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The Drome Provencale region
Getting off the train in Lyon, it is recommmended that you rent a car and drive down to the French Riviera so as to discover the countryside spanning this part of France. The Drome Provencale region, spanning the very northern part of the provence, is full of charm.
While the weather, blue skies and French way of life have nothing to envy by the Riviera, this region has conserved its authentic French rural provence charm as opposed to the touristically transformed French Riviera. The Marsanne Valley near Montelimar is particularly charming with endless fields of van Gogh-style sunflowers contrasting with the bright purple color of the lavender fiels in a background of a perfectly azure sky. The nature and villages are untouched and authentic. The numerous little villages around Montelimar offer endless and very reasonably-priced dinner options on terraces beneath the plantane trees. The wines from this Rhone valley are also stunning and cheap.
Sightseeing options are endless. Rent a bike or a car and wander through the villages of the Marsanne valley. Many of them promote local arts, crafts, produce and customs, whether via local fairs and festivals or galleries and boutiques.
Avignon borders the southern part of la Drome Provencale and is also highly recommended - a marvelous city once home to popes.