A preferred destination for lovers of mountain landscapes and outdoor leisure activities, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and its exceptional natural heritage are a haven for hikers who love protected, unspoilt countryside and sportier visitors in search of thrills. From walks in the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park or the Vanoise National Park to cross-country skiing in the Bauges, through rock climbing in the Mont-Blanc massif, canoe-kayaking in the Sioule gorges or swimming in the lakes of Annecy, Aiguebelette, Aydat, Le Bourget, Grangent and Chambon, you'll be spoilt for choice at holiday time. Skiing fans will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of winter sports resorts in the French Alps! Less athletic visitors can also enjoy the wonders of nature by travelling along the famous Route des Grandes Alpes, an exceptional itinerary dotted with mountain passes at over 2,000 metres in altitude! And to unwind, you can't beat a rest on the lake shores of the Massif Central and the Alps, or a pampering break in the thermal spas of Aix-les-Bains, Brides-les-Bains, Bourbon-l'Archambault, Chaudes-Aigues, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, Royat, Uriage-les-Bains or Vichy.
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes also boasts a remarkable built heritage. Its castle forts, Romanesque churches, typical villages and towns of great architectural and cultural importance, like Annecy, Chambéry, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Le Puy-en-Velay, Montluçon, Moulins and Riom, are sure to wow you! History enthusiasts and lovers of old buildings mustn't miss the chance to visit some major heritage sites, like Lyon's historical city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the archaeological site of Saint-Romain-en-Gal, Souvigny Priory, Orcival Basilica, Brou Royal Monastery, the medieval towns of Charroux and Salers, the picturesque villages of Balazuc, Bonneval-sur-Arc, Labeaume, Pérouges and Yvoire, and the castles of Anjony, Crussol, Murol, Tournoël and Le Touvet.
South of Lyon, on either side of the Rhône Valley, stand two favourite destinations for holidaymakers: Drôme on one side, with its charming villages, gently rolling hills, lavender fields and mountains, and the Ardèche on the other, with its famous gorges so loved by kayakers, characterful villages, volcanic sites, medieval castles and superb panoramas.
In between visits to these attractions, you can enjoy some delicious regional products and famous specialities. Cheeses from Auvergne and Savoie, green lentils from Le Puy, Lyonnaise salad, potée auvergnate stew, poultry from Bresse, tartiflette, raclette and fondue, Romans ravioles, wines from Côtes du Rhône and Saint-Pourçain, Montélimar nougat, Saint-Genix cake and pompe aux pommes (a local apple pie) are all packed with flavour to tickle your taste bud!