Popular town in Alpine setting sometimes known as the Venice of the Mountains due to the picture-postcard canals that criss-cross the town. The banks of the Thiou Canal are a delight to stroll, and many visitors head for the medieval arcaded streets of shops and restaurants.
The Musee Chateau, with its distinctive twelfth century Queens Tower, houses modern art exhibitions, regional art and artefacts plus presentations on the region’s natural history and geology.
Annecy is a great base for mountain activities and hiking and, if time allows, make a detour to the nearby breathtaking Gorges du Fier.
Lyon’s site was founded by the Romans in the first century BC as the capital of the Three Gauls and has continued to play a major role in Europe’s political, cultural and economic development. Considered by many to be the gastronomic capital of France - even ahead of Paris
Presqu’ile has superb shops whilst Vieux Lyon is good for arts, crafts and textiles and rue Augue Comte for antiques. For dedicated shopaholics, the Part-Dieu shopping centre has more than 260 retailers.
With its Lake Geneva setting, this elegant town is renowned for its mineral water and spa treatments. Walk along the lakeside, visit the Pre Curieux water gardens (access by boat) or enjoy the shops and restaurants.
Just across the Rhone Alps border lies the beautiful Swiss city of Geneva. It has a stunning lakeside setting complete with its famous 140m high jet d’eau fountain. In addition to its delightful old quarter, superb shops and clock museum, not to be missed is Cathedrale St Pierre where John Calvin preached.
This cosmopolitan city is of course home to the International Red Cross and the annual Geneva Motor Show which takes place 3 - 13 March in 2011, this year being the 81st show.
Chambery was once the capital of the Savoie and of strategic military importance. Its thirteenth century streets are a delight to explore and the Cathedral was the previous home of the Turin Shroud. There are 2 museums – Fine Arts and Savoie – to visit plus, if in Chambery on a Saturday, the weekly market.
In the winter, it’s an important winter sports centre and, at any time of the year, try the local speciality – Savoie fondue made with local cheeses, white wine and kirsch.
Just a short distance from Chambery is Lac Bourget, a stunning stretch of water with the Jura Mountains as its backdrop. Enjoy the lake’s beauty by boat or follow one of the many hiking trails. The lake has beaches and 5 ports and the town of Le Bourget offers a beautiful priory, priory gardens and an ancient castle.
Nesting at the foot of Mont Blanc, Chamonix is a mecca for skiers worldwide, enjoying some of the most challenging terrain in the world. Gaining popularity in Victorian times, Chamonix draws mountaineers - and in latter years, mountain bikers - from across the globe, to this extreme sports capital.