude, the inhabitants of Lyon decided to build a church, and to erect it on top of a picturesque hill.

History repeated itself centuries later. In 1870, the Prussian army tried to invade Lyon and the inhabitants of the city begged the Virgin Mary for salvation once again. After a few days, Bismarck’s army decided to end the siege and the Prussians turned back.

The first sketches of Notre-Dame de Fourvière were made by Bossand in 1846. It took decades before it was realized. The date of the beginning of construction of the basilica is considered 1872. But the work was finally finished only in early 1964, when the interior decoration of this architectural monument was completed.

Coordinates: 45.76234400,4.82252200


One of the main attractions of the wonderful city of Lyon is the Traboules, whose number ranges from 400 to 500. The traboule is a covered street. The entrance to the traboule is closed by a door, and it goes under the house, then out into the courtyard and through the opposite side of the house. In this way, one could enter one street and exit on the completely opposite one. However, the traboules did not shorten the way, because they consisted of dark passages and steep stairs. One must be careful because one can easily get lost in the tangle of traboules.

The need for the construction of such streets arose after the Renaissance began the dense building of houses. Because of the special order in which they were placed, the covered traboules became a great success.

It is only possible to wander through the traboules until nine o’clock in the evening, and after that the doors are closed. The best known and most loved by tourists is the pink traboules, which can be found on all the postcards of Lyon. At the moment, Les Traboules is protected by the state as it has the status of a historical monument

Coordinates : 45.76728300,4.83570100

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Paul Bocuse Restaurant

Notre Dame de Fourvière (photo)

The famous French restaurant Paul Bocuse is located in the small village of Pont de Collonges, just a short drive from Lyon. The bright facade of the building and the huge sign on the roof will not let you get lost or pass by.

It’s easy to guess the name of the restaurant’s head chef and owner, famed French chef Paul Bocuse, in the name of the restaurant. In 1975 the master was awarded with the Legion of Honor and is rightfully considered one of the best chefs of the 20th century.

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Bocuse’s signature style is traditional French cuisine: “nothing superfluous, only timeless classics”. But could it be because we always come back to this cuisine, because it reminds us of the most important things? There are a lot of regulars among visitors of the restaurant and that is why you should reserve a table a few months in advance. On the menu you can find a specialty truffle soup called “E.G.V. Soup”. E.G.V. Soup, fricassee of chicken with cream sauce and Lyon’s traditional pike-perch meatballs.

Coordinates : 45.81683700,4.84737400

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Alp d’Huez resort

Traboule (photo)

Alpe d’Huez is one of the largest and highest mountain resorts in Europe and the largest ski resort in the French Alps, a first international category ski station.

Alpe d’Huez is located at an altitude of 1860 to 3330 meters above sea level – it is one of the 20 resorts in the world, where the elevators serve over 2000 meters vertical drop. The special microclimate provides Alpe d’Huez about 300 sunny days a year, so it is often called Sunny Island.

There are five resorts located around Alpe d’Huez: Ori, Gard, Oz, Vaujani, and Vieillard Rekula connected by chairlifts with Alpe d’Huez and forming a single ski area – the Grand Rousse. Each of the villages is attractive in its own way and each has its own little ski area. There are three levels of varying difficulty of slopes in the resort: for beginners and children, for advanced skiers and for “professionals”. Among the most famous slopes of the resort is “Wolf’s Neck”, where extreme lovers can go down the steep (40°) slope of thousand meters length, called the “Tunnel” and passing through a tunnel in the glacier. The route was filmed in one of the James Bond movies. Sarennes is the longest (16 kilometers) black ski run in Europe.

The resort will also be something to do for free riders, flatland skiers, snowboarders, in the summer Alpe d’Huez is popular among fans of mountain biking. After sporting activities, you can relax in one of the 50 restaurants and 42 bars in Alpe d’Huez. There are also discotheques, indoor and outdoor pools, an ice rink, and cinemas. For families with children there is a nursery, kindergarten and children’s ski school (from 4 years).

Coordinates: 45.09327700,6.06839500

Saint-Nizier Church

Paul Bocuse restaurant (photo)

The church of Saint-Nizier ( glise Saint-Nizier) is named after a 6th century bishop of Lyon. The site on which the cathedral now stands has a long ecclesiastical history and is associated with the 48 martyrs of Lyon and Gaul, victims of torture in 177, among them Saint Potin and Saint Blandin. According to contemporary accounts, their bodies were burned and thrown into the Rhone.

Saint-Exupéry Monument

The resort of Alpe d'Huez (photo)

The monument to Saint-Exupéry (Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger de Saint-Exupéry) and his character, The Little Prince, is located on Place Bellecourt.

The sculptural composition was created by Christian Gillabe in 2000 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Saint-Exupéry, the Lyon-born writer and aviator.

The Eygueil du Midi cable car

The church of Saint-Nizier (photo)

The Aiguille du Midi cable car was for decades the highest cable car in the world, linking Aiguille du Midi Peak and the city of Chamonix. It was built in 1955 and today continues to hold the lead in terms of elevation difference between the upper and lower stations, which is 2,742 meters. Also the uniqueness of the cable car is confirmed by the presence of a section without intermediate supports, which lifts the cabin to the upper platform of the peak. For lovers of mountain sports on the top was laid a ski trail.

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The cable car of the Aiguille du Midi is capable of ferrying 550 people per hour, and the trip itself lasts about 20 minutes. The return ticket for the cable car costs 50 euros and at the top of the mountain you will find a store with various souvenirs, a cozy cafe with hot chocolate and an observation deck to explore all the charms of the peak of the Aiguille du Midi and its surroundings.

Coordinates : 45.87859600,6.88734800

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Sea of Ice

The monument of Saint-Exupéry (photo)

The Sea of Ice is the largest glacier in France, located near the town of Chamonix. Today its length reaches 7 kilometers, and its thickness ranges from 200 to 400 meters. The glacier stretches between the mountains along a winding path and resembles a frozen river. Its speed of movement reaches 70 meters per year. According to the guide, it is now in retreat, and its area decreases every year.

This sea of ice is considered a real attraction since the end of the nineteenth century, when the first tourists arrived on its territory, finding the landscape of icy terrain quite interesting and fascinating. You can reach it from the city on foot or by special train on the cogged railroad.

Many tourists come to see not so much the Sea of Ice itself, as the high peaks Les Drus and Les Grandes Jorasses, which attract rock climbers. Each tourist before the trip has to make a choice, whether he will look at the attraction himself or listen to the stories of the guide. If you choose the latter, the guide will introduce you to a small cave in the glacier itself.

Coordinates: 45.91772100,6.92619300

The most popular attractions in Rhône-Alpes with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Rhône-Alpes on our website.

More sights in Rhône-Alpes

Jacobean Square Fountain, Lyon, France Chateau Grignan, Grignan, France Prexile, Lyon, France Fourvière Hill and Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica, Lyon, France Rochecolombe Chateau, Ardèche, France Bartholdi Fountain, Lyon, France


The cableway of Eguyuy du Midi (photo)

The eight departments of the region with the strictly geographical name Rhône-Alpes, created in 1956, do not share the same past as the other, historical, regions of France. And yet they, too, have much in common in history.


The pragmatic French wanted one thing: to create a powerful economic region, relying, as on the three points of the triangle, on the cities of Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Grenoble. The historic areas were carved, as they say, in the living: Savoie – the current departments of Savoie, Upper Savoie, part of the department of En, Dauphiné – the departments of Drome, Isère, part of the department of En, Vivaret – the department of Ardèche, Forez – the department of Loire, Lyonnais – the department of Rhone. Until about the end of the 17th century, the main language of communication of the local population in all these historic areas was the Romance Provençal (Occitan) language and its dialects. This is the first thing that links them historically. In 1539, an edict was issued on the use of French as the official language only, and Provençal gradually faded into the shadows and then fell into the category of archaic, retaining, however, some of its forms in the French language. A second historical link that binds all the current departments of the region is that virtually all of its cities were heavily influenced by Rome in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Finally, they could not help but be linked by river valleys, roads and aqueducts built by the Romans. In 1994, in the Chauvet Cave in the Department of Ardèche, near the natural site of Pont d’Arc (Stone Arch Bridge), speleologists accidentally came across drawings of ancient man, the age of which was determined by radiocarbon analysis as 33-35 thousand years. Historical traces in the form of metal objects left around 1200-900 BC. e. Celtic tribes. These were the Helvetians, Allobrogians, Cavarians, Vocontians, Tricastines and Segusias. The first Romans with whom the Celts formed an alliance, even though the Romans conquered them, were the legionaries of Julius Caesar during his Gallic campaigns of 58-51 B.C. In the 3rd century this idyll began to be destroyed by the Germans – Alemians, Visigoths, Burgundians, until they were all defeated by the Franks. By 511 Frankish King Clovis I already owned lands from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, his kingdom was a prototype of France. After his death in 563, his son Gontrand inherited lands roughly equivalent to the present-day Rhone-Alpes, the kingdom of Burgundy. In 1032 Burgundy became part of the Holy Roman Empire of the Germanic Nation. The historic regions that made up the future Rhône-Alpes region then developed each in their own way. The fiefs of the Dauphiné around Vienne emerged in the 11th century. In 1271 the county of Lower Vivaré swore allegiance to the French crown, in 1313 the county of Lyonne. – The events unfolded in the context of political struggles, territorial exchanges, compromises, dynastic marriages, etc., and sometimes battles, though not too bloody. All these lands were involved in the religious confrontation between Catholics and Huguenots in the 16th century, and many more people died in these wars than in the feuds of the Middle Ages. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, which gave the Huguenots the right to their religion in 1598, most of them left France. Savoy in 1720 was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, in 1792, during the French Revolution (1789-1799) was annexed to France, in 1815 at the end of Napoleonic wars by the Vienna Congress was returned to Sardinia. In 1860 after the Austro-Italian-French war of 1859 it was again ceded to France. By the end of the XIX century.

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Sea of ice (photo)

The boundaries of all the historic regions, which after more than 60 years became part of the Rhone-Alpes region or shared most of their lands, were finally defined and consolidated. The Rhône-Alpes region is among the “four motors of Europe”, the most dynamic regions of the continent (along with Spain’s Catalonia, Italy’s Lombardy and the German state of Baden-Württemberg). Of the 22 regions of mainland France, Rhône-Alpes is second only to the capital region Ile-de-France in economic importance and population, and Lyon is the third largest city in the country after Paris and Marseille. Only the South-Pyrénées region is larger than the Rhône-Alpes, but it has three times less population. In the last five years, the population of Lyon, the region’s capital, has increased by 5.13%, while that of Paris has decreased by 0.83% and that of Marseille by 0.35%. Of course, such a picture is not accidental, Lyon, which the Romans called Lugdanum, has never been a quiet provincial city. Its history goes back more than two thousand years. This is the birthplace of the world cinema – Lumière brothers, Auguste (1862-1954) and Louis (1864-1948) worked here, writers Stendhal (Henri Marie Beil, 1783-1842), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), physicist, mathematician and naturalist André Marie Ampere (1775-1836) and other prominent French minds and talents were born. Lyon was the birthplace of the country’s textile industry, and today the city is a cultural, scientific, university, economic center focused on high-tech industries. Its patriots, and not only them, say that Lyon looks and feels more like Paris before World War II than Paris itself. Grenoble is the second scientific center of the region, and the first by the number of enterprises equipped with the latest high technology, in addition, the center of nuclear energy. Saint-Etienne is the birthplace of French metallurgy and military industry, and in the recent past (until about 1970) the center of coal mining. The country’s first steelworks appeared here in 1815, and the first railroad to transport coal was built in 1827. Many weapons were produced here, for which during the Great French Revolution and World War II Saint-Etienne was called Armville – the “city of weapons. In any of the cities in the region there are unique architectural landmarks associated with important in the history of France and Europe, and nearby natural wonders – lakes, picturesque valleys with castles, in the west and east – the Alps. On the Rhône within the region is a cascade of hydroelectric power plants, along its banks are several nuclear power plants, the oldest of which – “Marcoule” (1956). Industrial effluents of enterprises on the banks of the Rhone and Sona are, of course, purified, control of nuclear power plants is strict, and yet emergency discharges, including radioactive waste, occur (the last was in 2008, in 2011 there was an explosion at the “Markul” NPP, but radiation leakage was prevented). Fishing in the Rhone south of Lyon is prohibited. But bans will not change the situation, it is well understood not only by the regional authorities, who encourage “green” technology (biofuels, the use of solar energy), but also by the residents themselves. In recent years, people’s “communities of positive energy” began to emerge here, whose members conduct environmental actions, share their experiences on how to reduce the consumption of electricity in the home, how to solve family problems. The departments of Upper Savoie and Savoie are home to many famous ski resorts.

Here is the largest skiing region in Europe – the Three Valleys (about 600 km of prepared slopes only), the longest run (16 km, Alpe d’Hughes), the most impressive off-piste slope (22 km, Chamonix). On the border of Upper Savoy and the Italian province of Courmayeur rises Mont Blanc. The Winter Olympic Games were held three times: in 1924 in Chamonix, in 1968 in Grenoble and in 1992 in Albertville. The region is also famous for its cuisine, rich in gastronomic delicacies, its wines and liqueurs.

Switzerland is an almost perfect country

General Information

Administrative divisions: the Rhône, Isère, Loire, Drome, Upper Savoie, Savoie, Ain and Ardèche departments.

Ethnic makeup: French 93.6%, Algerians 1.3%, Portuguese 0.8%, Turks 0.7%, and Maroccans, Tunisians, Italians, etc.

The largest rivers are the Sona, the Rhone, and the Isère. The largest lakes: Nantua, Montenard, Bois Francais, Agbelet, Bouguer, Saint-André, Annecy, Leman (Lake Geneva).

The main airports are the international airports of Saint-Exupéry in Lyon, Grenoble-Isere in Grenoble, Saint-Etienne Boutheon in Saint-Etienne.


Climate and weather

The Rhône-Alpes region is thought to have 24 variations of climate, generally moderate continental, with minor oceanic influences and more significant Mediterranean influences. The central massif in the west keeps the Atlantic winds out, and anticyclones rarely visit this part of France. The climate in the mountains is humid, but it can be dry just a few tens of kilometers from the peaks. The average temperature in Lyon in January is +2.6°C.


Industries: mechanical engineering (including automotive industry), chemical, food-processing, optomechanical, textile (silk industry), high-precision machines, instruments, enterprises of biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, fashion industry, dermocosmetology.

Agriculture: cultivation of grain, olives, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, grapes, meat and milk cattle breeding, sheep breeding, on lots of small farms – wine and cheese production (90 sorts). Services: banking, transport, logistics, education, medical services (advanced treatment of cancer and viral diseases), trade, tourism (numerous resorts for summer and winter holidays).


St. Etienne : Fortress of St. Croix-en-Jardin (11th c), St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Romanesque, 12th c), Saint Jacques district (17th-18th c), Notre Dame de Saint-Etienne Cathedral (Baroque, 17th c), Saint Charles church (Gothic, 1912), museums: modern art, design, mines, bridges and highway. Nearby: the Natural Park of Pyla, castles: Montbrison residence of the Counts de Farez, Renaissance (XIV-XV cc), Cousin (XIII-XIV cc), Basti d’Urfe (Renaissance, XV-XVI cc).

Lyon: Old City, Croix-Rousse, Vieux-Lyon and Presque-Ile (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Théâtre Fourrière (Roman open-air theater, 1st century BC- 2nd century), 2nd century monuments – Aqueduct Giers, Sanctuary of Cybele, Three Gallia Amphitheatre; Cathedral of John the Baptist (Romanesque, Gothic, 12th – 15th cc. the Gallo-Roman and archaeological museums, Saint-Romain-en-Gal, the Fine Arts museum in the Benedictine nunnery (17th century), the Lumière brothers (film museum), weaving and textiles, modern art, and the Botanical Garden. Grenoble : Ruins of a baptistery (late 4th century), former convent of the Visitation or Convent of the Virgin Mary (Baroque, 15th-16th centuries), now a museum of the Dauphiné Historique, Dauphiné Parliament building (Baroque, 16th-16th centuries), fortress of Bastille (Bastille). Bastille (16th-19th centuries), Duc de Lediguyer’s mansion (17th century, Baroque), Saint-Laurent archaeological museum (12th century church), City Museum. Vienne: St. Mauritius Cathedral (Gothic, 11th and 16th centuries), St. Maxime (11th century) and St. André-le-Ba (9th and 12th centuries) churches and remains of Roman structures, Château de Septem (13th and 15th centuries). Chambery: Chateau of the Dukes of Savoy (14th century), cathedral of Saint-Nizier (Gothic 15th century), Notre-Dame de Chambery church (Doric style, 1636), Elephants fountain (1838), Jean-Jacques Rousseau House Museum, Savoy Museum, Beaux-Arts Museum, François Mitterrand Library. Annecy : Church of Saint-Maurice (Gothic, 1426), Basilica Vizitacion of Saints Francis of Salz and Jeanne de Chantal (1922), Saint-Clair gate, Chateau of the Count of Geneva, (XII-XIV centuries), “Rhine” tower (XII century) and “Pierre” tower (XV century), Annecy medieval prison, Annecy park. Thermal spas: Aix-les-Bains, Evian, Tonon, Divonne, Val-les-Bains, Saint-Gervais. Ski resorts : Chamonix, Megève, Maribel, Vald’Isère, Courchevel, etc.

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