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Rhone-Alpes Province of France

Facts on Rhone-Alpes

Land area: 43,698 km²
Population: estimated at 6,005,000
Area: 137/km²
Capital City: Lyon

The Rhone-Alpes is one of the 26 regions of France and is located on the eastern border of the country, towards the south.

Rhone-Alpes Province

- Travel Guide
- Facts on Rhone-Alpes
- Cote du Rhone Wine
- Wines from France

Rhone-Alpes Province of France

The region was named after the River Rhone and the Alps mountain range, and its capital city of Lyon, is the second-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris.

There are eight departments within the Rhone-Alpes region, which are the Ardeche, Isere, Loire, Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Ain, Drome and the Rhone.

To the north are the French regions of Bourgogne (Burgundy) and Franche-Comte.  To the west there is the region Auvergne.  And to the south it borders Languedoc-Roussillon and the Alpes-Cote d'Azur.  The east of the region contains the western part of the Alps and borders Switzerland and Italy.

The highest peak in this region is called Mont Blanc.

The Rhone-Alpes has a capital city in each of its departments and these are as follows:

  • Rhone Capital is Lyon
  • Ardeche Capital is Privas
  • Drome Capital is Valence
  • Ain Capital is Bourg-en-Bresse
  • Isere Capital is Grenoble
  • Savoie Capital is Chambery
  • Loire Capital is Saint Etienne
  • Haute Savoie Capital is Annecy

The central part of the region is taken up with the valley of the Rhone and the Saone and 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 contains major lakes such as Lake Geneva known in France as Lac Leman and the Ardeche is the home of the deepest gorge in Europe.

Many inhabitants of the Rhone-Alpes spoke varieties of Occitan although it is in steep decline in this region, but as with the rest of France, French is the only official language of the region.

Although there have been people in Rhône-Alpes since pre-historic times, the earliest recorded settlers of the region were the Celts and most of the area became part of Roman territory during the invasion of Gaul led by Julius Caesar with Lyon itself becoming a major Roman city.

The Rhone-Alpes is a very prosperous region and in the whole of France its economy is second in size only to Ile-de-France.  A lot of this can be attributed to the diversity in different sectors such as high tech industries, tourism, and adventure holidays on offer.  But in the past coal mining was a very important sector, particularly around Saint Etienne, although, as you can no doubt appreciate, this has declined over the years whilst other industry sectors have taken over.

Rhone-Alpes Province of France

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