This was the main station of the city of Valence until the creation of a high-speed train station recently. So now you can just take the regional or regular speed national trains here. The TGV goes to the modern station, but here you can go to Marseille or Lyon. The advantage of it over the TGV is the price - even if you buy your ticket at the last minute, you'll pay the same price as you normally would. A high speed train to Lyon takes half an hour and costs 25 euros, while the normal train takes an hour and costs 15. There are a few of the normal facilities - lockers, restaurants, etc - at the station.
Parc Jouvet is the largest park in Valence, has 7 acres, and it is free to access. Next door is the field of Marte, from which you can see the park from above. There are several fountains by the flowerbeds, it is typically symmetrical and orderly in the French style. Then at the bottom, on the banks of the Rhone, the garden changes to a freer, English style. The city of Valence bought the land in the early twentieth century and, with the financial support of Jouvet, a businessman ve donated most of the funds, they constructed a public garden. It was opened to the public in 1905 and the president of the republic attended! There are several old buildings, a small botanical garden. It is a very nice park, and more than 800 different trees and plants can be seen here. Depending on the seasons, it is closed between 17h30 and 20h.
You can find the monumental fountain on Bancel Boulevard in the center of Valence. The architect Poitoux designed and built it in 1887. At this time the city was developing, and a fountain was needed for the health of the inhabitants. Earlier this place had a fountain with a statue of liberty breaking through its chains, but it was destroyed during the Second Empire. This fountain has a genie with wings and a mirror in his hand, but this was destroyed in 1954 because a storm had damaged it. The fountain was renovated in 2005 and moved a little, to put it in the perspective with the new pedestrian boulevard. They put the genie back above the central column. The fountain is built with Echaillon stones, Chomérac lime stone and Crussol stone, from villages around Valence.
Le Grand Cafe is a lovely cafe down the Boulevard Bancel when you go from the center of Valence. It has a terrace on the street corner Felix Faure. It is very nice to eat outside. There is space and not much traffic. Music is a bit loud if you go for a chat. The daily set menu costs 12.50 euros, or a dish for 8.50 euros. There are many dishes of pasta and ravioli, with original sauces. The place has been open for over 150 years. Changed some names, to return to "Le Grand Café". From the top level, you can see the city. There are private rooms where you can celebrate with friends, and a terrace. There is a good selection of beers, with some of the region you cannot find elsewhere.
It's a great historic downtown square of Valence, split in two with a garden - dead end that passes between the buildings of the City Theatre and Town Hall in Valence. Around is a small supermarket, and the pedestrian part of town, with all its shops. Most shops close at six o'clock in this small city centre. The theater, and also a couple of restaurants that have a terrace generate a lively atmosphere. The low houses, with bright colors and tile roofs recall the Provençal houses.
Pole Bus is the main bus station in Valence. It is located near the Place Leclerc, five minutes walk from the old town. All lines have a stop here. It is a place where only buses can go and pretty easy to locate. The train station is less than 10 minutes walk away. The Pole Bus is fully accessible to wheelchairs, and you can click a button that gives you the information by voice if you can not read the screens. Buses run daily, the coming and Saturday until 11 pm on weekdays until eight-thirty. The fare costs 1.20 euros, and weekly passes are young.
Place de la Pierre is a small square in the historic center of Valence. It is charming with ancient trees giving shade. You can have a snack in one of the small shops and restaurants with terraces. it is nice and they are quite cheap. The old building in the background seems to be a school or town hall. The square has to be very nice in summer when the trees bloom. It is a lively place until 11 pm, but then the restaurants close, as in the rest of the city, there is much celebration in Valence, apart from a couple of places.
This place at the end of St. James's Street is the old Temple Saint Ruf. During the French Revolution, many of the temples and religious buildings were converted into public places to store ammunition or to hold political meetings. This particular temple was occupied by the brotherhood "Friends of the Constitution". Napoleon Bonaparte, the future emperor, was the secretary of this organization. Looking inside, you can see a relic of the heart of General Championnet. The Championnet statue is close to Jouvet Park. It was he, ve died in 1800, ve replaced Napoleon in the campaigns of Italy. This now Protestant temple is sometimes open to visitors.
This small street in the historic center of Valence is called a "square" because it has a 90 degree angle. It begins on the Chapeliers slope and ends at the Place Saint Jean, where there is a church. It is a quiet place where the old family residence of Laurencin is located. Napoleon Bonaparte, then a young student at the military school of Valence, dated the daughter of this family and recalls his visits to this house in his memoirs. The street also hosts other old houses and its cobbles are no longer straight, so it is like a journey into the past when you enter the square. It is part of a Napoleon tour organized by the tourist office.
This house, located at number 35 Farnerie Street, is behind the theater of Valence. It is the old Montalivet private family home. Jean-Pierre de Montalivet, dubbed simply Montalivet, lived in Valence for a short period of time, before becoming interior minister to Napoleon Bonaparte, between 1809 and 1814. At this time, the French empire was twice the size of France today, and it was a very important position where Montalivet developed transport and communication routes, and participated in the renovation of Paris. The Arc de Triomphe is an example of that. The house where he lived in Valence was visited by Napoleon Bonaparte repeatedly. It is part of the points of interest from a historical tour of Napoleon.
This old house is located at 15, Madier of Montjau Street, and was once the Écu de France hostel, run by a young man called Faure. Napoleon Bonaparte held several events here, and Faure mentions them in his memoirs. For instance, on December 4, 1785, there was the celebration of the patron saint of artillery, and a memorable feast took place. Now the building retains its old-world charm, and is in a beautiful medieval home with a slightly-raised floor so that horses could enter central courtyard. The first floor is the noble apartments, while the second is where the hostel staff stays. The hostel has been replaced by several shops and a beauty parlor.
Located in La Place de Liberte in the historic city centre, the town hall of Valence is also known as the Hotel de Ville. It's a nice building of the late XIX and early XX centuries, which is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm, presumably for official business, but you can go check out the central courtyard. Opened in 1894, it has a beautiful classical facade and colourful roof tiles that takes away its official appearance and gives it a more human touch. The belfry is on top, which is like a bell tower, but secular. Previously only the churches had a watch and could tell citizens the time. Gradually belfries came to symbolize the citizens' independence form the church.
The house is located at number 3 Vernoux street. The young Napoleon Bonaparte the then military school student with no money, came to eat small buns with meat made by Couriol, the patissier, each day. It is part of the Napoleon Bonaparte route organized by the tourist office of Valence. The great poet Louis Le Cardonnel was also born here on February 25, 1860, dying in the city of Avignon where lays the relic of his heart. It is a historical monument in the center of Valence, behind the street of the theater.
The tourist office of Valence is on Bancel Boulevard, near the historic center. From the office, there are two touristic walks through the city, one on the general heritage of the city, which will take a half day cover, and which is indicated by signs. The other on the buildings of interest related to Napoleon Bonaparte, which is followed by copper nails on the ground, and it takes about two or three hours to complete. The office has enough information of hotels and restaurants, but can not recommend anything, but just can tell you which place will match your budget. There is also information about the region, places around the area like the beautiful canals a bit outside the center, and the Ideal Palace which was built by a postman in the last century. It is worth a visit if you have a car.
The museum is on par with the Valence Cathedral in the Plaza Des Ormeaux. It is a beautiful building which is being renovated at the moment. The museum will therefor be closed for the time being. It contains a large collection of archaeological objects that are witness to prehistoric life in the region. There are tools, art, ceramics, bones and remains of prehistoric people. The other part of the museum is dedicated to fine art, paintings, drawings and sculptures from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. It contains some interesting works of Italian artists and Valence region. In addition, temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
The Place Saint Jean hosts a church of the same name in the historic city centre. The square is quiet, and with its bell tower and the surrounding coloured houses, it gives me the impression of Provence, not the south of Lyon. The square has a market that takes place under a metal structure all year. The square is sometimes used for concerts and cultural events as well. The are a few restaurants with terraces within it. It is one of the most beautiful squares of the city.
This statue is located at the middle of Championnet square. It is a tribute to Championnet, a French army general who lived between 1762 and 1800. He was a Republican Army major general in Italy who won several battles, one of which at Garigliano. he also conquered the city of Naples in 1799, one year before his death. He also participated in the French Revolution in 1789. He was sent to Spain and then to Italy. He was a prisoner of war, released by the Jacobins in 1799 but died of an illness shortly thereafter. The statue is next to the Champ de Mars in Valence, his birthplace.
Are you planning to visit Valence? Great! There are many things to see in Valence. This French municipality is located in the Rhone-Alpes, and there are tons of things to do in Valence. The historic center is, among the many places to visit in Valence, one of the most interesting. On Rue Championnet, for example, you'll find the House of Heads, which dates from the 16th century, as well as a former inn where it is said that Napoleon once slept. You can continue your visit past one of the oldest buildings in the city, the House of Couriol, at 3 Rue Vernoux. In this place, the pastry chef Couriol started a business where the young Napoleon Bonaparte, then a student without any money at military school, came to eat small buns with meat every day. It's part of the route of the Napoleon Bonaparte, which has been organized by the tourist office of Valence.
Another of the many attractions in Valence within the old town is the statue of Championnet, a general in the French army who lived between 1762 and 1800. Art lovers shouldn't miss the Museum of Valence, home to the most artistic Valence attractions. There's a large collection of archaeological objects that were found in the region. The collection includes tools, art, ceramics, bones, and remains of prehistoric people. And to unwind a bit, there's nothing better than a walk in Jouvet Park, one of the most pleasant Valence activities. The park is actually the largest in the city.
If you want to know a little more about the stuff to do in Valence, visit Minube where you can see the favorite spots of fellow travellers who have visited the city. On minube you can learn more about what to do in Valence.