Located along the banks of the Rhône River, a mere 20 miles south of the ancient city of Lyon, the beautiful French commune of Vienne boasts a rich history dating back to 47 BC, when it was a Roman colony under Julius Caesar. As such, visitors staying at Vienne hotels can easily spot the Roman influence on the town center with its Roman Theater—the second largest in the country—the ruins at Cybele Garden, and a temple built in honor of the infamous emperor Augustus.
If you’re staying at a hotel in Vienne near the river, you’ll be able to see one of the largest Roman-era archaeological sites in France, the ancient city of Saint-Romain-en-Gal. Around town, there are also a host of ancient cathedrals and basilicas, including the Romanesque basilica of St. Peter, the Gothic cathedral of St. Maurice—which features a lovely terrace facing the river—and the church of St. André en Bas, used by the early kings of Provence.
What to See in Vienne
Book a Vienne cheap hotel near the theater in the center of town and saunter up the hill of Le Mont Pipet, from which you'll enjoy the best views of the city and the river. From Poitiers, the largest area in Vienne, take the kids to the nearby Futuroscope theme park, tour the Roman ruins at Sanxay, explore the medieval city of Chauvigny, and take photos of the Saint-Savin Abbey—a World Heritage Site often referred to as the Romanesque Sistine Chapel. And after a long day of touring and sightseeing, settle in to a wonderful dinner at one of the charming cafes around Place de Miremont, a great place to breathe in the aura of central France.