Itinerary: Passion for gastronomy & creation – Dijon, Clermont-Ferrand, Saint-Etienne, Grenoble & Annecy

Press release

Route Description

The unforgettable gastronomic, oenological and creative-arts experiences are the high points for many visitors to France. This diverse quartet of cities delivers all that and more.

Dijon sets the senses ablaze and satisfies deep cravings. Yes, that’s mustard, the city’s famous food product. Yes, those are wines from the world’s most celebrated vineyards. And yes, those are shop-filled streets and sunny plazas bristling with medieval and Renaissance buildings packed with art and past political intrigue. Learn more about Dijon

Positioned near an astonishing natural area cluttered with extinct volcanoes, Clermont-Ferrand seems hewn out of volcanic rock. Some of it is, like its main cathedral. That it’s France’s capital of rock music (“France’s Liverpool”) seems apropos too. Another rock of the community: the Michelin tire company, which was founded here. Learn more about Clermont-Ferrand

The triplet passions of culture, design and football might seem like an odd mix, but Saint-Etienne makes it work. The unifying element is community: community rallied around festivals, art and architecture; community support of the UNESCO Creative City of Design status; and loud community passion for the local soccer team. Learn more about Saint-Etienne

Grenoble offers the best of two worlds: dramatic mountain highs in a temperate low valley; cutting-edge industry in rich natural surroundings; and a deserved reputation for adrenaline-pumping sports (it’s 50 years since it hosted the 1968 Winter Olympics) in a place that delivers all the promise of low-impact holidays. Learn more about Genoble

Sometimes known as “Venice of the Alps”, Annecy's old town is traversed by a river and three canals, all spanned by numerous bridges. They create a truly special atmosphere, enhanced by Lake Annecy, action-packed nature right nearby (paragliding, anyone?!) and important cultural attractions like an island-bound “palace” and renovated castle. Learn more about Annecy

Along the Way

Between Dijon and Clermont-Ferrand

  • Centre National du Costume de Scène: a center dedicated to the performing arts, set costumes for the theater and painted scenery

Between Clermont-Ferrand and Saint-Etienne

  • Le Puy-en-Velay: city known for lace-making, its cathedral (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and as a pilgrimage departure point on the Way of Saint James (Camino de Santiago)

  • Vichy: famous for contemporary spas and resorts, but just as beautiful for its surrounding nature

Between Saint-Etienne and Grenoble

  • Safari de Peaugres: a safari park with 800 animals representing 120 species

Between Grenoble and Annecy

  • • Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse: regional park of forests and alpine meadows surrounding the Chartreuse Mountains, a great place for hiking, spelunking and drinking locally produced Chartreuse liqueurs

  • • Lac du Bourget: mountain-bordered lake – the largest natural one in France – alongside the popular spa resort town of Aix-les-Bains

How to Cover the Route

Approximate shortest-path road distances between cities Approximate shortest train/bus travel times between cities
Dijon ↔ Clermont-Ferrand
187 miles 4 h 40 min (minimum 2 trains)
Clermont-Ferrand ↔ Saint-Etienne 90 miles 1 h 45 min (bus)
Saint-Etienne ↔ Grenoble 93 miles 2 h 30 min (minimum 2 trains)
Grenoble ↔ Annecy 66 miles 1 h 45 min (train)

Except for the first leg, the distances between cities are not great, and there are numerous attractions both in the city environs and along the way. This route therefore lends itself to driving. This is especially the case given the poor train connection between Dijon and Clermont-Ferrand and buses.