How to Spend 3 Days in the Rhône-Alpes
The Rhône-Alpes is one of France’s top tourist destinations, and there’s little wonder why. It’s home to the world-class wineries of the Rhône River, prime skiing destinations, mountain scenery, and major cities such as Lyon. See below for an action-packed 3-day itinerary.
Day One: Food and Culture in Lyon
As one of France’s largest cities, Lyon boasts UNESCO status and an abundance of culinary offerings. For a speedy overview and prime views of Lyon’s riverbanks, explore via hop-on hop-off bus or e-bike. Alternatively, walking tours offer an intimate glimpse of highlights in Vieux-Lyon (Lyon Old Town), which include the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral.
In the evening, feast like a king: the late Chef Paul Bocuse, known for leading the nouvelle cuisine revolution in France, was based in Lyon and his 3-Michelin-starred restaurant L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges is among the city’s most lavish dining destinations. For a more informal experience, navigate the city’s traboules (passageways) with ease on an Old Town food tour, which typically cover several bouchons (local bistros) and include hearty fare such as sausages, duck pâté, and plenty of local wine.
Day Two: A Pilgrimage to the Northern Rhône
The Rhône-Alpes region is just as well-known for its food as it is its wine. Venture south of Lyon along the Rhône River and you’ll find an abundance of the Syrah grape, known for its powerful, deep hue. Private or small-group day trips typically include convenient round-trip transport and offer a stress-free way to hop from vineyard to vineyard. Many tours include stops at revered appellations such as Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, and Condrieu, where you can taste coveted bottles and meet the winemakers themselves. The region’s vineyards are also known for their unique scenery of steep slopes that overlook the river, so be sure to bring your camera for the journey.
Day Three: Head for the Hills
The mountainous Rhône-Alpes region borders both Switzerland and northern Italy, and features some of Europe’s most popular ski resorts and highest peaks—including Mt. Blanc. On your third and final day, trade vines for snowy slopes and head to Alpine country. Depending on your preferred pace, venture to Annecy on a winter skiing tour or summertime hiking trip; it’s also right across the border from Geneva, if you fancy a Swiss immersion.
You can also discover Grenoble: the city is a popular jumping-off point for winter sports fans, though in the summer it attracts canyoning enthusiasts. And if you’re really after adventure, explore the mountain resort of Chamonix. A range of group and private tours depart from Geneva and typically include round-trip transport, admission tickets for the Aiguille du Midi cable car and a passport to the Alps’ most spectacular scenery.