Explore the historic quarters of Belley, capital of the beautiful, rustic, mountainous, culinary Bugey region:
the religious quarter including St John the Baptist’s Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace and the historic convents nearby;
the shopping quarter, central Place des Terreaux, the covered market (Halles), and the Grande Rue (or High Street);
the grand merchant houses, with courtyards off the High Street, including the Maison Dallemagne and the house where the great culinary writer, Brillat-Savarin, was born – he famously wrote: ‘Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you what you are.’, later reflected in the phrase ‘You are what you eat’!
Belley Bugey Sud Tourisme
Discover Lyon - Lyon City Card
Central Lyon was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, in recognition of over 2,000 years of exceptional urban continuity and wonders here. One-time capital of the Three Gauls established by the Romans, Lyon boasts an amazing Gallo-Roman legacy as well as stunning monuments from subsequent periods through to the present. Learn much more of Lyon’s history at the Gallo-Roman museum, the Musées Gadagne www.gadagne.musees.lyon.fr holding the Lyon History Museum and World Puppets Museum, plus, since December 2014, the futuristic Musée des Confluences www.museedesconfluences.fr at the confluence of Rhône and Saône, dedicated to mankind’s development, from prehistoric times to today’s period of scientific advances.
Lyon Tourisme et Congrès
Vienne is a startling little town crammed with historic monuments, many Roman. The Roman theatre is an open-air museum but it transforms into a stunning music venue in summer, for example with the major Jazz à Vienne festival. In total, Vienne boasts over 40 listed monuments and sites, plus five museums filled with rich collections, including of sculptures and mosaics, as well as weaving machines, as Vienne has an industrial past too. No surprise, all told, that the town has been designated a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire.
Visit Vienne at your own pace with an audio-guide from the tourist office, or go on the guided tours laid on at certain times of year.
To discover or rediscover Vienne and its surrounding area, the Pays Viennois, in a different way, note that Vienne Tourist Office can rent out bikes to you during its opening hours. The first 1hr30mins are free, after which you pay for rental by the half-day.
Valence, a city that rises in steps above the east bank of the Rhône, has kept much of its historic charm and authenticity, with a definite touch of Southern France in the air. Established in Roman times, then a wealthy medieval town, today Valence offers visitors plenty of heritage, gardens, canals and highly colourful markets. The liveliness of its historic quarters and pedestrian streets brings Provence to mind. In fact it’s often said that the South of France starts here!
Valence Tourist Office can indicate numerous cycling trails around town.
Discover Avignon and Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
A passport for many monuments, museums and walks
Capital of the Catholic Christian world in the 14th century, Avignon has preserved a staggering historical legacy, much of it declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the Papal Palace and famed broken Pont d’Avignon, plus the Place du Palais square overseen by the Cathedral des Doms, the Musée du Petit Palais and the Baroque Hôtel des Monnaies, not forgetting the dramatic ramparts, from the Doms Gardens to the Pont d’Avignon.
Simply by asking either at Avignon Tourist Office, at neighbouring Villeneuve-lès-Avignon Tourist Office, or at many monuments and museums in these adjoining towns, you can pick up your Avignon Passion Pass for free. The booklet itself gives you details on how to benefit from reductions in the towns’ many monuments and museums and on numerous guided tours and excursions, plus ideas for walks, along with maps.
City tours around Avignon on a Gyropode Segway
Discover Avignon riding a Gyropode Segway®, guided around the historic centre by a registered instructor who speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese.
To explore this charming Rhône-side Provençal town and discover its signficant architectural heritage down the ages, from medieval times to the 20th century, pick up the relevant booklets and leaflets on trails and tours from Tarascon Tourist Office. A la découverte du patrimoine covers the rich urban and religious heritage, A la recherche de la Tarasque the incredible story of Saint Marthe and the local legend of the Tarasque river monster, while Belles demeures focuses on the finest homes around Tarascon.
It’s also possible to rent electric bikes here.
Arles boasts an amazing Roman legacy, with its many ancient monuments. It has moving associations with the painter Van Gogh, inspired and tormented here. It lies on the pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela. It developed thanks to its Rhône-side location. It’s crammed with fine townhouses. All these themes can be explored in depth on a visit to this exceptionally intense little town. With such varied riches, it’s a place you’ll want to revisit time and again.
Don’t miss the Musée Départemental de l’Arles Antique, a fantastic contemporary museum dedicated to Roman Arles, for instance exhibiting a famous bust of Caesar and the imposing Arles Rhône 3 Roman boat, discovered on the riverbed in 2004, brought out of the water in 2011 and displayed in the museum since 2013, having undergone an exceptional scientific preservation treatment at the centre Arc Nucleart de Grenoble.www.arles-antique.cg13.fr/
Discover Arles and its monuments thanks to a monuments pass: choose between the Pass Avantage (lasting 6 months) and the Pass Liberté (valid 1 month)
Discover Arles on a Gyropode Segway, enjoying an unusual touring experience
Gyropode Segways offer a light, flexible, easy way of discovering Alres. To cover more ground during your time in Arles, Segways make it quick to go from one site to the next while avoiding traffic; they provide a trendy, fun, healthy way of getting around.
Saint-Gilles is like an open-air museum, a town with a rich historic and cultural legacy, set close to typical Camargue countryside. Its renown derives from its links to a Greek hermit called Gilles, who founded a monastery here in the Dark Ages that became a place of pilgrimage and gave rise to many legends. In medieval times, it was an important stop on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela what with its major abbey, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Look out too for the town’s rare Romanesque houses and visit its museum to learn more about its exceptional past.
Discover Aigues-Mortes, Saint Louis’s crusader port
An extraordinary medieval port set in the midst of the Camargue’s marshes, Aigues-Mortes was created by order of King Louis IX of France from 1248 to serve as a crusader port. It was from here that the future St Louis set out on his final journey. Aigues-Mortes’s amazingly preserved ramparts and lanes help you travel back in time, with the Mediterranean beckoning just beyond the towers.
Wonderfully located between the Mediterranean and the Etang de Thau salt lake, the port of Sète is packed full of southern atmosphere. It’s colourful, lively and authentic. Long a trading town, Sète is warm and welcoming, encouraging you to visit its many unique sites, from its network of canals and its dramatic pilgrimage hilltop of Mont Saint Clair (with fabulous views) to its fishing harbour full of bustle, as well as being so picturesque. Just beyond town, 12km of sheltered beaches stretch westwards. All told, Sète conceals many unusual facets with which to surprise visitors.