Popular as a base from which to explore the north of Provence, Valence is an attractive French city with plenty of appeal. It's a culinary hotspot, where the region's fine wines mix with home-cooked ratatouille and delicous pasta soups to satisfy even the most demanding foodie. And it's a laid-back historical city with a walkable old town, enjoyable museums, and over a thousand years of stories to tell. Most visitors to Valence will pass through the city's major train station Valence Ville at some stage. So it's really useful to know exactly how to reach the station from the most popular parts of town.
Valence city center is generally thought of as the region around the city hall (Mairie de Valence), and the Place de la Liberte. Luckily, that's very close to the train station Valence Ville, making transfers to onward train journeys very simple. From the city hall, travelers have a choice of catching a taxi, or walking to the station. Either option works well, with flat terrain and hardly any distance between the central square and the station entrance. Those staying in the popular Bourg-les-Valence neighborhood can also reach the station by taxi. If travelers are at the city's out-of-town TGV station, the best transfer option is probably via train, although SNCF buses may also be available. Finally, the closest airport is Alpes-Isere Airport. The best transfer option for these travelers is definitely hailing a taxi, as no train or bus connections exist.
Valence Ville Station is extremely close to the center of Valence. In fact, the Place de la Liberte, Valence Cathedral, Valence Museum, the Maison des Têtes, and the Abbey of Saint-Ruf are within 200-300 yards/meters of the station doors. This means that virtually all passengers can walk to the train station Valence Ville, and that taxi journeys will be very short - usually around 5 minutes at most. The Bourg-les-Valence district is 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) to the north, and taxis from there will usually reach Valence Ville Station in 10-15 minutes. Then there are popular attractions in the nearby area. For example, the Jardin Train Ardechois is 25 minutes from Valence Ville via the number 12 bus, while the Gorges des Doux velorail is 22 miles (35 kilometers away). Taxis run from there to the station in 40 minutes. The Valence TGV Station is about six miles (10 kilometers) north-east of the city center. Direct rail links take just eight minutes to run from there to Valence Ville, while buses will take 25 minutes. Travelers who need to reach Valence Ville from Alpes-Isere Airport will face a 50 mile (75 kilometer) journey, and taxi rides of 40-60 minutes.
Although Valence Ville was constructed in the 19th century, it has been thoroughly modernized, and now provides an excellent level of accessibility for travelers with limited mobility. When they need to travel to a train from Valence city center, disabled travelers can expect deployable access ramps, toilets, height-adapted ticket offices, and attentive staff. SNCF (which runs the station) can also provide a personal helper if required, and requests must be submitted at least 48 hours in advance of departures. The rest of Valence is less well-adapted to the needs of disabled travelers. There are few buses, so wheelchair users will need to rely on taxis for journeys outside the city center. However, regional and local rail connections are suited to wheelchair users and those with other disabilities, so transferring to and from TGV trains shouldn't be a problem.
It's easy to end up at a station with a few hours to spare. So what should customers do when they are wondering what to do near the station in Valence? A walk around the old town makes a lot of sense. Start with the outlandish carved heads at the Maison des Têtes, and the 800-year-old city cathedral, before heading to the Boulevard Bancel to see the fountain sculpted by Eugene Poitoux in the late 19th century. If there's more time to spare, a quick visit to the Valence Museum will be rewarding, telling endless local stories of the Drome region. But if it's sunny (and it probably will be in Provence), nothing beats taking a book to the Parc Jouvet, which backs onto the River Rhone.