The Rhône valley stretches down from the compelling city of Lyon, the second biggest city in France, to just north of Orange, in Provence. The north–south route of ancient armies, medieval traders and modern rail and road, the valley has experienced some industralization, but this has done little to affect the verdant, vine-dotted beauty of the countryside. Following the River Rhône is of limited appeal, with the exception of the scenic stretch of vineyards and fruit orchards between the Roman city of Vienne and the distinctly southern city of Valence. The nougat capital of Montélimar, further south still, also wears its charms well. But the big magnet is, of course, the gastronomic paradise of Lyon, with its unrivalled concentration of world-class restaurants.

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