|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (February 2013)|
|Region of France|
|• President||Jean-Jack Queyranne (PS)|
|• Total||43,698 km2 (16,872 sq mi)|
|• Density||140/km2 (370/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|ISO 3166 code||FR-V|
Rhône-Alpes (French pronunciation: [ʁon.alp] ( ); Arpitan: Rôno-Arpes; Occitan: Ròse-Aups, Italian: Rodano-Alpi) is one of the 27 regions of France, located on the eastern border of the country, towards the south. The region was named after the Rhône River and the Alps mountain range. Its capital, Lyon, is the second-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris. Rhône-Alpes has the sixth-largest economy of any European region.
Rhône-Alpes is located in the east of France. To the north are the French regions of Bourgogne (Burgundy) and Franche-Comté, to the west it borders the region Auvergne, to the south it borders Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. The east of the region contains the westernmost part of the Alps and borders Switzerland and Italy. The highest peak is Mont Blanc, on the French-Italian border. The central part of the region comprises the river valleys of the Rhône and the Saône. 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 borders or contains major lakes such as Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) and Lake Annecy. The Ardèche River flows through the southwest portion of the region, where it has carved the deepest gorge in Europe.
As with the rest of France, French is the only official language of the region. Until the mid-20th century, Arpitan was widely spoken in the whole region, while many of the inhabitants of the south spoke varieties of Occitan; both are in steep decline in this region. There are immigrant populations from Armenia, Italy, North Africa, Poland and Portugal amongst other places.
Rhône-Alpes is made up of the following departments:
- Ain (01). Capital: Bourg-en-Bresse
- Ardèche (07). Capital: Privas
- Drôme (26). Capital: Valence
- Isère (38). Capital: Grenoble
- Loire (42). Capital: Saint-Étienne
- Rhône (69). Capital: Lyon
- Savoie (73). Capital: Chambéry
- Haute-Savoie (74). Capital: Annecy
Rhône-Alpes contains 3 major cities in France. It forms the triangle Lyon - Grenoble - Saint-Étienne. This triangle is the economic core of the region. These three urban areas are very complementary, and have smaller cities around, like satellites.
- Lyon area : 1,798,395 inhabitants (2008)
- Grenoble area : 560,453 inhabitants (2008)
- Saint-Étienne area : 321,703 inhabitants (1999)
- Valence area : 164,334 inhabitants (2008)
This list is from biggest agglomeration to the smallest:
- Lyon (Rhône)
- Grenoble (Isère)
- Saint-Étienne (Loire)
- Valence (Drôme)
- Chambéry (Savoie)
- Annecy (Haute-Savoie)
- Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain)
- Privas (Ardèche)
Although there have been people in Rhône-Alpes since pre-historic times, the earliest recorded settlers of the region were the Gauls (Celts). Cities such as Lyon were founded by them and the region traded with both northern and southern Europe. Most of the area became part of Roman territory during the invasion of Celtic Gaul led by Julius Caesar and was at various times part of the regions of Lugdunensis and Gallia. Lyon itself became a major city in the Roman Empire.
The region, excepting Savoy, was part of the Merovingian and Carolingian Kingdoms before becoming a royal territory under the Capetians. As it became a royal territory early on in French history, its cultural, political and economic influences and developments paralleled those of greater France. (See History of France.)
Rhône-Alpes is a major European transit hub, linking northern France and Europe to the Mediterranean area. Millions travel along its motorways in summertime from Paris to holidays at the sea. The E15 Euroroute (Britain to Spain) runs through the region. There are international airports at Lyon, Grenoble and Saint-Étienne and many other minor airports and airfields. The region is also a transport hub for the rail-network with the TGV running through Lyon from Paris and the north, to the Mediterranean. A trans-national, high-speed rail-link is under construction from Lyon to Turin.
Rhône-Alpes is a prosperous region, its economy second in size only to Île-de-France in France. This can be attributed to the diversity of the production in different sectors. The region is one of the Four Motors for Europe.
- Industry, in particular:
- Services, in particular:
Lyon is noted as a gastronomic centre of France and specialities served in its traditional bouchons include Lyon sausage, sophisticated salami (known here as "rosette"), tripe and quenelles. In the east of the region the food has an Alpine flavour with dishes such as fondue, raclette common, gratin dauphinois and gratin savoyard. The region is also famous for its Bresse poultry and the many varieties of cheese including Tomme de Savoie, Bleu de Bresse, Reblochon, Saint-Marcellin and Vacherin.
Rhône-Alpes region has hosted the Winter Olympics three times; in 1924 at Chamonix, 1968 at Grenoble, and 1992 at Albertville. Annecy tried to be 4th city, but it failed, getting outvoted by Pyeong-Chang.
Situated between Paris and the Côte d’Azur, on the border with both Switzerland and Italy, and offering access to two international airports (Lyon and Geneva), impressive rail connections and a vast motorway network, the Rhône-Alpes region is at "the crossroads of Europe".
Boasting eight natural parks and peerless sites such as Mont Blanc and the Gorges de l’Ardèche, Rhône-Alpes offers a wide range of different landscapes: mountains, vineyards and gentle valleys, fields of lavender and olive groves.
Every form of sport is readily available, set against an impressive natural backdrop: skiing, hiking, mountain biking or even paragliding and canoeing. Besides hosting three Winter Olympics games due to its being the largest ski area in the world, Rhône-Alpes is the second most important golfing region in France with over 60 courses.
Enthusiasts of art and culture will not be disappointed by the region’s Villes d’Art: Lyon, which is classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, Annecy, Grenoble, Chambéry, and Saint-Étienne.
And last but not least, connoisseurs of good food and wine will be spoilt for choice by the range of local specialties available to taste along with a Beaujolais or a Côtes du Rhône, and by the sheer number of famous restaurants (with Paul Bocuse at the top of the list) in the region.
There are six main lakes in Rhône-Alpes
For several centuries Lyon, capital of Rhône-Alpes, has been known as the French capital of gastronomy, due, in part, to the presence of many of France's finest chefs in the city and its surroundings (e.g. Paul Bocuse). This reputation also comes from the fact that two of France's best known wine-growing regions are located near Lyon: the Beaujolais to the North, and the Côtes du Rhône to the South. Beaujolais wine is very popular in Lyon and remains the most common table wine served with local dishes.
Lyon is famous for its morning snacks, the mâchons, made up of local charcuterie, especially the rosette and usually accompanied by Beaujolais red wine. Traditional local dishes include saucisson de Lyon (sausage), andouillette, coq au vin, esox (pike) quenelle, gras double (tripe cooked with onions), salade lyonnaise (lettuce with bacon, croutons and a poached egg), marrons glacés and cardoon au gratin.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rhône-Alpes.|
- Rhône-Alpes page on france.fr- official French website (in English)
- Rhône-Alpes Tourisme- travel website
- "Rhone Alpes Economy". French-property.com. Retrieved 2013-09-06.