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AUVERGNE-RHÔNE ALPES REGION

Departments : Ain, Allier, Ardèche, Cantal, Drôme, Isère, Loire, Haute-Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Métropole de Lyon, Savoie, Haute-Savoie.

Population: 8 million

Prefecture : Lyon

Surface area: 69,711 km2

Specialities: Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône and Savoy wines, Lyon specialities (quenelles, cervelles de canut, saucisson.), potée auvergnate, Savoy specialities (raclette, fondue, tartiflettes, diots, crozets), cheeses (beaufort, reblochon, cantal, bleu d'Auvergne, Salers, saint-Nectaire...), green lentil of Le Puy, waters (Evian, Thonon, Volvic) verbena, chartreuse.

Sports clubs: Olympique Lyonnais, AS Saint-Etienne, Clermont Foot 63, Grenoble Foot 38 (football). ASM Clermont, Lyon OU, FC Grenoble, Stade Aurillacois, US Oyonnax (rugby union), ASVEL Villeurbanne (basketball), Chambéry (handball), Brûleurs de loup Grenoble, Pionniers de Chamonix (ice hockey)

Competitions: women's football world cup, ski competitions (Première neige criterium in Val d'Isère), Tour de France mountain passes, Critérium du Dauphiné.

Economy: (8th European region) high-tech industries, automotive (Berliet), metallurgy, rubber, plastics, chemicals, electronics, agri-food, textiles, digital, banks, universities, public services, winegrowing. tyres (Michelin). Design. New technologies (Inovallée) Winter and summer tourism. 

Festivals: Fête des Lumières in Lyon, Nuits de Fourvière in Lyon, quais du polar in Lyon, biennale du design in Saint-Etienne, classical music festival in La Chaise-Dieu, etc.

Sights: Old Lyon and Croix-Rousse, Le Puy-en-Velay cathedral, Lake Annecy, Chambéry castle, winter sports in Isère, Savoie and Haute-Savoie, Cantal, spa resorts, Auvergne volcanoes. Caverne du Pont d'Arc. Château de Grignan. Grenoble Bastille. Vulcania. Parc des Oiseaux.

Website: www.auvergnerhonealpes.fr

SAVOIE (73)

Region: Auvergne Rhône-Alpes

Population: 442,500

Surface area: 6,028 km²

Number of cantons: 19

Number of communes: 273

Prefecture: Chambery (Pop: 59,629)

Sub-prefectures: Albertville, St-Jean-de-Maurienne

Specialities: Raclette, tartiflette, fondue, crozets (square-shaped pasta made from buckwheat flour), diots and pormoniers (pork sausages cooked in white wine), Saint-Genix (brioche with red pralines), Savoy cake, chocolate truffles, bugnes (doughnuts), génépi (mountain plant liqueur), Savoy cheeses (Tome des Bauges, Beaufort).

Sport: Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc Handball (D1), AG2R-Citroën team (cycling), Aix Maurienne Savoie Basket (ProB) / Events: Alpine World Ski Championships Courchevel-Méribel 2023, Mountain Bike World Championships-Les Gets, August 2022. 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics.

Heritage: Hautecombe Abbey (on the banks of Lac du Bourget), Château of the Dukes of Savoy (Chambéry), Esseillon barrier forts (Haute Maurienne), La Vanoise National Park, Bauges and Chartreuse Massifs Regional Nature Park, Lake Bourget, Lake Aiguebelette.

Economy: tourism, agri-food, eco-industries, mountain industries, composite materials, information and communication technologies, metalworking

Culture: Musilac in Aix-les-Bains, Les Estivales en Savoie in Chambéry, Le Grand Bivouac in Albertville, Les Arcs European Film Festival

Websites and social networks:www.savoie.fr / https://www.facebook.com/SavoieDepartement/ https://twitter.com/SavoieDeparthttps://www.savoie-mont-blanc.com/https://www.facebook.com/savoiemontblancFR/@savoiemontblancFRhttps://twitter.com/SavoieMontBlanc  / https://www.pinterest.fr/savoiemontblanc/https://www.instagram.com/savoiemontblanc/ / https://www.youtube.com/user/SavoieMontBlanc

Km 51.9

MONTMÉLIAN (POP: 1,100)

Situated in the Combe de Savoie, it is the former military capital of the Duchy of Savoy and the historic capital of the Savoy vineyards. It is a pioneering town in terms of solar energy: it has been the French champion in this category since 2004 and holds the European Citer'gie EEA label. In 2015, Montmélian was the starting point for a stage of the Dauphiné won in Saint-Gervais by Chris Froome.  

Morens bridge

Construction: 1671 to 1685

History: located between the communes of La Chavanne and Montmélian, this stone bridge was built by architect François Cuénot.

Listed as: Historical Monument since 1985.

Km 57.4

CHIGNIN (POP: 1,000)

Chignin, a white wine, was awarded the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in 1973. This appellation covers part of the commune's surface area, i.e. 830 hectares. Production is 8,000 hectolitres. The commune is part of the geographical production and processing area for "Bois de Chartreuse", the leading AOC in the timber industry in France.  

Towers of Chignin 

Built in 1876 on the ruins of the medieval château of La Biguerne, the sanctuary of Saint-Anthelme overlooks the vineyards and watches over the entrance to the Combe de Savoie. Also known as Tour de la place or Tour des archers.

Km 61.1

CHALLES-LES-EAUX (POP: 5,600)

Between the Chartreuse and Bauges mountain ranges. A spa and tourist resort renowned for its ENT and gynaecology cures, with the most sulphurous waters in Europe. The spa was opened in 1874, following the discovery of sulphurous water in 1841. The town hosted three stage starts of the Dauphiné at the turn of the millennium.

Km 65

LA RAVOIRE (POP: 9,000)

This residential suburb of Chambéry, which has become the third most populous town in the urban area and the sixth largest in the department, hosted the start of a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2016, won in Vaujany by Chris Froome. 

Km 66.3

CHAMBERY (POP: 63,600)

The old town is made up of a large number of former Savoy noble mansions (15th-16th centuries) and narrow medieval streets, with colourful, narrow facades (a tax introduced in the 14th century was calculated on the width of the facades) and trompe l'oeil decorations. Chambery has hosted the Tour de France on three occasions, with starts in 1996 and 2010, and a finish in 2017 that saw Rigoberto Uran win the stage. The town has also hosted the Critérium du Dauphiné on sixteen occasions. However, it was in 1989 that the city's greatest cycling feat was achieved, with Greg LeMond's victory in the world championships ahead of Dimitry Konyshev and Sean Kelly, just a few months after his second Tour victory. Already winner of a rainbow jersey in 1983, LeMond gave the name of Chambery to one of the bicycle models he subsequently marketed.  

Elephant fountain

Listed as a Historical Monument in 1982. Historically known as Colonne de Boigne (Column of Boigne), it is also nicknamed "Les Quatre sans cul" (The Assless Four). Erected in 1838 in honour of General De Boigne, the fountain is now one of the town's most famous monuments. Standing 17.65 metres high and made up of 4 cast-iron elephants, the fountain houses a bronze statue of the general.  

Castle of the Dukes of Savoy

Foundation: first built in the 11th century, then modified several times during the 13th century and completed in the 15th century.

Style: Medieval, with Gothic additions.

History: the château suffered several fires in the 18th century, and from 1800 onwards the first prefects began work on it. When Savoy became part of France in 1860, it was given to the dpartment free of charge. A major restoration project, requested by Emperor Napoleon III, was carried out, including a new wing and a monumental staircase for the half-round tower.

Characteristics: a huge building designed as an irregular quadrilateral, with a square keep flanked by a turret, a high semi-circular tower and a high chapel.

Current use: used by the Savoie Prefecture, the Savoie Departmental Council and the Savoie Academy.

Listed as:  Historical Monument since 1881

Km 70.2

COGNIN (POP: 6,520)

It is the fourth most populous town in the Savoie department. During the Second World War, the town was a refuge for the Badinter family. Robert's mother, who took the name Robert Berthet, took refuge there with her two sons, while the father, Simon, was arrested by Klaus Barbie after falling into a trap in Lyon (he was deported to Sobibor). Robert Badinter became French minister of Justice in 1981 and abolished death penalty. There are several fortified houses in the commune, the most important of which is the 13th-century Château de Montcharvin, which guarded the old road from Chambery to Les Échelles via Vimines. There is also the Château de Villeneuve, where Australian painter Bessie Davidson lived in the 1930s. 

Chartreuse Regional Nature Park

The park encompasses the Chartreuse range, in the geographical area bounded by the towns of Chambery (north), Voiron (west) and Grenoble (south). Since the renewal of its charter in 2008, it covers an area of 76,700 hectares and has 60 member communes (41 in Isère, 19 in Savoie), with a total population of 46,300. When it expanded in 2022, it had 72 member municipalities (42 in Isère, 30 in Savoie).

Km 90

LES ÉCHELLES (POP: 1,250)

The commune, which shares the confluence of the Guiers vif and the Guiers mort with Entre-deux-Guiers, is located halfway between Grenoble and Chambery. Until 1860, when Savoy became part of France, it was a border town marking the boundary between France and the Kingdom of Sardinia, with the bridge over the Guiers vif marking the border between the two countries. Once criss-crossed by the Route Nationale 6 and located at the heart of a popular tourist region, between the Grottes des Échelles caves and the Chailles gorges, the commune is a member of the Cœur de Chartreuse community of communes, as well as the Chartreuse Regional Nature Park. Its position as a border town, ideal for smuggling, led to frequent visits in the 18th century by the brigand Mandrin and his men. Stendhal also had a house in Les Echelles, as his uncle was mayor of the commune. The town hall is housed in a former Hospitaller commandery, listed as a historical monument in 1930. In 1984, Les Échelles was the starting point for the Tour de France's uphill time trial to La Ruchère (22km), which saw Laurent Fignon win ahead of Luis Herrera and Pedro Delgado.  

Caves of Saint-Christophe

The caves are famous for their proximity to the Sardinian Way and to the border between France and the Duchy of Savoy, and later the Kingdom of Sardinia, where they were for a long time a border post on the road from Paris to Turin. The Sardinian Way is a natural gorge that was once a road and provides access to the site of the caves. Its name comes from the fact that the Dukes of Savoy, future kings of Sardinia, adapted this passage (already built by the Romans) into a royal road for stagecoaches during the 17th century. In 1649, further work was undertaken by the regent Christine of France to consolidate the canal wall that ran alongside this route, and then her son, Duke Charles-Emmanuel II of Savoy, had an ashlar ramp built between 1667 and 1670 to facilitate passage and complete this route towards the Guiers valley. A monument dedicated to Charles-Emmanuel II of Savoy was erected on this road in 1674, just before the entrance to the caves. It was listed as a historicam monument in 1952. According to some sources, one of the many caves in the area known as Grottes des Echelles was home to the famous French smuggler Louis Mandrin, who hid his treasure there.

Km 99.5

SAINT-BÉRON (POP: 1,720) 

Château de Vaux-Saint-Cyr

Built: 1867.

History: the château was built in 1867 by Count Septime de Garnier des Garets, and by marriage, in 1910 the château reverted to the Vaux-Saint-Cyr family. It was built on the site of an earlier castle, owned by the Lords of Clermont du Dauphiné and then the Dizimieu family, who kept it until the early 19th century. It was razed to the ground by the Genevese in 1603. It is privately owned and only the exterior is accessible.

Characteristics: built of Gard stone and covered in slate, it is in the "eclectic" style that was very much in vogue in the mid-19th century, inspired mainly by the French Renaissance and the decorations of the châteaux of the Loire Valley.

Listed as: historical monument since 1987.

Km 116.9

SAINT-GENIX-LES-VILLAGES (POP: 3,000)

It is the result of the merger in 2019 of the communes of Gresin, Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers and Saint-Maurice-de-Rotherens. A former border town, Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers has lost its count's castle and fortifications, with the exception of a gateway, known as the Savoy Gate, and a few remnants of the ramparts along the Guiers. Its historic centre, grouped around the church, is remarkably well preserved. It features stone architecture, with pebbled roof tiles and sometimes crenelated gables, as in neighbouring Bugey. Outside the centre, the architecture is reminiscent of the Dauphiné plain, with adobe houses. 

Galletti Museum

The Galletti Radio Museum tells the story of the radio station built by Italian inventor Roberto Clemens Galletti di Cadilhac before the First World War. A collection of old radio sets, telephones, posters and documents retraces 100 years of the history of radio communications.

ISÈRE (38)

Region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Population: 1.2 million (16 pc of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)

Prefecture: Grenoble

Sub-prefectures: Vienne, La Tour du Pin

Number of communes: 521

Surface area: 7,431 Km² (11 pc of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)

Specialities: Grenoble walnuts (AOC), St Marcellin (IGP cheese), Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage (AOP cheese), ravioles, Chartreuse liqueur, Bonnat chocolates, antésite. Wines: Coteaux du Grésivaudan, Balmes Dauphinoises, Collines Rhodaniennes (IGP wines), Vitis Vienna (Vienne wines). Vercors trout, mountain meats (beef, lamb), gratin dauphinois, brioche de Bourgoin, murçon (charcuterie)...

Major sports clubs: FC Grenoble (rugby), Brûleurs de loups (ice hockey), GF38 (football), CSBJ (rugby), Les bruleurs, Les ours de Villard (hockey), Rugby Sassenage Isère (women's rugby).

Major competitions: La Foulée blanche in Autrans, Ut4M (Ultra tour des 4 massifs), Trail des passerelles du Monteynard, Echappée belle (Ultra trail of Belledonne), EuroNordicWalk Vercors, Grand Duc-trail de Chartreuse, La Marmotte in l'Alpe d'Huez (Grand Fondo event).

Festivals: La Coupe Icare in St Hilaire du Touvet, L'Alpe d'Huez Film Festival (comedy film festival in Isère), Berlioz Festival in la Côte Saint-André, Jazz in Vienne Festival, Autrans Mountain Film Festival, Vélo Vert Festival in Villard de Lans, Tomorrowland in l'Alpe d'Huez.

Economy: Industry, electronics, digital, micro and nanoelectronics, IT, research, health, hydroelectricity, chemicals and the environment, energy, thermal spas, tourism

Main sights: Domaine de Vizille, Grande Chartreuse monastery, Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye, Choroanche caves, Grenoble cable car, Grenoble museum, Chartreuse cellars, Musée Dauphinois, St Hilaire du Touvet funicular railway, Crémieu, Vienne, Walibi Rhône-Alpes park, Europe's largest skiable glacier at Les Deux-Alpes.

Websites and social networkswww.alpesishere.comwww.cyclo-alpes.com / www.isere.fr

Km 118

AOSTE (POP: 2,900)

Headquarters of the Aoste food group, whose ham has nothing to do with the PDO ham produced in the Aosta Valley in Italy.  In 2017, Aoste hosted the start of a stage in the Critérium du Dauphiné, won by Peter Kennaugh at l'Alpe d'Huez, as well as a stage in the Tour des Pays de Savoie in 2011, won in La Thuile by Romain Bardet.  

Gallo-Roman Museum of Aoste

Founded: 1856

History: the name Aoste comes from Augustus and Vicus Augustus, a small Roman town located at the crossroads of several roads, one of which led to Vienne, capital of the province, and then Lyon, another to Switzerland and the third to Aosta in Italy and Rome via Lemencum (Chambery). At the time, the city was a major centre for the production of high-quality glassware and pottery, which was exported throughout the empire.

Characteristics: the Gallo-Roman Museum in Aoste is dedicated to evoking daily life in the ancient city of Augustum during the Gallo-Roman period.

Listed as: Musée de France.

AIN (01)

Population: 654,000 (Andinese)

Prefecture: Bourg-en-Bresse

Sub-prefectures: Nantua, Belley and Gex

Surface area: 5,762 km 2

Region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Specialities: Bresse poultry (the only AOC-AOP poultry in the world), Bresse cream and butter, Bugey wines, cheeses (Comté, Bleu de Gex, Morbier, etc.), Dombes fish, pike quenelles with Nantua sauce, Bresse tart, Pérouges tart, etc. 

Heritage: Royal Monastery of Brou, Ars Basilica (Ars sur Formans), Bird Park, House of Izieu, medieval town of Pérouges, Château des Allymes, Ambronay Abbey, Museum of Bresse, now known as the Domaine des saveurs-Les Planons, as well as 38 sites designated as sensitive natural areas...

Sport: US Oyonnax (rugby), JL Bourg (basketball), USBPA (rugby), FBBP01 (football).

Major competitions: Tour de l'Ain. Bourg-en-Bresse International Show-jumping(CSI 4****). Bourg Open de l'Ain tennis Grand Prix. The Ain'ternational Rhône-Alpes Valromey Tour (International junior 1 and 2 team event). Mondial de Quad in Pont-de-Vaux. La Forestière UCI. La Bisous (Gran Fondo). L'Aindinoise (Gran Fondo)

Culture: Ambronay Baroque Music Festival. Le Printemps de Pérouges (music). Les musicales in Parc des oiseaux. Comics Festival in Ain. Brass festival in Dombes. Oh! Bugey festival. A la folie pas du tout. The great AOC - AOP - IGP market. Les entretiens de Belley (gastronomic event)

Economy: 1st industrial department in France. In January 2019, the Ain department launched its Origin'Ain label to promote its many areas of expertise (250 companies). Numerous international competitiveness clusters (La Plastic Vallée, Alimentec, Le Parc industriel de la plaine de l'Ain...)

Websites and social networks: www.ain.fr / www.tourdefrance-ain.frwww.ain-tourisme.com / Facebook : @Departement01 / Instagram : @ain.le.departement / Twitter : @Departement_AINYoutube : Département de l'Ain / Snapchat : Snapdelain

Km 126.5

BRÉGNIER-CORDON (POP: 820)

Château de la Barre, in Brégnier-Cordon, was the scene of a crime that is said to have inspired Stendhal to write The Red and the Black.  

Château de la Barre

Built: 1344, altered in the 20th century.

History: the fief belonged to Guillaume de Cordon, a knight, who paid homage to Louis of Savoy in the same year. The lordship remained in the family until the disgrace of Aynard de Cordon in 1435. Little remains of the medieval castle. The La Forest family, who inherited it in the 16th and 17th centuries, transformed La Barre into a pleasure residence with beautiful gardens.

Characteristics: the current main building dates back to the origins of the fortified castle, in the 13th century; it is the square, six-storey keep, 32 metres high; it has been continuously inhabited; the fortifications date back to the 13th century.

Trivia: the château was the scene of a crime involving a young seminarian from the village of Brangues, Antoine Berthet, who was hired as a tutor by the Count of Cordon in 1826. Berthet was said to have seduced his daughter Henriette, leading to his dismissal. Convinced that his mistress, the wife of the mayor of Brangues, was behind his dismissal, he shot her in the church in Brangues. Arrested and sentenced to death, he was executed in Grenoble in 1828. It is thought that Stendhal, who was familiar with courts and legal cases, drew inspiration from this incident to write his novel Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black).  

Haut-Rhône Nature Reserve

It covers 3 departments: Ain (Lhuis, Groslée, Saint-Benoît and Brégnier-Cordon), Isère and Savoie. With 1,707 hectares of alluvial and forested areas stretching 26 km along the Rhône, it is the largest fluvial forest reserve in France. It is home to remarkable sites such as the Saugey meander and the Evieu forest, numerous species (beaver, otter, yellow-bellied sounder, little egret, hobby falcon, purple heron, etc.), a wide variety of habitats (riparian forests, willow groves, reedbeds, flood meadows) and more than a dozen remarkable plants (marsh hottonia, great buttercup, little naiad and guinea fern).

Km 134.2

GROSLÉE-SAINT-BENOIT (POP: 1,240)

Formed by the merger of Groslée and Saint-Benoît in 2016, the municipality boasts a number of listed buildings, including its former medieval castle, a stronghold of the powerful seigneury of Groslée, and the 15th-century fortified house of Vareppe.  

Groslée Castle

Built in 1180.

History: the castle was built by Jacques de Groslée, seneschal of Lyon. The castle, village and lordship were sold by Antoine de Groslée to Duke Amadeus VIII of Savoy around 1420, but remained in the family, reverting to Jacques de Groslée, Lord of Lhuis. In 1580, Duke Charles-Emmanuel I of Savoy converted the seigneury into a county in favour of Claude de Groslée, adding the seigneury of Lhuis. Joseph-Marie de Barral, Marquis of Montferrat, President of the Grenoble Parliament, inherited the estate by marriage in 1777 and was still in possession of it in 1789. The château, restored in the 15th and 16th centuries, was dismantled in the 18th century. Only the keep remains.

Current use: private property.

Listed as: historical monument since 1992.

Km 142.7

LHUIS (POP: 890)

Its 12th-century Romanesque church, Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, has been a listed historical monument since 1930. Lhuis, like most of the villages crossed at the end of this stage, was on the route of the Tour du Valromey, a major junior stage race won by the likes of Mathieu Van der Poel, Victor Lafay and Romain Grégoire, and in 2023 by tyoung American Andrew August, born in 2005 and heralded as a prodigy in the making.

Km 149.5

BRIORD (POP: 1,100)

The ancient occupation of Briord is attested to by the presence of a buried Roman aqueduct and the discovery of a Gallo-Roman and Barbarian necropolis containing almost three hundred tombs dating from the 1st to 6th centuries.  

Briord aqueduct

Construction: Roman period.

History: the site was explored from 1900 by the parish priest of Briord and excavated in 1906.

Characteristics: the aqueduct took water from the Brivaz spring in Montagnieu, crossed the Briarette hill and ended at the Roman settlement of vicus Brioratensis in Briord. Only the underground section, under the hill, is known. The tunnel is around two hundred metres long.

Listed as: historical monument in 1904. 

Km 151.8

MONTAGNIEU (POP: 670)

Montagnieu owes its reputation to the vines grown on the steep slopes of the Souhait mountain, and to its sparkling white wine, named after the village: a fizzling white with an elegant mousse and fine bubbles, to be drunk chilled as an aperitif or with dessert. The appellation's vineyards cover some thirty hectares, spread over the communes of Montagnieu, Seillonnaz and Briord. The architectural highlights include the Oncin tower (a 15th-century private building). In 1919, the hamlet of Les Granges, below Montagnieu, was hit by a major landslide following several days of torrential rain. Around twenty homes and the new school were destroyed, resulting in the death of one person. It was an event that left a lasting impression on people's memories.

Km 158.3

VILLEBOIS (POP: 1,290)

Villebois became famous for its quarries and its stone. Villebois stone was used in the construction of many buildings in France, including those in Lyon (in front of the Hôtel Dieu on the quayside), Valence, Vienne and Givors, as well as in Switzerland. Traces of stone quarrying date back to 1695, but the industry reached its peak in the second half of the 18th century. Villebois is well known to canyoning enthusiasts for its descent of the Rhéby. Joseph Récamier (1774-1852), the founder of modern gynaecology, lived in Villebois where his uncle, the village priest, educated him and taught him Latin. 

ISÈRE (38)

Region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Population: 1.2 million (16 pc of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)

Prefecture: Grenoble

Sub-prefectures: Vienne, La Tour du Pin

Number of communes: 521

Surface area: 7,431 Km² (11 pc of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)

Specialities: Grenoble walnuts (AOC), St Marcellin (IGP cheese), Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage (AOP cheese), ravioles, Chartreuse liqueur, Bonnat chocolates, antésite. Wines: Coteaux du Grésivaudan, Balmes Dauphinoises, Collines Rhodaniennes (IGP wines), Vitis Vienna (Vienne wines). Vercors trout, mountain meats (beef, lamb), gratin dauphinois, brioche de Bourgoin, murçon (charcuterie)...

Major sports clubs: FC Grenoble (rugby), Brûleurs de loups (ice hockey), GF38 (football), CSBJ (rugby), Les bruleurs, Les ours de Villard (hockey), Rugby Sassenage Isère (women's rugby).

Major competitions: La Foulée blanche in Autrans, Ut4M (Ultra tour des 4 massifs), Trail des passerelles du Monteynard, Echappée belle (Ultra trail of Belledonne), EuroNordicWalk Vercors, Grand Duc-trail de Chartreuse, La Marmotte in l'Alpe d'Huez (Grand Fondo event).

Festivals: La Coupe Icare in St Hilaire du Touvet, L'Alpe d'Huez Film Festival (comedy film festival in Isère), Berlioz Festival in la Côte Saint-André, Jazz in Vienne Festival, Autrans Mountain Film Festival, Vélo Vert Festival in Villard de Lans, Tomorrowland in l'Alpe d'Huez.

Economy: Industry, electronics, digital, micro and nanoelectronics, IT, research, health, hydroelectricity, chemicals and the environment, energy, thermal spas, tourism

Main sights: Domaine de Vizille, Grande Chartreuse monastery, Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye, Choroanche caves, Grenoble cable car, Grenoble museum, Chartreuse cellars, Musée Dauphinois, St Hilaire du Touvet funicular railway, Crémieu, Vienne, Walibi Rhône-Alpes park, Europe's largest skiable glacier at Les Deux-Alpes.

Websites and social networkswww.alpesishere.comwww.cyclo-alpes.com / www.isere.fr

ISÈRE (38)

Region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Population: 1.2 million (16 pc of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)

Prefecture: Grenoble

Sub-prefectures: Vienne, La Tour du Pin

Number of communes: 521

Surface area: 7,431 Km² (11 pc of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)

Specialities: Grenoble walnuts (AOC), St Marcellin (IGP cheese), Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage (AOP cheese), ravioles, Chartreuse liqueur, Bonnat chocolates, antésite. Wines: Coteaux du Grésivaudan, Balmes Dauphinoises, Collines Rhodaniennes (IGP wines), Vitis Vienna (Vienne wines). Vercors trout, mountain meats (beef, lamb), gratin dauphinois, brioche de Bourgoin, murçon (charcuterie)...

Major sports clubs: FC Grenoble (rugby), Brûleurs de loups (ice hockey), GF38 (football), CSBJ (rugby), Les bruleurs, Les ours de Villard (hockey), Rugby Sassenage Isère (women's rugby).

Major competitions: La Foulée blanche in Autrans, Ut4M (Ultra tour des 4 massifs), Trail des passerelles du Monteynard, Echappée belle (Ultra trail of Belledonne), EuroNordicWalk Vercors, Grand Duc-trail de Chartreuse, La Marmotte in l'Alpe d'Huez (Grand Fondo event).

Festivals: La Coupe Icare in St Hilaire du Touvet, L'Alpe d'Huez Film Festival (comedy film festival in Isère), Berlioz Festival in la Côte Saint-André, Jazz in Vienne Festival, Autrans Mountain Film Festival, Vélo Vert Festival in Villard de Lans, Tomorrowland in l'Alpe d'Huez.

Economy: Industry, electronics, digital, micro and nanoelectronics, IT, research, health, hydroelectricity, chemicals and the environment, energy, thermal spas, tourism

Main sights: Domaine de Vizille, Grande Chartreuse monastery, Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye, Choroanche caves, Grenoble cable car, Grenoble museum, Chartreuse cellars, Musée Dauphinois, St Hilaire du Touvet funicular railway, Crémieu, Vienne, Walibi Rhône-Alpes park, Europe's largest skiable glacier at Les Deux-Alpes.

Websites and social networkswww.alpesishere.comwww.cyclo-alpes.com / www.isere.fr

Km 164.9

VERTRIEU (POP: 600)

The history of the village of Vertrieu is linked to its proximity to the Rhône. The castle, a former stronghold, was built at the time of Humbert de la Tour, Dauphin of Dauphiné, who was at war with Savoy. A new castle was built in the mid-17th century by the Lord of la Poype, Lord of Vertrieu, to replace the fortified house overlooking the river. The building is now abandoned and in ruins. Both châteaux are listed buildings. The village is characterised by its local stone houses, adorned with typical balconies and staircases. Always linked to the river, the village of Vertrieu was a busy port until 1940, with more than forty bargemen. Stone from Villebois and Montalieu-Vercieu was transported by river to the port of Vertrieu, then taken by road to be used in the construction of many buildings in Lyon.

Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne invites you to a year-round adventure, where each season unveils unique treasures. In the summer, the town blossoms into a vibrant landscape with charming squares and lively markets, where you can explore serene hiking trails, and allow the crisp mountain air to guide your journey.

As winter descends, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne transforms into a snowy paradise, offering exhilarating slopes for skiing enthusiasts. And when it comes to the aprés-ski, the town's warm hospitality adds a touch of magic to the snowy landscape.

Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, a versatile destination, promises an immersive experience in every season. Whether under the summer sun or winter snowfall, the town invites you to discover the allure of the French Alps in all their splendour.

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Saint-Vulbas

Found in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, Saint-Vulbas sits just over 20 miles from Lyon. While it is set against an industrial backdrop, this small town has a number of historic buildings, and plenty of French rural charm.

The area around the town is filled with natural beauty. In addition to exceptional hiking and cycling trails, sights ranging from grottoes to waterfalls are calling out to be explored.

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