Visit Belley (Rhone-Alpes, France)
The town of Belley is towards the southern border of the Ain department in the Rhone-Alps, north-west of Chambery.
The heart of Belley is focussed around the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist and Place des Terreaux, and the adjacent side-streets, and it is here that you can see the most interesting buildings, with some of the houses dating back as far as the 15th century and having interesting architectural features such as arcades and external staircases.
Particular highlights include the 18th century Episcopal Palace (Rue des Cordeliers), and a couple of grand townhouses such as the 18th century Hotel Dallemagne (Boulevard de Verdun) and the 16th century Hotel du Bailliage (Grande Rue), which now holds the Belley Tourist Office.
The Cathedral of Saint-John in Belley dates from the middle of the 19th century, having been built to replace an earlier (12th - 16th century) cathedral that had been damaged during the revolution and then further damaged by an earthquake in the early 19th century.
The cathedral is neo-gothic in style and only retains very small parts of the original building (part of the choir and a part of the original cathedral entrance). The main facade is dominated by a central square tower and a statue of Saint-John the Baptist.
The most interesting aspect of the cathedral is the interior, richly decorated with paintings and frescoes. There is also an 18th century statue of the Virgin Mary, which was apparently left undamaged during the revolution because the revolutionaries thought it looked more like a classical statue, perhaps representing the 'goddess of reason', than a statue of the Virgin.
Be sure not to leave before you have tried the highly reputed local cheese, the Tome de Belley.
In the small Rothonne Forest, just south of Belley, you can follow one of the marked trails through the woodland.
The countryside around Belley, halfway between the Rhone and the Jura mountains, has numerous lakes, woodlands, waterfalls and valleys to explore with cycling, walking, fishing and canoeing among the popular activities.
Photos taken within 10 km
Address: Belley, Ain, Rhone-Alpes, 1300 || GPS: latitude 45.766667, longitude 5.683333
Map of Belley & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Belley, France
- Aquarium du Lac du Bourget - aquarium (18km)
- Walibi Rhone Alpes - theme park (18km)
- Les jardins du Prieuré - remarkable garden (19km)
- Morestel - ville fleurie 4* (20km)
- Aix-les-Bains - ville fleurie 4* (20km)
- Nances - ville fleurie 4* (22km)
- Chambery - secteur sauvegarde (29km)
- Gorges du Fier - site of natural beauty (31km)
- Saint-Vulbas - ville fleurie 4* (31km)
- Cremieu - recommended detour (34km)
Market days in Belley: Regular market(s) are held in Belley each Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Belley (Francais)