Valence is a commune in southeastern France, the capital of the Drôme department and within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It is situated on the left bank of the Rhône, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) south of Lyon, along the railway line that runs from Paris to Marseille. Its inhabitants are called Valentinois.
Located in the heart of the Rhone corridor, Valence is often referred to as “the door to the South of France”, the local saying à Valence le Midi commence (“at Valence the Midi begins”) pays tribute to the city’s southern culture. Between Vercors and Provence, its geographical location attracts many tourists. In addition, the Valence agglomeration is equipped with a marina, a trading port, two railway stations and an airport. Its business is essentially turned towards the sectors of agriculture, metallurgy, engineering and electronics.
Communication and transport
The central railway station of Valence is the Gare de Valence-Ville, located just south of the town centre. The station offers connections to Lyon, Grenoble, Avignon, Gap and several regional destinations.
A bikesharing scheme called Libélo started in March 2010, offering 200 bicycles for long-term hire and 180 for short-term hire, in 18 locations around the city. Charges are collected by smart card or credit card.
The bridges of Valence
During antiquity, the existence of a bridge providing, as in Vienne, the link between the two shores, is likely. Indeed, as early as 1388, the toponym “Pont Péri” [Péri Bridge] is carried by a sector of the quarter of Basse-Ville lying in the extension of the east-west axis of the ancient city. In addition, A. Blanc would have discovered, still in this same extension, piles of oak, closer perhaps to a pier. He also mentioned the “tour de Constance” [Constance Tower], on the Valence shore, a construction already known in the Middle Ages and which bore all the floods of the Rhône. In any case, the existence of a link between the two banks is in no doubt and a crossing point could even have existed at the site of Valence from the prehistoric time. Whether or not that existed, this ancient bridge was not replaced until the nineteenth century.
The different successive bridges of Valence, in chronological order, are:
- The Seguin Bridge,
- The stone bridge,
- The Frédéric Mistral Bridge,
- The Lônes Bridge
The region has a bus network called Citéa which covers the Valence agglomeration and the romano-peageoise town.
The Oura! card is a transport document which consists of a smartcard which allows not only to travel on any Citéa network, but also to combine travel with other modes of transport in the region such as the TER Rhône-Alpes, networks of transit of Saint Etienne, Grenoble or Lyon, or even rent-a-bike in free service.
Valence has two SNCF railway stations:
- Gare de Valence-Ville. It is the point of departure of the trains in the direction of Grenoble, Chambéry, Annecy and Geneva. Valence-Ville railway station was also the origin of the relationship which serves Livron, Crest, Die, Veynes-Dévoluy, Gap, Embrun and Briançon.
- Gare de Valence TGV. Valence TGV station rail connections regularly connect to 35 cities, including Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Lille, Nice, Montpellier, Nantes, Le Havre, Reims, Avignon, Besançon, Strasbourg, Dijon and Brussels
Valence-Chabeuil Airport, located in the commune of Chabeuil. It is open to commercial national traffic, to private aircraft.
Grenoble-Isère Airport is located 80 kilometres (50 mi) north-east of Valence and offers flights to several European cities including London, Bristol, Dublin, Rotterdam and Warsaw.
Since 28 March 2010, the city has a system of self-service rent-a-bike and long-term hire called Libélo.
Valence has two hospitals, a public and a private. Many health professionals are installed on the commune, including 58 physicians, 67 nurses, 80 physiotherapists.
- Central Hospital of Valence. It includes all clinical specialties (medicine, Oncology, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, psychiatry, care and rehabilitation, long stay, etc.).
- Drôme Ardèche Private Hospital.
Local culture and heritage
Sites and monuments
- Vieux Valence,
- Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral,
- The Maison des Têtes,
- The Museum of Fine Arts of Valence,
- The Pendentif de Valence,
- The Maison du Drapier,
- The Maison de la Pra,
- The Maison Dupré-Latour, etc.
- 10 collèges (Paul-Valery, Camille-Vernet, Sainte-Anne, Jean-Zay, etc.)
- 6 vocational lycées (La Providence, Victor-Hugo, etc.)
- 1 lycée of technical training (Jules-Algoud industrial lycée)
- 1 tertiary versatile lycée
- 1 industrial technology lycée
- Montplaisir Catholic private lycée
The city of Valence is now developing its high level educational role in the Drôme/Ardèche area. The Site de Valence is part of the Community Grenoble Alpes University (formerly UJF, UPMF, including the Institut universitaire de technologie, and Stendhal). Valence is also home to the INPG engineering school (ESISAR). Many other and more specialized schools are also located in Valence.
The industries of the city include metallurgical products, textiles, leather goods, jewelry and munitions, and it also serves as a processing and trade centre for the surrounding agricultural region.
Some of the big hi-tech companies settled here are leaders in their domains like Thales (Former Thomson-CSF, electronic systems for avionics and defence), Crouzet/Schneider (Automatic systems), SAGEM (former Alcatel space (Aerospatial systems)), Ascom Monetel (Automatic paytax systems), etc.
Cultural events and festivities
- Valence fête le printemps [Valence spring festival]: Celebrating agricultural productions
- Boulevards de chines [Boulevard of china]: Flea markets and antiques
- Festival de Valence [Festival of Valence]: Free concerts in the city
- Les Féeries d’Hiver [Winter extravaganza]: Show and Fireworks
- The Suisse, a Valence specialty, is a shortcrust pastry biscuit shaped as a man. Sometimes improperly referred to as “Puppet”, the Suisse of Valence is flavoured with orange blossom, it contains powder almond and small pieces of candied orange peel.
- The Dragée de Valence is a confection of praline or of chocolate coated in sugar made in the purest tradition, to celebrate the solemn events of life such as baptisms, communions and weddings.
- Masashi Ijishi, chef of La Cachette (one star in the Michelin Guide).