Rhône-Alpes

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Rhône-Alpes
Region of France
Flag of Rhône-Alpes
Flag
Coat of arms of Rhône-Alpes
Coat of arms
Rhône-Alpes in France.svg
Country  France
Prefecture Lyon
Departments
Government
 • President Jean-Jack Queyranne (PS)
Area
 • Total 43,698 km2 (16,872 sq mi)
Population (2010-01-01)
 • Total 6,218,444
 • Density 140/km2 (370/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code FR-V
GDP (2012)[1] Ranked 2nd
Total €197.0 billion (US$253.4 bn)
Per capita €30,943 (US$39,798)
NUTS Region FR7
Website rhonealpes.fr

Rhône-Alpes (French pronunciation: [ʁon.alp] ( ); Arpitan: Rôno-Arpes; Occitan: Ròse-Aups) 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.

Geography[edit]

A map of the 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:

Population[edit]

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)
The Kiosque Peynet on the Champ de Mars in Valence.
Castle and rooftops in the old section of Chambéry
The Palais de l'Isle in Annecy

Prefectures[edit]

This list is from biggest agglomeration to the smallest:

History[edit]

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.)

Transportation[edit]

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.

Economy[edit]

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:
    • Light engineering and high-tech
    • Mechanical engineering in the area of Annecy
    • Precision machining in the area of Cluses
  • Services, in particular:
    • High-tech industries & nanotechnology, especially in Grenoble
    • Tourism with the Alps (for skiing), Lyon and Grenoble (for culture) and the Ardèche (adventure sports/camping) particularly popular
    • Education, with major universities in Lyon and Grenoble

In the past mining, especially coal mining was an important sector, particularly around Saint-Étienne, although this has declined since the 1970s.

The area of the region that lies close to Switzerland has an economy linked to that of Geneva. This area forms a hinterland for the Geneva hub.[2]

Major cities[edit]

Annecy Saint-Chamond
Bourg-en-Bresse Saint-Étienne
Bron Saint-Martin-d'Hères
Chambéry Thonon-les-Bains
Grenoble Valence
Lyon Vaulx-en-Velin
Meribel Vaulx-en-Velin
Montélimar Villeurbanne
Roanne Vénissieux

Food[edit]

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.

Wines in this region include the very famous Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône and Savoy wine. Chartreuse liqueur is made in the region.

Winter Olympics[edit]

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.

Tourism[edit]

The Bastille, 264 m above Grenoble

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[citation needed], Rhône-Alpes is the second most important golfing region in France with over 60 courses.

Saint-Gervais-les-Bains has been a popular holiday destination since the early 1900s

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.

Lakes[edit]

There are six main lakes in Rhône-Alpes

Gastronomy[edit]

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 the home of very typical and traditional restaurants: the bouchons. Bouchons are usually convivial restaurants serving local dishes, and local wines.

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ INSEE. "Produits intérieurs bruts régionaux et valeurs ajoutées régionales de 1990 à 2012". Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  2. ^ "Rhone Alpes Economy". French-property.com. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 

External links[edit]