26 Best Places And Things To Do in Valence, France

Valence is a beautiful city located in the southeastern part of France, known for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant culture. If you’re planning a visit to Valence, here are some of the best places to explore and things to do:

1. Valence Museum of Art and Archaeology

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Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to this impressive museum. It houses a vast collection of art and archaeological artifacts, showcasing works from various periods. From ancient Roman artifacts to contemporary art pieces, the museum offers a fascinating insight into the region’s cultural heritage.

2. Champ de Mars Park

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Enjoy a relaxing afternoon at Champ de Mars Park, a verdant oasis in the heart of Valence. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply unwind amidst the lush greenery. The park also features beautiful flower gardens, fountains, and playgrounds, making it an ideal spot for families.

3. Saint-Ruf Square

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Located in the center of Valence, Saint-Ruf Square is a lively hub that showcases the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Visit the bustling markets held here, offering an array of fresh produce, local specialties, and crafts. It’s the perfect place to sample regional delicacies and immerse yourself in the local culture.

4. Valence Cathedral

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Explore the grandeur of Valence Cathedral, also known as Cathédrale Saint-Apollinaire. This Gothic-style cathedral boasts stunning stained glass windows, intricate sculptures, and a tranquil atmosphere. Climb the bell tower for panoramic views of the city, providing a memorable perspective on Valence’s skyline.

5. Peaugres Safari

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Just a short drive from Valence, Peaugres Safari offers an exciting wildlife experience for all ages. Take a safari tour through the park and witness various animal species in their natural habitat. From lions and giraffes to zebras and elephants, the safari park promises an unforgettable adventure.

6. Musée de Valence

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Discover the history and heritage of Valence at the Musée de Valence. Housed in a former bishop’s palace, the museum offers an extensive collection of artifacts, showcasing the city’s past through archaeological finds, artwork, and historical exhibits.

7. Vercors Regional Nature Park

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Venture outside the city and explore the breathtaking Vercors Regional Nature Park. This natural paradise is characterized by stunning cliffs, deep gorges, and lush forests. Enjoy activities like hiking, rock climbing, and cycling while immersing yourself in the scenic beauty of the area.

8. River Cruise on the Rhône

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Take a leisurely boat cruise along the Rhône River and enjoy picturesque views of Valence from a different perspective. Cruise past vineyards, charming villages, and the stunning landscapes that surround the city.

9. Jardin de Ville

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Enjoy a leisurely walk or find a peaceful spot to relax in Jardin de Ville, the city’s main public garden. This beautifully landscaped park features colorful flowerbeds, shady trees, and a picturesque pond. It’s an ideal place to unwind, have a picnic, or simply soak up the tranquil ambiance.

10. Les Halles Saint-Jean

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Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Les Halles Saint-Jean, Valence’s bustling indoor market. Browse through a wide array of fresh produce, local products, and artisanal goods. From cheese and charcuterie to pastries and wine, this market offers a delightful sensory experience.

11. Saint-Apollinaire Church

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Marvel at the architectural beauty of Saint-Apollinaire Church, a Romanesque gem situated in the heart of Valence. Admire its impressive bell tower and intricate stone carvings. Step inside to appreciate the serene atmosphere and the magnificent organ, which is often the centerpiece of musical performances.

12. Street Art

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Valence boasts a thriving street art scene, with captivating murals adorning its walls. Take a self-guided tour to discover these vibrant artworks scattered throughout the city. From colorful graffiti to large-scale murals, Valence’s street art adds a modern and creative touch to its urban landscape.

13. Les Canaux de Valence

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Embark on a leisurely boat ride along the canals of Valence, known as “les canaux.” Explore the city from a unique perspective as you glide past picturesque bridges, charming houses, and hidden corners. It’s a relaxing and scenic way to discover Valence’s lesser-known gems.

14. Collégiale Saint-Barnard

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Visit the Collégiale Saint-Barnard, a magnificent Gothic church in the heart of Valence. Admire its intricate stained glass windows, towering spires, and ornate vaulted ceilings. The church’s historical and architectural significance make it a must-visit for enthusiasts of religious and cultural heritage.

15. Le Train de l’Ardèche

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Embark on a nostalgic journey aboard Le Train de l’Ardèche, a vintage steam train that takes you through the picturesque landscapes of the Ardèche region. Departing from Valence, the train ride offers breathtaking views of vineyards, forests, and charming villages, providing a unique way to explore the surrounding countryside.

16. Le Parc Jouvet

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Discover a tranquil oasis in the heart of Valence at Le Parc Jouvet. This expansive park offers lush green spaces, picturesque walking paths, and serene ponds. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll, a picnic with family or friends, or even a peaceful moment of meditation amidst nature.

17. La Cité du Chocolat Valrhona

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For chocolate lovers, a visit to La Cité du Chocolat Valrhona is a must. Located just outside Valence in Tain-l’Hermitage, this interactive chocolate museum allows you to learn about the history of chocolate, explore the chocolate-making process, and indulge in tastings of high-quality chocolates.

18. Les Berges du Rhône

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Take a leisurely walk or bike ride along Les Berges du Rhône, the riverside promenade that stretches along the Rhône River. Enjoy the scenic views, breathe in the fresh air, and soak up the peaceful ambiance. The promenade is also dotted with cafes and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy a meal with a view.

19. Théâtre de la Ville

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If you’re interested in performing arts, catch a show at the Théâtre de la Ville. This cultural venue hosts a diverse range of performances, including theater, dance, music, and comedy. Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Valence and experience the talent of local and international artists.

20. Les Tanneries

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Explore the artistic hub of Les Tanneries, a former tannery complex that has been transformed into a vibrant cultural space. This creative quarter is home to art galleries, studios, and exhibition spaces, showcasing the works of local artists and hosting regular art events and exhibitions. Immerse yourself in Valence’s contemporary art scene and discover innovative artistic expressions.

21. Les Coteaux de l’Hermitage

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Embark on a scenic wine tour of Les Coteaux de l’Hermitage, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed vineyard landscape. Discover the terraced vineyards that cling to the hillsides and visit wineries where you can sample the acclaimed wines produced in this picturesque region. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Rhône River and the surrounding countryside as you savor the flavors of the terroir.

22. Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval

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Venture outside Valence and visit the Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval, located in the village of Hauterives. This extraordinary architectural masterpiece was built by postman Ferdinand Cheval, who spent over 30 years constructing a dream-like palace using stones he collected during his daily mail delivery rounds. Explore the whimsical sculptures and intricate details of this unique and awe-inspiring creation.

23. Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors

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If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors. This vast natural park is a haven for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and skiing during the winter months. Immerse yourself in the pristine beauty of the rugged cliffs, deep gorges, and dense forests that characterize this protected area.

24. Festivals and Events

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Valence hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, providing a chance to experience the city’s vibrant cultural scene. From music festivals to art exhibitions, street performances, and local fairs, there’s always something happening in Valence. Check the event calendar to see if any festivities coincide with your visit and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the city.

25. Old Town (Vieux Valence)

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Start your journey by strolling through the charming streets of the Old Town. This historic area is filled with well-preserved medieval buildings, narrow alleys, and cozy squares. Take in the architectural beauty of the Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral and visit the Maison des Têtes, a Renaissance mansion adorned with intricate sculptures.

26. Champ de Mars Park

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Enjoy a relaxing afternoon at Champ de Mars Park, a verdant oasis in the heart of Valence. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply unwind amidst the lush greenery. The park also features beautiful flower gardens, fountains, and playgrounds, making it an ideal spot for families.