The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region is home to a wide array of outstanding UNESCO World Heritage sites. So, get a pen and paper out – here are some destinations to add to your roadmap!
* The Vieux-Lyon district: do you fancy visiting old Lyon? The historical heart of the capital of the Rhone region stretches across the base of Fourvière Hill and its majestic basilica. As you wander through the medieval streets and iconic traboules (hidden passageways), Lyon’s traditional restaurants – known as bouchons – rub shoulders with Renaissance facades and buildings that boast over a thousand years of history.
* In Puy-en-Velay, make sure you don’t miss the cathedral, whose imposing silhouette stands tall on the slopes of Mount Anis. The building, celebrated for housing the mysterious Black Madonna and the most beautiful cloister in Europe, is a key monument of Romanesque art and a jewel of history. Another jewel not to be missed is Notre-Dame-du-Port Basilica in Clermont-Ferrand, which is also listed, as is the Way of Saint James.
* In Ardèche, the Pont d'Arc Cavern is the world’s largest replica of a decorated cave. It is an exceptional site where you can immerse yourself in the fascinating, moving history of prehistoric cave art with over 1,000 restored paintings from the Chauvet cave.
* Finally, around Saint-Etienne — a UNESCO Design City — the site at Firminy hosts Le Corbusier’s largest European work. Be sure to visit the four buildings featuring on the special architectural walk, including the famous Maison de la Culture, where you can trace the legacy left by modern urbanism and architecture. Not far from Lyon, pay a visit to the Tourette Convent, the last great building by Le Corbusier in France, which will be a fitting end to your tour.
Come and live in the present as you explore the riches of the past!