Fodor's To Europe!

Lyon and the Rhône Valley

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Days 6-7
Next stop: Aix-en-Provence Previous stop: Versailles Return to full itinerary »

Lyon is France's natural hub, where the mighty river Rhône and the Saône meet. France's second city offers a stunning old quarter, a sophisticated arts scene, and rich, earthy food. Then head south to the Rhône Valley, which is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe—as well as top-notch vineyards.
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  • Art and Culture
  • Architecture
  • Food and Wine
  • History


  • Walk around Vieux Lyon and its superb Renaissance Quarter, one of the best-preserved in Europe. Stroll down Rue du Boeuf to see traboules (old passageways) along with spiral staircases, towers, and grand facades.
  • The Presqu'île, a peninsula flanked by two rivers, is Lyon's modern center. Don't miss the Fine Arts Museum and Institut Lumière, where the Lumière brothers invented an early motion picture camera.
  • In the Rhône Valley, explore the early Roman towns of Vienne and Valence. Vienne offers a Roman theater and remains of a temple, while Valence is now the region's market center.
  • Sample Rhône Valley wines up and down the valley. One of the region's most refined, and costly, is Hermitage from Tain-l'Hermitage.


  • The third Thursday of November is a party like no other, when the new Beaujolais harvest is celebrated.
  • The Biennale de la Danse is celebrated in September every other year with a different theme.

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