Centred on the large city of Lyon, Rhône-Alpes, as its name suggests, is a scenic region of rivers and mountains located in the southeast of the country, bordering Italy and Switzerland.
The second-biggest city in France, Lyon has a host of things to see and do including a Roman amphitheatre and the Tête d'Or Park with its expansive gardens and zoo. Historic old Lyon is the highlight, a UNESCO World Heritage site with its Renaissance and medieval buildings.
Annecy, a town which sits beside the stunning lake of the same name on the Swiss border, is considered the most picturesque town in the region. Built around a 14th century castle, the town is often compared to Venice due to its interconnecting canals and patchwork of architecturally impressive buildings that stretch along the water.
This is also a good base from which to visit other small towns in the region such as La Clusaz, Chambéry, Evian and a little farther away, the popular Alpine ski resorts of Val d'Isère and Chamonix, both of which have excellent resort facilities.
Chamonix in particular is worth a visit even for non-skiers with its Mer de Glace glacier, the biggest in Europe, and numerous cable cars that ferry visitors around the nearby scenic mountains. Hiking and mountaineering are hugely popular in the summer months.
Grenoble is a former host of the Winter Olympic Games and within touching distance of the popular ski resorts of Autrans and Chamrousse. The city itself enjoys fantastic views of the snow-covered Alps close by and is home to a number of interesting museums and art galleries.
Officially designated one of the most beautiful towns in France, Samoëns is a resort that operates year-round, for skiing in the winter and as a hub for outdoor leisure pursuits including mountain-biking and whitewater-rafting in the summer.
Valence, which sits beside the Rhône, is a pleasantly hilly town away from the colder ski stations in the heart of the Alps. It houses a number of Roman antiquities at its library and museum, and the cathedral and nearby park are stunning.