The Rhône is divided into two principal wine growing areas - the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône. Up until the beginning of the 14th century the Rhône was considered the frontier between France and the Holy Roman Empire. The Rhône River was a massive inland shipping route before the invention of the rail system and the trade route extended to the port city of Marseille. Lyon, which was also known for its production of silk and its historic square, is now a UNESCO World heritage site. Lyon is a famous gastronomy spot and is said to have the highest rate of cafés per...
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The Rhône is divided into two principal wine growing areas - the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône. Up until the beginning of the 14th century the Rhône was considered the frontier between France and the Holy Roman Empire. The Rhône River was a massive inland shipping route before the invention of the rail system and the trade route extended to the port city of Marseille. Lyon, which was also known for its production of silk and its historic square, is now a UNESCO World heritage site. Lyon is a famous gastronomy spot and is said to have the highest rate of cafés per head in the whole of Europe. Lyon and Rhône's cuisine is simple and authetic, inspired by ancient tradition and nowadays refined modern French cooking.

The wines of the Rhône are internationally known and at one time were considered some of the very best in the world. They are still very highly ranked and are not to be missed including such names as Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie, Crozes-Hermitage in the Northern region and Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the South. The legendary Syrah which is used to produce many wines in the Northern Rhône was brought to the region by the Romans, whilst the exact date is not precise, certain sources on one hand indicate that it was sometime around 250 AD and others say that the Greeks brought the vines with them from the Persian city of Shiraz. Other historians on the other hand say that the first vines were planted in the area around 600 BC. 

WHEN TO GO AND FOR HOW LONG?

The Rhône Valley is enormous - over 200 kilometres in length! If you want to discover the entire valley then you will need to come for at least five days. If you want to discover only one region, either North or South, then you can come for three days. However you must anticipate a very full itinerary as there is so much to see and experience. In regards to the best times to go, there is so much to see and do that you can go throughout the year. The winters are harsh and the summers are very hot.

WHERE TO GO?

Rhône Valley is a region of two halves and distinctive viticultural regions that are worth exploring by any wine lover.

  • The Northern Rhône is famous for its full-bodied Syrahs. Key areas are Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, St Joseph, Cornas, Saint Peray and Château Grillet.
  • The Southern Rhône is undoubtedely most famous for the splendind reds of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Other important areas areas are Côtes du Rhône, Vacqueyras, Rasteau, Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise and Tavel.
  • The list of things to see in the Rhône is endless - you can go to Niyons who produce the most beautiful and the most famous olive oil in France, the Pont du Gard in Nîmes, the Cité de Papes in Avignon and Mont Ventoux. If you are driving then you must take a drive on the legendary Route National Seven the equivalent of the Route 66 in America. 

DON'T MISS!

  • A visit to the city of Vienne is not to be missed - it is filled with beautiful artifacts and buildings. If you are into local history then this is a must see! You can also visit Nîmes which is home of the Pont du Gard and many other Roman buildings including a coliseum.
  • If you enjoy outdoor sports then a visit to Mont Ventoux is not to be missed you can hire a quad.
  • Another amazing way to experience the beautiful countryside is to take a hot air balloon ride.
  • Avignon festival that goes on for the entire month of July in Avignon.
  • L'Original festival takes place in April - a hip hop festival that attracts well known rappers from around the world.
  • Grand Lyon Film festival - takes place in October with all sort of films including short films and screenings.
  • Jazz festival in Vienne (just South of Lyon) - a major music festival that takes place over a period of two weeks in June and July. The festival includes international artists and has hosted Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Lionel Hampton to name a few.
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