1. |
  3. |
  4. Europe
  5. |
  6. French Europe
  7. |
  8. France
  9. |
  10. Eastern France

Le Centre-Est de France

The Central East of France is composed of two distinct regions.

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, bordered to the east by the Jura Mountains and Switzerland in eastern France, is renowned for red Burgundy wine, Comté cow’s milk cheese, and famed Dijon mustard, named for the region’s capital of Dijon.

Just south, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is bordered by the Alps of Switzerland and Italy to the east. The area surrounding the region’s capital Lyon is filled with Gallo-Roman history, a culinary culture, and nature preserves.

In 2016, France undertook a bold restructuring. Two of its former regions, Bourgogne and Franch-Comté into a single region comprised of 8 departments filled with medieval towns and villages, picturesque rivers, canals, and nature reserves, flourishing pastures and vineyards. Another merger took place in the southeast of France, where the regions of mountainous Auvergne joined prolific Rhône-Alpes into one region comprised of 12 departments. This area offers a tapestry of extinct volcanos and meandering tributaries of two main rivers, the Loire and the Rhône.

*Note: AMG Inspired is reader-supported. When you click and buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Please help support content for this site. Contact AMG Inspired for direct contributions.

City Préfecture (Departement)


  • Dijon, regional capital (Côte d’Or)
  • Auxerre (Yonne)
  • Nevers (Nièvre)
  • Mâcon (Saône et Loire)
  • Vesoul (Haute Saône)
  • Lons le Saunier (Jura)
  • Besançon (Doubs)
  • Belfort (Territoire de Belfort)


  • Moulin (Allier)
  • Clermont Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme)
  • Aurillac (Cantal)
  • Le Puy en Velay (Haute-Loire)
  • Lyon, regional capital (Rhône)
  • Saint-Étienne (Loire)
  • Bourg en Bresse (Ain)
  • Annecy (Haute-Savoie)
  • Chambéry (Savoie)
  • Grenoble (Isère)
  • Valence (Drôme)
  • Privas (Ardèche)

Cities of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes



Photo by Mr Xerty on Unsplash


In the area of Bourgogne, the Palace of the Dukes is a highlight of Dijon, the largest city. Other popular towns include Auxerre along the Yonne River, Beaune with its cobbled-stone streets, Mâcon on the Saône River, Autun with Gallo-Roman ruins, and medieval Semur-en-Auxois. Visit archaeologic sites and prehistoric caves in the Jura Mountains, ancient stilted lake dwellings on Lac de Chalain et de Clairvaux, medieval abbeys such as the Romanesque monasteries of Cluny and Abbaye de Fontenay, and le Corbusier’s modern icon, Chapelle de Ronchamp.

See the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté tourism pages.


Photo by Ali Giaudrone


The area from Rhône-Alpes includes 3 major cities: Lyon, Grenoble, and Saint-Étienne, which along with Chambéry and Annecy make up the region’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Historic Gallo-Roman ruins dot the land such as 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, as well as the highest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc. This 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 the Massif Central in the Monts Dore and the Chaîne des Puys mountain ranges.

Photo Gallery

Read More

All About France

Paris Explored

The Eiffel Tower: French Icon, Once Disputed, Now Cherished

Daybreak cast a hazy pastel backdrop beyond the trellised silhouette. Once viewed by Parisians as a blemish upon the skyline, this wrought-iron structure now proudly stands as France’s most celebrated icon. Our body clocks, not yet adjusted from Pacific Standard Time, woke us in the early morning darkness on the first day of our first…


Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.