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The Rhone-Alpes region of France

The Rhone-Alpes region in the southwestern part of France is a recently established region having been officially set up in 1980. The region gets its name from two significant landmarks, which are the French Alps and the River Rhone. The borders of the Rhone-Alpes are the French regions of Franche-Comteí and Burgandy to the north, Italy and Switzerland to the east, the regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Cote díAzur to the south and the Auvergne region to the west. There are a total of eight departements in the Rhone-Alpes region including Liore, Savoie, Isere, Rhone, Ain, Drome, Haute-Savoie and Loire. The capital of Rhone-Alpes is Lyon and the regionís major cities include Valence, Grenoble, Annecy and Bourg-en-Bresse.

The history of the Rhone-Alpes region can be traced back to the 6th century BC when the Celts little by little populated the Rhone-Alpes. Unfortunately, these settlers would have to face and endure defeat first from Hannibal who was a Carthagenian general in 218 BC and then the Romans one hundred years later. The new settlers built a number of cities on the edges of the Saone and Rhone rivers and created a series of connected roads and aqueducts in order to bring water to the cities from the mountains. The Roman influence was evident in the architecture through 476 BC when the Roman Empire fell. A great deal of Roman influence can be seen today in the existing architecture as well as in new discoveries. In fact, a relatively new discovery was made in 2003 when construction workers getting ready to build a new parking lot accidentally discovered three Roman barges just 20 feet underneath the surface.

During the Middle Ages, royalty began to have an impact over the Rhone Valley and religion spawned many new abbeys and monasteries throughout the area. The land was sold to the French King in the mid-1300ís by local royalty. During the 15th century, the first firearms were produced in Saint-Etienne and Lyon was given permission to control the manufacturing and selling of silk throughout France. Lyon was a pivotal location during World War II and the activities of the Resistance. A secret army was formed here and the Resistance became an invaluable defense against the enemy.

The success of the economy in the Rhone-Alps region relies heavily on tourism and the activity at its many winter resorts. Visitors can enjoy a number of ski trails and other enjoyable pastimes in resorts likes like Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Chamrousse, Flaine, Morzine, Megeve, Courchevel, Avoriaz and Tignes Val díIsere. Other financial resources in the Rhone-Alpes include oil refining, coal mining, metal manufacturing, synthetic fiber production and even a small sector of agriculture. Lyons and Grenoble boast their own hi-tech industry while the Rhone-Alpes also has vineries like the well known Beaujolais vineyards along with the vineyards along the Cotes du Rhone to make the production of wine an important economical contributor.

The Rhone-Alps region is a transportation center for much of Europe including northern France, Great Britain and other countries. Through the Rhone-Alpes, people can make their way to Spain, Portugal, Italy, the French Rivera and the Mediterranean area.

With such distinguished landmarks forming its name, the Rhone-Alpes region canít help but be striking and spectacular. From the marshlands of the Dombes to the copious farming plain of Bresse, the landscape changes from place to place. While the French Alps remain the most popular resort in the world to visit throughout the year, the Rhone-Alpes region provides far more than skiing and other related activities. The Rhone-Alpes is a region rich in history, beauty and culture.