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Two main rivers and tributaries of the Loire and the Rhône flow through Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, located in the southeast of France.

In 2016, France merged two of its former regions, the mountainous Auvergne of extinct volcanos and Rhône-Alpes. The combined region comprises 12 departments bordered to the East by the Alps Mountains around the region’s capital of Lyon, filled with Gallo-Roman history, a culinary culture, and nature preserves.

City Préfecture (Departement)


  • Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region capital (Rhône)
  • Saint-Étienne (Loire)
  • Bourg en Bresse (Ain)
  • Annecy (Haute-Savoie)
  • Chambéry (Savoie)
  • Grenoble (Isère)
  • Valence (Drôme)
  • Privas (Ardèche)


  • Moulin (Allier)
  • Clermont Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme)
  • Aurillac (Cantal)
  • Le Puy en Velay (Haute-Loire)

Cities of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes


The area from Rhône-Alpes includes 3 major cities: Lyon, Grenoble, and Saint-Étienne, all UNESCO World Heritage sites with Chambéry and Annecy. Historic Gallo-Roman ruins also dot the land like those in the town of Vienne. This region, known for gastronomy and wine production of Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône, is filled with stunning natural beauty. Lakes, hills, mountains, and gorges include notable Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), Lac du Bourget, Lac d’Annecy, Gorges de l’Ardèche, and Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. Here, the region hosted 3 Winter Olympics at Chamonix, Grenoble, and Albertville.

Oak forests of Forêt de Tronçais, pastures, lakes, and ponds fill the rural area of Auvergne between the northern hills and southern dormant volcanic landforms of Massif Central in the Monts Dore and the Chaîne des Puys mountain ranges.

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