The Rhône Valley is France’s heartland of gastronomy and heritage. British novelist Anthony Horowitz has described its capital, Lyon, as a “noble city for the people” whose UNESCO-classified architectural roots date back to Roman times when it was the most important region in north-western Europe and the birthplace of two emperors. The region’s Prehistoric heritage is celebrated in the Ardèche, while Medieval architecture is dotted all over the region from Troubadour castles to picture-perfect Beaujolais villages.
Limestone hills and forests forge the countryside with vineyards, chestnut orchards, lentil fields, and free-range poultry farms that bring fresh produce straight to the plates of the region’s Michelin-starred restaurants. Wine connoisseurs beat a path to prestigious Cru vineyards throughout the Rhône Valley from Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage in the Northern Rhône to Fleurie and Morgon in Beaujolais. Summer is the time for jazz festivals in Vienne and Lyon, for Segway tours around the Northern Rhône vineyards, and for canyoning in the Ardèche gorges.