France is one of the countries offering a huge diversity of monuments, cities and museums to visit. It is a place with a lot of history, where have passed a great amount of musings and peoples, such as artists, scientists and great personalities, throughout history. Therefore it is a very touristic place, visited by millions of tourists every year.  We specifically want to talk about one of those cities, the beautiful Provencal town: Valence.

Provencal France: a fairy tale 

Kiosk in Valence

Provencal France is an incredible place, a unique region, which is like a world parallel to the rest of France where the Mediterranean and Alpine landscape come together creating a magical world, as if it were a fairy tale. The territory has abundant fields of lavender, vineyards, orchards and groves of olive and mulberry trees. Along the coast are the French Riviera and the ports of Marseille and Toulon.

The present inhabitants of Provence retain their own language, the French-Provencal language. It is located in the south-eastern end of the country, bordering the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, to the east with Italy, to the south with the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Leon, and to the west with Occitania. In addition, it surrounds Monaco, a small independent city-principality. It is the third most densely populated region, behind Ile de France and Upper France.

In terms of history, the territory was colonized by the Greeks, later the region was part of the Roman province Transalpina. The region was also inhabited by different Germanic tribes such as the Ostrogoths, Burgundians and Franks. In the year 879, the region was incorporated into a kingdom under the name of Provence Burgundy Cisjurásica. In the tenth century, it is integrated into the kingdom of Arles. At the beginning of century XII, was submitted to the jurisdiction of the counts of Barcelona during the reign of Pedro II of Aragon. Later, it lost all autonomy, being subject to the house of Anjou that governed from 1245 to 1482 until the reign of Luis XI of France, to be annexed to the Gallic country. From that moment until now the whole territory (except for Monaco) has belonged to France.

Discover Valence: History, culture and tourism of the beautiful Provençal city 

History, culture and tourism of the beautiful Provencal city

The town of Valence is a beautiful Provencal village that is located in the Rhône-Alpes region. In fact it is considered and is known as the door to the French Alps or the door to the south of France (or the Mediterranean). At the moment it has approximately 65000 inhabitants, being an intermediate-low city.

Its geography location places Valence in the middle of the Rhône valley, at the mouth of the Isère valley, gateway to the Alps. The city is almost equidistant (about 100 kilometers) from Lyon, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne and Orange. Its location geography is all a referent because it is at a key point between the Alps, the Mediterranean coast and the French plain.

Its name, coming from the Latin Valentia, is shared in several forms by other cities of the old empire. It was a Roman outpost in front of the Gauls. During the middle Ages the city remained within the Roman walls, reinforced in 1570 under Charles IX. In spite of this stagnation, Valence continued being an important point in the commercial axis of Rhone, and also in the border between France and the Sacrum Germanic Roman Empire, of which it comprised until Century XV. In 1452 the University of Valence was founded.


During the sixteenth century a citadel was built and military installations were developed, and during the XVII several religious orders were installed. As military, administrative and religious functions were reinforced to the detriment of commerce, the centre of the city remained with a medieval aesthetic, which still persists. It was not until the 19th century that the city overcame its walls, replaced by boulevards in 1860.

At the beginning of the 20th century many Armenian emigrants arrived in Valence. Its descendants represent 10% of the present population of the city, which is reflected in many socio-cultural aspects. During World War II, Valence suffered bombings, being particularly hard those of 1944, that damaged the bridges on the Rhône. During the post-war period, the city recovered and in the following years the economy grew.

As regards the monuments and places of interest that you can visit in this city are: Cathedral of Saint-Apollinaire (11th century), Church of Saint John the Baptist, with its tower portico (12th century), Temple of San Ruf, Chapel of the Capuchins, Chapel of the Franciscans. You can also do City Tours for Valence and its canals, which are natural and ecological heritage, unique in France. There are also other monuments such as the Museum of Fine Arts (Place des Ormeaux), the House of the Heads (16th century, Peynet Kiosk (1890) and the Pendant (tombstone 1548). The Tourist Office If you wish also to see the surroundings and enjoy the countryside, you can make walks to Parc Jouvet and Crussol Castle.

Where to stay in Valence? 

Beautiful places in Valence

In Valence, there is a wide variety of accommodations from hotels to campsites to cottages, apartments, etc. Either of the choices to choose is pretty good. In the case of hotels, there is plenty of variety and of any price, from the cheapest for a tight pocket, to the most exclusive and prestigious, whose price is quite higher. In the case of apartments or house for rent, there are also various sizes and prices.

As you see it is a fascinating city and region. If you want to know more experiences, histories and tips of this type, visit the Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation experiences, which can help you to discover plans, ideas and places that are a key point in any trip or journey that we make.

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