If you’re looking for a base from which to visit the Rhône Valley’s famous wineries, look no further than Tournon-sur-Rhône, a tiny French town on the banks of the Rhône River, in the heart of the Rhone Valley. From here, you can easily visit many of the region’s most famous wineries and even take a tour of a world famous chocolate museum! Read on to hear more about this highly underrated French wine region, and Hotel de la Villeon, the luxury boutique hotel in town that you don’t want to miss.
Hotel de la Villeon: A Luxury Boutique Hotel in the Heart of the Rhone Valley
Tournon-sur-Rhône is a mere 1 hour drive or train ride south from Lyon, the capital of France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and your main port of entry into the Rhône Valley – one of France’s most famous wine regions.
Upon arriving in Tournon-sur-Rhône, head straight to the Hotel de la Villeon, a luxurious old mansion that’s been converted into a premiere boutique hotel. From the outside, the hotel has a clean and simple facade with an antique front door. Once inside, the building opens up and out in an ever expanding format revealing a luxurious historic mansion that is several stories high.
It’s a small hotel, with twelve guest rooms and four suites. With traditional elegance, there are gilded chandeliers and wooden floorboards in the hallways, a drawing room with a marble fireplace, and a stone staircase with a cast-iron banister.
Historic Rooms & Decor
My room had a vaulted ceiling with lovely old fashioned moldings, antique hardwood floors, and a carved fireplace. The bathroom had modern finishings, high quality toiletries and a walk-in rain shower. I also had a small antique writing desk, and a seating area from which to gaze out to the small outdoor courtyard adjacent to the bar.
The second floor of the Hotel de la Villeon has a cozy bar with non-alcoholic welcome drinks (and alcoholic ones for purchase) and an original water well (no longer in use) which was once the source of freshwater for the residents of the mansion. Breakfast is served in a beautiful dining room with a lovely selection of breads and pastries, cheeses and meats, juices and coffee.
Perhaps the best kept secret of this boutique hotel is the hotel’s expansive two story gardens with views of the vine-covered hills rising up in the distance. The main floor has a minimalist wine cellar housed in the building’s one-time stables in which you can book private wine tastings.
Need to Know
Please note that during low season the Hotel de la Villeon closes for two days of the week, so if you’re hoping to extend your stay during such days, or store your luggage late into the day, you will be unable to do so. The staff leaves and locks the building. Afterall, staff need vacation time too!
Getting There and Away
The best way to access the hotel is with your own car, since the bus station (which connects with the train station in a nearby community) is only walkable if you do not have large suitcases with you. Taxis are exorbitantly priced (20 euros one way for a 5 minute trip). And besides, you’ll want a car to head to the region’s many famous wineries for tastings of Côtes du Rhône and more!
For international tourists, the Rhône Valley is still relatively undiscovered. Get there before the secret is out!
What to do in and around Tournon-sur-Rhône
If a car is not a possibility for you, there are still easily accessible activities within walking distance from the hotel. I particularly enjoyed the Valhrona Chocolate Museum (La Cite du Chocolat) recommended by the hotel staff, as well as the several renowned local wineries. The hotel recommended Cave de Tain and even called over for me to arrange a complimentary tasting. The young lady assisting me was a wealth of knowledge and I thoroughly enjoyed my wine tasting with her. I also enjoyed the well known Chapoutier Tasting Room which has delicious complimentary tastings. Chapoutier has free walking tours of the vineyards which run intermittently throughout the day.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Hotel de la Villeon. It’s an historic, unique and sophisticated property, and a perfect base from which to explore one of France’s best wine regions!
As always, enjoy yourself! Tournon-Sur-Rhône certainly didn’t disappoint!~Eileen Rhein from @lighttravelsfaster