Rhone Valley

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Rhone Valley Money-Saving Tips

Nous Allons!

Since efficient buses, high-speed trains, and budget flights are increasingly popular, renting a car is not mandatory, though it’s still the best way to explore the region with ease and independence. The Lyon airport is the best bet for weekend car rental deals.

Avoid summer crowds

Though France can be inundated with tourists throughout the year, this part of the country is much less crowded during the shoulder and low seasons. If you’re caught in high season, try to veer from guidebook itineraries and iconic tourist sights during the weekends. Early mornings and dinner hours are great times to hit the sights if you want to avoid crowds and get the most out of your visit.

Hotel alternatives

Renting a gites (apartment) is a way to get more deeply involved with the locals, avoid tourists, and save money. Two companies that provide exceptional property rentals are Gites De France (www.gites-de-france-rhone.com) and Le Vacances En France (www.les-vacances-en-france.com).

Parlez-Vous Francais?

More than anywhere else on earth, speaking the language in France opens doors. It will not only help gain you access to a new level of the culture, but will ensure you fit in with locals. No matter how well you speak, your pronunciation will be corrected, but it’s a small price to pay to see the smiling faces of locals excited to see you embrace their heritage.

Slow down

Don’t rush through your meals or drinks to get to an event or sight. Often times, especially here in the food-driven Rhone, the meal is the event or sight. Sip your coffee slowly, savor your food, and perfect the art of flânerie (experiencing the small things around you by strolling) and you’ll be one step closer to channeling that certain je ne sais quais the locals seem to embody.

Tipping

Don’t obsess about tipping. Making up for lack of savoir faire by plunking down an extra euro or two on the table is a sure sign of a desperate yank tourist. If you’re at a café and service is of note, round up to the closest Euro. Fine dining establishments may merit a higher tip, starting at 15%.

Vienne Jazz Fest

Each year in June, a massive two-week jazz festival is held in the Roman amphitheaters of Vienne.

Fete de la Musique

Also known as World Music Day, this beautiful countrywide festival is held in June on the Summer Solstice. The streets of most cities, particularly Lyon and Paris, fill with musicians of all genres who play into the wee hours of the night.

Le Nuits de Fourviere

This famed summer event features an eclectic lineup of dance, music, and theatre held in the two Roman amphitheatres of Fourvière. Past performers have included Bob Dylan and Patti Smith.

Sarmentelles de Beaujeu

On the third Wednesday of November, the first Beaujolais wine of the year is released at midnight amid a great festival attended by wine critics, oenophiles, and locals alike.

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