The region Auvergne Rhones-Alpes in France is a great destination for a vacation. I went on a road trip in Auvergne Rhones-Alpes and visited three of its towns. On this page I’m sharing the highlights of our roadtrip in Auvergne Rhones-Alpes, so you can use it as a guidebook when you’re going yourself.
In 2016 France reduced its 27 regions to 18 regions, of which 12 are on the mainland France. That’s when the formerly two separate regions Auvergne and Rhone-Alpes merged. The region is located in Southeast-Central France. Some of the bigger cities in Auvergne Rhone-Alpes include Lyon, Grenoble and Clermont-Ferrand.
There are 12 departments in the region, earlier this year I went on a road trip to one of them. You can click here to read about my road trip in the Ardèche. This time I went on a road trip to Ain and Savoie departments.
From the Netherlands and Belgium you can drive to Auvergne Rhone-Alpes, fly to Lyon and rent a car there or take the train to Lyon or Bourg-en-Bresse.
We took the train from the Netherlands via Paris to Bourg-en-Bresse. Bourg-en-Bresse is a town with about 40.000 people. Fun fact: they were one of the firsts in France to have a train station. This was so that they could send the Bresse Chicken to Paris. Bresse Chicken is still one of their specialties. This chicken has a legal status, so there are all kinds of rules protecting the name. They have to come from the Bourg-en-Bresse area, have at least 10 square meters per chicken and they spend most of their life outside.
Besides Bresse Chicken, there’s another food staple of this area: Tarte Bressane. This pie has a cream filling and is very addictive!
The main highlight in Bourg-en-Bresse is Monastere Brou. This royal monastery of Brou is a religious complex with a big church and several monastery buildings.
Chambéry is a town in the Savoie Mont Blanc area of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes. Since 1862 Chambéry is a part of France, before that it was part of Italy. Hence you’ll see many Italian influences in the kitchen. Speaking of food, did you know that chocolate truffles were invented in Chambéry?
There’s a small river that meanders through the town. Just like Amsterdam, Chambéry is build on poles.
Chambéry is also known for La Formation Meilleur Ouvrier de France. It’s an award given to professions in 210 sectors. Most of them are for food, but other categories like cosmetics are also possible.
From the town, different walking routes get you into the mountains. They take about an hour to go up and aren’t accessible by car.
In the Chambéry area are 23 grape variaties, of which 8 are unique. No other region in France has so many different grapes!
Aix les Bains
Aix les Bains is a town in the Savoie region of Auvergne Rhones-Alpes. It’s located right next to Lac du Bourget, the largest lake in France. It’s mostly known as a spa town. And even though the thermal baths aren’t the main attraction anymore, the focus of Aix les Bains is still water oriented. You can do all kinds of water activities here, with SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) being my favorite.
You can cycle around the entire lake and in the evening you can have dinner at one of the lakeside restaurants.
From Aix les Bains it’s a short drive to Geneva where you can fly back to Amsterdam.
Want to explore more of the Auvergne Rhones-Alpes region? You can read all about our road trip in the Ardèche here.