A mere three hours from Paris by TGV, Isere is a very diverse department, from the mountains of Oisans to the almost Mediterranean flavour of Vienne, the “Roman city”. Among the many monuments to discover, the domain of Vizille is worth the visit with its huge park and its castle hosting a permanent exhibition on the French Revolution. The medieval village of St Antoine l'Abbaye is also extremely picturesque. Vienne's Roman theatre is every year the home to a famous jazz festival while the bustling Grenoble is impossible to miss with its lively student life and long history. Wtih three natural parks, Isere is an ideal destination for tourists and nature lovers, but it is also a pleasant place to live for its population of 1.2 million.
Prefecture : Chambery
Subprefectures : Albertville, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
Population : 415,000
Website : www.savoie-mont-blanc.com
Tourism has been the main economic strength of Savoie for many years. With its 60 ski resorts, its three natural parks : Vanoise, Bauges and Chartreuse, and its six spa towns : Aix-les-Bains, Aix Marlioz, Challes-les-eaux, Brides-les-Bains, la Léchère, Salins-les-Thermes.
The department offers plenty of opportunities to visitors. Metal and energetic industries combined with cross-border exchanges accounft for a low rate of unemployment. Along with its natural beauty, Savoie also has many remains from the prestigious past of the Duchy of Savoy, the Chambery castle being the most remarkable. Savoie hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville.
Prefecture : Annecy
Sub-prefectures : Bonneville, Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, Thonon-les-Bains
Population : 740,000
Websites : www.cg74.fr
As part of the Duchy of Savoy which only became French in 1860, Haute-Savoie has kept a strong identity fuelled by its close ties with its Swiss and Italian neighbours. A mountainous area with some the highest summits in France, it is also a very active land in the valley along the Lake Geneva and the Annecy lake. Very attractive because of its border position and its economic vitality, Haute Savoie sees its population grow steadily and now boasts more than 740,000 inhabitants.
Km 10 : Oz
Population : 220
The Verney dam was built and exploited at first by the Société Hydroélectrique de l'Eau d'Olle, founded in Lancey in 1907 by Maurice Berges, the son of Aristide Bergès, a rich and powerful entrepreneur and politician. The dam, with a power of more than 16,000 horsepower, led to the construction in 1909 of the high-tension line of 60,000 volts between Grenoble and St Chamond. It was one of the first major electric equipments in France.
Second French region by his size, its economic importance and its population, the Rhone-Alpes region is also ranked 6thin Europe. This huge space with a population of six million inhabitants articulates around four main centres: Lyon, Grenoble, St Etienne and even Geneva which, thanks to its proximity, plays an active part in the region's trade and exchanges. Almost every type of industry can be found in such a vast area, but the region never forgets its tradition of fine wines, excellent fruit and succulent food.
Website : www.rhonealpes.fr
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