French Alps are located in the South-Eastern corner of France. It is bounded to the East by Switzerland and Italy, to the South by Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur, to the West by Auvergne and to the North by Burgundy and Franche-Comte.
The Rhone Alps region consists of 8 departements, with the river Rhône flowing through all of them: the Rhône (departement 69), the Loire (departement 42), the Ain (departement 01), the Savoie (departement 73), the Haute-Savoie (departement 74), the Isere (departe/french-alps/rhonement 38), the Drôme (departement 26) and the Ardeche (departement 07).
With its population of 5.65 million and surface area of 44,000 km², the Rhone Alps is France’s second largest region.
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|An immense area for natural sports
The region is characterised by the two main features of water and mountains, with its name a combination of the river Rhône and the mountain range of the Alps.
The Rhone Alps brings together areas of flat landscape with areas of mountains. The natural backdrop of much of the region is made up of medium and high mountains.
Boasting the world’s largest ski area as well as some of the most famous resorts ( Chamonix, Megeve, Les Arcs, Tignes etc), the Rhone Alps also offers the alternative charms of little villages hidden in the valley. The properties located in the various ski resorts allow you to ski during the winter and do trekking in the summer as most of them offer summer activities. With its plethora of alpine glaciers, numerous lakes and wetlands and major rivers (6 of the 8 departments bear the name of a river), the Rhone Alps’ water supplies are particularly significant and include 7,000 km of waterways.
|These massive natural spaces offer open playgrounds for a whole range of outdoor activities: winter sports, hiking and climbing, cycling and mountain biking, rafting, windsurfing, paragliding, golf…|
|Nature has been generous to the Rhone Alps, blessing it with amazing sites such as the Ardèche gorges or the multiple ponds in the Dombes, as well as unforgettable scenery such as the pine forests and glaciers of the Mont Blanc, the fields of lavender in the provençale Drôme and the lush countryside of the Bresse.|
37.000 years of heritage. The geographic location of the Rhone Alps has favoured the introduction of many different architectural styles. Such a wide variety of influences, together with the ruins of ancient civilisations as well as modern creativity, have contributed to the rich artistic heritage of the region’s towns and villages.
From Lyon’s prestigious Musée des Beaux-Arts via the top modern art museums (St Etienne’s Musée d’Art Moderne) and archeological museums (Musée de Saint Romain en Gal) through to the many small museums dedicated to local traditions, the region presents a veritable treasure trove for culture buffs.
The Danse Biennial in Lyon, Jazz in Vienne and the International Festival of Animated Films in Annecy are just some of the 200 plus festivals taking place in the region, which is also home to France’s first national opera company… making the Rhone Alps one of the best regions in France for the dramatic arts, attracting more than 13 million spectators annually.
A land of flavours
The Rhone Alps’ culinary reputation spreads much wider than just Lyon, renowned as the gastronomic capital since the 16th Century largely because of its tasty charcuteries: there are Savoie cheeses to taste, as well as Bresse’s chickens, Montélimar’s nougat… Respect is paid to gastronomy throughout the Rhone Alps region, as much in the restaurants of prestigious chefs such as Paul Bocuse and the Troigros brothers as in country inns or “ bouchons lyonnais”.
A blend of culinary specialities
The Rhone Alps’ gastronomy reflects the exact image of its landscapes: a mosaic of identities and flavours. Here is a blend of culinary specialities you would find while travelling throughout the region..
As a starter:
Caillette de Chabeuil , made from pork offal and herbs or fougasse aux Gratons bringing a taste of Provence, transporting us to the southern reaches of the region (Drôme and Ardèche). Air-dried Savoie ham, the very best of Savoie’s mountain charcuterie; chicken liver pie served in the Ain or in one of the bouchons lyonnais; or the sabodet made with Beaujolais wine are other alternatives.
For the main course:
The “tablier de sapeur” or calves’ feet feature large in Lyon’s traditional cuisine. Or perhaps you would prefer some volaille de Bresse (for which the famous chef Georges Blanc is a passionate ambassador).
If you like fish, you could try: pike from the Dombes, an area of the Ain which has a thousand ponds; lavaret from the Lac du Bourget; féra from Lake Geneva or Lac d’Annecy; quenelles made from pike and served in a Nantua sauce; and last but not least, the renowned char fished from the same lakes.
On the cheese platter:
Abondance, Beaufort, Bleu de Gex, Comté, Reblochon, picodons from the Drôme and the Ardèche… all awarded AOC status; and cervelle de canut (fresh cheese served in Lyon).
To end the meal, choose your dessert from the trolley:
Galette Bressane, pogne de Romans, croquettes aux amandes de Nyons, Montélimar nougat, fruit basket (apricots, peaches, nectarines, all picked in the Rhône valley and the Drôme, known as France’s orchard).
Wines from the Rhone Alps
Completing this outstanding gastronomic heritage are the region’s wines: Beaujolais, Vallée du Rhône, Coteaux du Lyonnais, Savoie, Bugey… the wines and vintages from the Rhone Alps represent 35 AOC vineyards across the region.
Nicknamed “Lyon’s third river”, the Beaujolais is largely known for its Beaujolais Nouveau, but it also produces 10 internationally renowned vintages (Brouilly, Juliénas, Morgon, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Moulin à Vent…).
To the south of Lyon, in the Rhône valley, you will come across the vineyards of Cote Rôtie, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Coteaux du Tricastin…
At the heart of the Alps, there are the wines of Seyssel, Crépy, Chautagne, Chignin-Bergeron… which make up the Vins de Savoie appellation.
Discover a wine, learn about a terroir
As well as cellars open to the public for wine tasting, the local wine professionals also organise wine courses, conferences, festivals and other local events… and then there are the many bistros where you can enjoy a glass or pichet of local wine.
Throughout the region there are signposted itineraries which take you through the vineyards following the various Routes des Vins: cellars, opportunities to meet wine growers, gastronomic treats, country hotels and bed & breakfasts…
More and more popular with UK buyers, the area has seen the arrival of new regular flights recently.
Tourism office in Rhone Alps
Travel from the UK
Eurostar – Travel by train to the French Alps
By air: Easyjet flies from London Stansted to Lyon, and from Bristol, London Luton and London Gatwick to Lyon.
Easyjet flies from every airport in the UK to Geneva.
Ryanair flies from London Stansted to Grenoble.
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Rhone Alps. We have a large network of partners in Rhone Alps. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, barn, gite, B&B, country house, chalet, we will do our best to find a ski property in Rhone Alps matching your requirements. To find out more about our properties for sale in French Alps do not hesitate to contact us.