Valence is a small city situated along the Rhône River in the Drôme district of France. Valence is seen as a commuter town for people working in Montpellier to the south and Lyon to the north, although it has plenty to recommend it as a tourist destination. The national tourism body for France gave Valence a four-star rating, but what can you do there? In Valence, you can explore the olive trees, see one of the country’s oldest and most notable cathedrals, learn about how industry changed the face of the city and explore some of the sights alongside the Rhône. It’s possible that, from Valence, you could sail downstream towards the French Riviera during a lazy summer afternoon.
For driving in the centre of Valence and parking in a tight space, a small car is an absolute must if you want to get around on four wheels without too many problems.
Driving in Valence
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
To the south of the city where the N7 connects with the A7, there is a complex set of roundabouts which you need to navigate.
The A7 motorway is the main route going north and south of Valence. Traffic tends to be heavy on this road during weekday mornings and evenings.
Traffic around the TGV high-speed rail station can be heavy during rush-hours too due to the large number of commuters.
Highlights & Hotspots
Arguably the finest landmark in Valence is the Cathedral of St Apollinaris (Cathédrale Saint-Apollinaire de Valence). Rebuilt in the 11th century, its most notable feature is its Romanesque-style apse, while it also hosts the monument of Pius VI.
Another site of note is the former palace of Ferdinand Cheval, a postman who built the home from scratch in the town of Hauterives. The Palais Idéal has numerous spires and intricacies which are worth taking a few pictures of.
Something else you should see when visiting Valence is the Esplanade Champ de Mars. Set in the city’s main public square, this bandstand-cum-monument is a good place to go people-watching, while it’s spectacular to look at during night-time.
A few miles outside Valence is the Tour de Crest, an imposing vestige of the castle in the town of Crest. The tower is one of Europe’s tallest, standing 171 feet tall. From the tower, you can look out over Crest and large parts of the surrounding countryside.
Valence TGV station is situated on the mainline connecting the south of France with Paris. The station is located on Rue Denis Papin and can be reached via the D533 from the west. You can catch trains to Paris and other major cities in France at least once an hour at peak times.
The nearest airport from Valence is Grenoble-Is?®re Airport, which is 30 miles northeast of the city centre. It can be reached via the A49, going onto the A48 and then the D119 going west.