Vienne, located between the Rhône River and the hills, has been occupied since earliest Antiquity and is one of France's Cities of Art and History. It has preserved a rich built heritage from its long past, including monuments dating back to ancient times: the imposing Temple of Augustus and Livia built in 1BC; the vast 1st-century AD Théâtre Antique, one of the largest theatres in Roman Gaul; and the Garden of Cybele with its Gallo-Roman archaeological remains, among others. The city also boasts beautiful medieval heritage that you can discover by strolling through the old, narrow lanes and visiting the many listed buildings, including the Romanesque Saint-André-le-Bas Church with its superb cloisters decorated with carved capitals, and the Romanesque Gothic Saint-Maurice Cathedral, built from the 12th to 16th centuries, which has a breathtaking western facade with three Flamboyant-style carved portals depicting the holy history. Its luminous and harmonious interior features a long nave with three side aisles, Romanesque capitals and, displayed around the choir, Flemish tapestries portraying the life and martyrdom of St Maurice.
The Museum of Fine Art and Archaeology, housed in the old 19th-century corn exchange on Place de Miremont, contains collections of Gallo-Roman objects, French earthenware, and paintings dating from the 14th to the 20th centuries.
Not to be missed: climbing to the top of Mount Pipet where a chapel and statue of the Virgin Mary stand and there's a fantastic view over the city rooftops, Rhône Valley and, in the distance, Pilat mountain range!
The city also hosts a major music event, the Vienne Jazz Festival, in the prestigious surroundings of the Roman theatre every first fortnight in July. A must for all jazz fans.
The second largest market in France takes place in Vienne city centre every Saturday morning. Offering a host of local produce and specialities at over 5 km of stands, it's a gourmet's paradise!