The Northern Rhone Valley is famous for its wine and rich history, and it has something to offer for everyone including family days out focused on the children, romantic restaurants and much more. Here are just nine of the best things to see and do in this wonderful region…
1. Wine tasting and a museum visit at Le Caveau du Chateau
Le Caveau du Château was created by the Guigal family who have been producing wine in the Rhône Valley since 1946, with their wines being highly regarded around the world. The Caveau was created as a space dedicated to wine tourism, where visitors can learn about the history and culture of the Rhône Valley’s wine. The tours are excellent and informative, allowing visitors to learn about the different terroirs, the winemaking process, and the history of the region. You can also sample some of the finest Côtes-du-Rhône wines here and enjoy events and exhibitions throughout the year.
2. Lunch with a view at Les Terrasses du Rozay
This charming restaurant celebrates local, seasonal, homemade cuisine with a carefully-thought out food and wine pairing. Make sure to stop here to savour the local flavours while looking out towards the Pilat Massif.
3. Shop at the Grand Marché de Vienne
The Grand Marché de Vienne is the second largest permanent market in France and is a must-visit for foodies while in Northern Rhone. You can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to artisanal cheeses and meats. Watch as the locals come to fill bottles of milk from a large vat, or you might even bump into Chefs Phillipe Girardon or Patrick Henriroux as they shop for produce to serve at their notable restaurants later in the day. With 350 stalls, there’s plenty to discover…
4. Get your own bottled pear at Maison Colombier
Maison Colombier’s Williams pears are renowned for their flavour, and the hillsides of Villette-de-Vienne are particularly suitable for growing pear trees. A third of the organic six-hectare orchard is made up of century-old trees and every care is taken to produce quality fruit and, of course, eau de vie. Take a tour of this family-ran farm and learn how they bottle their pears, and visit the on-site shop that has a selection of their own products as well as local goods including books and gifts.
5. Spend a day (or night!) at Safari de Peaugres
Safari de Peaugres near Annonay is one of the largest tourist attractions in the Ardèche department, and is home to 800 animals from 120 species, making it the largest animal park in the Rhône-Alpes region. It’s divided into two sections, a drive-through safari and a walking large enclosure zoo, meaning you can explore by car or on foot. If you’re feeling brave you could also spend a night in a cabin perched above the wolf and bear enclosure…
6. Learn about history at the Musée Gallo-Romain de Saint-Romain-en-Gal
Vienne has a rich Gallo-Roman history, tracing its roots back to Roman invaders who gained control from the Allobroges in 37 B.C. The town is situated at the crossroads of ancient-Roman Europe along the banks of the River Rhône, and is one of the largest sites of its kind in France. The Musée Gallo-Romain is dedicated to the Gallo-Roman history of the town, and has an exceptional archaeological site that provides an overview of the district of Saint-Romain-en-Gal, the Rhone river, and the city of Vienna on the left bank. You’ll find a rich collection of artefacts, reconstructions and incredible mosaics.
7. Take a stroll around Île du Beurre
Ile du Beurre is a wetland in the historic bed of the Rhône river, and enjoys the presence of some remarkable species. Discover the fauna and flora of the island and learn about the island’s natural environment at Le Centre d’Observation de la Nature de l’Ile du Beurre. Take a moment to relax and stroll along the numerous paths, or you can also join the ViaRhôna by bicycle here.
8. Visit one of the local vineyards
There’s a true sense of history when looking at the wines of this region, and on a visit to a wine producer you’ll notice they continuously acknowledge the legacy of generations before. It is thanks to a long line of vignerons and their tenacity and passion that these vines prosper despite a difficult past and challenging conditions. Some domaines open their doors to the public and offer guided tours, and if you book with a wine tourism guide such as Rhône Trip, you may gain access to exclusive tours while learning from a qualified guide that will take you on a tour of the vineyards. You may visit the estates of Louis Chèze where prestigious wines are produced on over forty hectares in a variety of appellations and further south at the Domaine Verzier the Chante-Perdrix plot on the Izeras hillside is home to that estate’s Condrieu wines.
9. Enjoy dinner at Les Nymphéas Restaurant
Les Nymphéas restaurant is a great place to enjoy a luxurious dining experience in a beautiful setting. Whether you’re staying at the immaculate Domaine de Gorneton or just passing by, it’s well worth a visit, as they serve up delicious dishes made of local produce and paired with incredible wine from nearby vineyards. Santé!
Take the Eurostar from London to Paris and then take a train from Paris to Lyon which takes around 5 hours and 30 minutes on average.
There are many flights between the UK and Lyon, including direct flights from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, and Edinburgh.