When food and wine lovers go to heaven, they end up in the Rhône Valley. Many top French chefs make their names in this famous culinary region where restaurants on all levels vie for attention in competing culinary associations. Even small market towns and villages host chefs with three Michelin stars such as Pic in Valence, Troisgros in Roanne and Bocuse in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or. The wealth of local produce is impressive: its chickens from Bresse and chestnuts from Ardèche have been given their own appellation d’origine controlee quality-control status.
Oenophiles head to the Northern Rhône where the double-dug vines of Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage date back to Roman times and to Beaujolais country where the light, fruity wines are drunk young. Whatever your agenda, you should fit in time for Roman ruins and summertime jazz festivals in Lyon and Vienne, canyons and limestone caves in the Ardèche, lovers’ tombs in Bourg-en-Bresse and picture-perfect medieval houses in Pérouges.