The Rhône-Alpes region stretches from the river Rhône to the Alps. With me so far? It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter and they have some mountains, but then you probably knew that. What you may not know is that Danish artist Marco Evaristti was arrested last year whilst attempting to paint the peak of Mont Blanc red, and that twenty Swiss hot-tub enthusiasts successfully erected and used a jacuzzi on the summit (there are pictures on the net if you really want to see.)
Rhône-Alpes is known in Franco-Proveçal as Rôno-Arpes and in Occitan as Ròse Aups, but since the last remaining speakers of Franco-Proveçal and Occitan are both over 100, you can probably get away without knowing that in most day-to-day situations.
Capital of Rhône-Alpes
The capital of Rhône-Alpes is France’s third largest city Lyon. (We spell it Lyons, possibly through confusion with the tea-rooms.) Lyon’s international airport is named after the writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who hasn’t been seen since he took off in his monoplane in 1944. Some consider this naming unfortunate for an airport – like Titanic Cruises or The John Prescott Diet.
Which brings us on to food. When in Lyon you should eat at one of the local restaurants called bouchons (French for corks or stoppers.) The highlight of Lyonnaise cuisine is a sort of meat dumpling called the quenelle. Some experts suggest that the name comes from the Anglo-Saxon knyll, meaning ‘to grind’, though “Knyll” may simply be what the Anglo-Saxons said when they first tasted one.
Lyon is the headquarters of Interpol. Famous Interpol agents include Thompson and Thomson from Tintin, Natalie Imbruglia’s character from Johnny English and Inspector Gadget – which is reassuring.
Other Major Towns in Rhone-Alpes
Grenoble is the second largest city in Rhône-Alpes. It is surrounded by mountains and is famous for its walnuts. Did you know that walnut shells are used in the manufacture of dynamite? I didn’t.
To the north of Grenoble is Chartreuse, where the monks make their famous liqueur. They were given a recipe for an “elixir of life” in 1605 and immediately set about finding the 130 necessary herbs. After the revolution in 1793, the monks were expelled from France. Several years later, someone noticed that they’d run out of liqueur and invited the monks back. Never a people to learn from their mistakes, the French expelled the monks again in 1903. This time, they attempted to make the liqueur themselves, without the help of monastical know-how. Disaster. The taste-alike Chartreuse sold like cold cakes and the only solution was to invite the ever-forgiving monks back again. Not the original monks, you understand, new ones.
The other principal towns of the region are Chambéry and Valence. Chambéry is famous for its Fontaine des Éléphants or Fountain of Elephants (you’d better go and see for yourself.) Valence was ravaged in the fifth century by Alans and other barbarians. Valence is twinned with Clacton-on-Sea which, itself, is frequently ravaged by Alans and, occasionally, Grahams.
© 2008 richardheacock @ mac.com
Rhone - Alpes Property SelectionListed below are the departments in the region of Rhone - Alpes; the number of properties in each department are denoted in brackets - click on a department to see the properties available.
All the properties in Rhone - Alpes by department.
(Number in brackets = number of properties)
Ain Property (1)
Ardèche Property (3)
Drôme Property (4)
Haute Savoie Property (165)
Isère Property (1)
Loire Property (1)
Rhône Property (2)
Savoie Property (128)