The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

2 weeks ago

Autumn 2023

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Brimming with fabulous features and stunning photos, inspiring destination guides, scrumptious recipes, history, culture and much, much more: Discover Provence, Ariege, Brittany, Normandy, Burgundy and Bordeaux, explore southern and northern France, secret places and exquisite castles. Bringing France to you - wherever you are.


SPOTLIGHT ON: Drôme and Loire The Unspoiled, unknown part of southern France Janine Marsh explores the culture and the art of living in the southern French regions of Drôme and Loire in Auvergne- Rhône-Alpes… I’m not sure that you’ll find a much more diverse region than Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Within its 12 departments and 1 metropolis, it includes Lyon, the food capital of France, the snowy peaks of Mont Blanc, Drôme and Ardèche, parts of which feel like a more tranquil and rather nostalgic part of Provence, and then there are the lakes and volcanoes of Auvergne. You could spend many months in this vast area getting to know it and discovering its many charms, fabulous gastronomy and wines, its history and culture, chateaux and medieval villages. But who has months? Not many of us, so how about a road trip through two of its most surprising and diverse departments – the Drôme and the Loire - nothing to do with the Loire valley though it is named after the River Loire, the last wild river in Europe, which runs 1006km from Ardèche via the Loire Valley to the Atlantic Ocean. You could actually drive the entire route I’ve mapped out in 3 and a half hours, but if you do it over a few days or a week, you’ll discover some of the most incredible parts of the region which gives you a snapshot of its surprising and astonishing natural diversity, culture, history, and a delicious taste of its gastronomic delights… Valence – gastronomic star Just a couple of hours by train from Paris brings you to the city of Valence perched on the banks of the Rhône river. The capital of the Drôme department and gateway to the south of France, Valence is within reach of the Pre-Alps, the hilly mountainous area between the Swiss plateau and northern side of the French Alps, and the Vercors Massif which you can clearly see from the city’s Esplanade du Champ du Mars park. Head into the city centre to wander winding cobbled streets lined with a melting pot of Wallpaper room, Valence museum architectural styles, and discover the history, culture and cuisine. Don’t miss the Museum of Valence, a former Bishop’s palace, which hosts an eclectic collection of artworks including a stunning early 19th century wallpapered room – the most complete example in France. Then head to the rooftop for jaw-dropping views over the city and river. Transformed into a viewing point by French architect Jean-Paul Philippon who also oversaw the design of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, it’s fabulous. “It’s a human-sized town” said guide Stephan as he led me along medieval flower-filled cobbled streets pointing out some of the more unusual features. The Maison des Têtes (House of the heads) for instance, an incredible 16th century building, covered in carved heads. There are ancient chapels and churches, a statue of Napoleon, not as we usually see him, but as a 16-year-old student reading a book – the Emperor was once a lieutenant at Valence artillery school and in fact stayed at the Maison des Têtes. And don’t miss lovely Place Saint-Jean, where a market is held on Tuesdays, a great place to relax with a glass of wine at one of the many cafés and bars. 18 Chateau | The de Good la Roche Life © France G Reynard, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourism The Good Life France | 19