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Rhone Alpes

Country  France
Capital  Lyon
Area  43,698 km2
Population  6.393 million (2013)
Colleges and Universities  Lumière University Lyon 2
Destinations  Lyon, Grenoble, Annecy, Chamonix, Saint-Étienne
Points of interest  Lake Annecy, Parc de la Tête dOr, Aiguille du Midi, Mont Blanc, Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière

Rhône-Alpes ( Arpitan: ; Occitan: ; Italian: ) is one of the 27 regions of France, located on the eastern border of the country, towards the south. The region was named after the Rhône River and the Alps mountain range. Its capital, Lyon, is the second-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris. Rhône-Alpes has the sixth-largest economy of any European region.

Map of Rhône-Alpes

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Geography

Rhone Alpes Beautiful Landscapes of Rhone Alpes

Rhône-Alpes is located in the east of France. To the north are the French regions of Bourgogne (Burgundy) and Franche-Comté, to the west it borders the region Auvergne, to the south it borders Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur. The east of the region contains the westernmost part of the Alps and borders Switzerland and Italy. The highest peak is Mont Blanc, on the French-Italian border. The central part of the region comprises the river valleys of the Rhône and the Saône. The confluence of these two rivers is at Lyon. The western part of the region contains the start of the Massif Central mountain range. The region also borders or contains major lakes such as Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) and Lake Annecy. The Ardèche River flows through the southwest portion of the region, where it has carved the deepest gorge in Europe.

Rhone Alpes Beautiful Landscapes of Rhone Alpes

As with the rest of France, French is the only official language of the region. Until the mid-20th century, Arpitan was widely spoken in the whole region, while many of the inhabitants of the south spoke varieties of Occitan; both are in steep decline in this region. There are immigrant populations from Armenia, Italy, North Africa, Poland and Portugal amongst other places.

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Rhône-Alpes is made up of the following departments:

  • Ain (01). Capital: Bourg-en-Bresse
  • Ardèche (07). Capital: Privas
  • Drôme (26). Capital: Valence
  • Isère (38). Capital: Grenoble
  • Loire (42). Capital: Saint-Étienne
  • Rhône (69). Capital: Lyon
  • Savoie (73). Capital: Chambéry
  • Haute-Savoie (74). Capital: Annecy
  • History

    Although there have been people in Rhône-Alpes since pre-historic times, the earliest recorded settlers of the region were the Gauls (Celts). Cities such as Lyon were founded by them and the region traded with both northern and southern Europe. Most of the area became part of Roman territory during the invasion of Celtic Gaul led by Julius Caesar and was at various times part of the regions of Lugdunensis and Gallia. Lyon itself became a major city in the Roman Empire.

    The region, excepting Savoy, was part of the Merovingian and Carolingian Kingdoms before becoming a royal territory under the Capetians. As it became a royal territory early on in French history, its cultural, political and economic influences and developments paralleled those of greater France. (See History of France.)

    Economy

    Rhône-Alpes is a prosperous region which can be seen with its per capita GDP of about $40,000 which is higher than the french average and an average income of $50,246, its economy second in size only to Île-de-France in France. This can be attributed to the diversity of the production in different sectors. The region is one of the Four Motors for Europe.

    Tourism

    Rhone Alpes Tourist places in Rhone Alpes

    Situated between Paris and the Côte d’Azur, on the border with both Switzerland and Italy, and offering access to two international airports (Lyon and Geneva), impressive rail connections and a vast motorway network, the Rhône-Alpes region is at "the crossroads of Europe".

    Rhone Alpes Tourist places in Rhone Alpes

    Boasting eight natural parks and peerless sites such as Mont Blanc and the Gorges de l’Ardèche, Rhône-Alpes offers a wide range of different landscapes: mountains, vineyards and gentle valleys, fields of lavender and olive groves.

    Every form of sport is readily available, set against an impressive natural backdrop: skiing, hiking, mountain biking or even paragliding and canoeing. Besides hosting three Winter Olympics games due to its being the largest ski area in the world, Rhône-Alpes is the second most important golfing region in France with over 60 courses.

    Enthusiasts of art and culture will not be disappointed by the region’s Villes d’Art: Lyon, which is classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, Annecy, Grenoble, Chambéry, and Saint-Étienne.

    And last but not least, connoisseurs of good food and wine will be spoilt for choice by the range of local specialties available to taste along with a Beaujolais or a Côtes du Rhône, and by the sheer number of famous restaurants (with Paul Bocuse at the top of the list) in the region.

    Food

    Rhone Alpes Cuisine of Rhone Alpes, Popular Food of Rhone Alpes

    Lyon is noted as a gastronomic centre of France and specialities served in its traditional bouchons include Lyon sausage, sophisticated salami (known there as "rosette"), tripe and quenelles. In the east of the region the food has an Alpine flavour with dishes such as fondue, raclette common, gratin dauphinois and gratin savoyard. The region is also famous for its Bresse poultry and the many varieties of cheese including Tomme de Savoie, Bleu de Bresse, Reblochon, Saint-Marcellin and Vacherin.

    Rhone Alpes Cuisine of Rhone Alpes, Popular Food of Rhone Alpes

    Wines in this region include the very famous Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône and Savoy wine. Chartreuse liqueur is made in the region.

    References

    Rhône-Alpes Wikipedia 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