Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is an administrative region located in the south-eastern quarter of mainland France. It was created by the 2015 territorial reform, dated January 1, 2016, following the regional elections of December 6 and 13, 2015.

Bringing together the former Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes regions, it is made up of 12 departments and a metropolis with territorial collectivity status; its surface area is 69,711 km2 and its population amounted to 8,114,361 inhabitants in 2021; its capital is Lyon.

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes comprises twelve departments: Ain, Allier, Ardèche, Cantal, Drôme, Haute-Loire, Haute-Savoie, Isère, Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, and Savoie.

It is bordered by five other administrative regions: Bourgogne-Franche-Comté to the north, Centre-Val de Loire to the northwest, Nouvelle-Aquitaine to the west, Occitania to the south-west, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur to the south-east. It is also bordered by Italy (Aosta Valley and Piedmont) to the east and Switzerland (Cantons of Geneva, Valais, and Vaud) to the north-east.

After that of Île-de-France, the economy of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is the second largest regional economy in France, weighing 283 billion euros in 2021. It is also in second place nationally for industrial production, spending on research and development, the number of salaried jobs and students.

The region’s economy is notably driven by the economy of Lyon.

Tourism and main attractions

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is the second largest tourist region in France, with nearly 161 million tourist nights for an estimated 21 billion euros in tourist consumption. Tourism activity generated 181,200 salaried jobs directly linked to tourism activities (2020).

List of main tourist sites in the region (by departments in alphabetical order):







The Most Beautiful Villages of France list (by departments)

Ain (1 village)

Allier (1 village)

  • Charroux

Ardèche (2 villages)

Cantal (2 villages)

  • Salers
  • Tournemire

Drôme (6 villages)

Isère (1 village)

  • Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye

Loire (1 village)

  • Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez

Haute-Loire (6 villages)

  • Arlempdes
  • Blesle
  • Lavaudieu
  • Lavoûte-Chilhac
  • Pradelles
  • Polignac

Puy-de-Dôme (2 villages)

  • Montpeyroux
  • Usson

Rhône (1 village)

Savoie (1 village)

  • Bonneval-sur-Arc

Haute-Savoie (1 village)

  • Yvoire

Natural objects (rivers, lakes, mountains)

Transport system

Lyon–Saint Exupéry Airport (French: Aéroport de Lyon-Saint Exupéry), formerly known as Lyon Satolas Airport (IATA: LYS, ICAO: LFLL), is the international airport of Lyon, the third-biggest city in France and an important transport facility for the entire Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It lies in Colombier-Saugnieu, 20 km southeast of Lyon’s city centre. The airport is 30 minutes from the Lyon-Part-Dieu business district by the Rhônexpress tram.

In 1994, the LGV Rhône-Alpes high-speed rail line brought TGV service to the airport, providing direct trains to Paris and Marseille. The fan-shaped canopy of the Gare de Lyon Saint-Exupéry, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, is the airport’s most notable architectural feature.

Since 1997, the airport has been a focus city for the airline Air France.

Shortest distances to Lyon from the main cities of France (capitals of regions)

Occitania (Toulouse): 4 hr 57 min (538 km) via A7, A9 and A61

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (Dijon): 1 hr 55 min (195 km) via A6

Bretagne (Rennes): 6 hr 44 min (738 km) via A71

Centre-Val de Loire (Orléans): 4 hr 13 min (450 km) via A71 and A89

Grand Est (Strasbourg): 4 hr 30 min (489 km) via A36

Hauts-de-France (Lille): 6 hr 3 min (692 km) via A26

Île-de-France (Paris): 4 hr 19 min (466 km) via A6

Normandie (Rouen): 5 hr 41 min (594 km) via A6

Nouvelle-Aquitaine (Bordeaux): 5 hr 19 min (554 km) via A89

Pays de la Loire (Nantes): 6 hr 14 min (685 km) via A85 and A71

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (Marseille): 3 hr 21 min (312 km) via A7

Main facts

GPS coordinates: 45° 42′ 00″ north, 4° 48′ 00″ east

Area: 69 711 km km²

Arrondissements: 39

Cantons: 242

Communes: 4 029

Population: 8 114 361

Language: French

Currency: euro

Visa: Schengen

Time zone: UTC+01:00 (CET)

ISO 3166 code: FR-ARA

See here France travel guide

See here Spain travel guide

See here Pyrenees travel guide

See here Andorra travel guide

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