08/29 > 09/20/2020

On the road

AIN (01)

Population: 638,500

Prefecture: Bourg-en-Bresse

Sub-prefectures: Nantua, Belley, Gex

Surface: 5,762.44 km 2

Specialties: AOP Poultry of Bresse, Cream of Bresse, AOP Butter of Bresse, AOC Bugey wines, AOP Comté, PDO Bleu de Gex (cheese), Dombes fish, Pike quenelles in Nantua sauce

Sport Clubs: Football: FBBP 01 (League 2); Rugby union: USO Oyonnax (Pro D2) and USBPA (3rd division); Basketball: JL Basket (Pro B)

Sporting events: International show-jumping in Bourg-en-Bresse CSI 4 stars; Open de l’Ain tennis Grand Prix in Bourg; The Ain'ternational Rhône-Alpes Valromey Tour; Mondial de Quad of Pont-de-Vaux; Tour de l'Ain (cycling); The UCI Forestière, Mountain Bike Marathon series

Festivals: International Festival of Baroque Music of Ambronay (October), Spring Festival of Pérouges (March), Comics Festival in Ain in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine (November)

Economy: 1st industrial department of France (25% of total employment, 44,750 employees); Headquarters of CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research); 1st European concentration of plastic processing companies; 3rd most innovative department in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Websites and social networks: www.ain-tourisme.com / @Departement_AIN / Departement01  

If Ain fascinates, it’s above all due to its versatility and the strong character of its territories: La Bresse, Dombes, Bugey and Pays de Gex. In those natural landscapes of countryside and mountains, the diversity of the territory is punctuated by some great landmarks: Parc des Oiseaux (Birds Park) in Villars-les-Dombes, the medieval city of Perouges, the caves of Cerdon, the spa of Divonne-Les-Bains, the royal monastery of Brou in Bourg-en-Bresse, the sanctuary of Ars, the great cycling challenge of the Grand-Colombier above Culoz, the Monts Jura station at the foot of the highest peaks of the Jura Mountains, Ambronay's ancient music festival, the ViaRhôna bicycle route, along the river ... not to mention gastronomy and its protected AOP products.  

High potential bike in Ain
The department is geographically designed for cycling: plains but also mountains and hills for leisure or sport. Ain offers greenways such as the Viarhôna and the Viasaona for example. Finally, the Ain gives priority to cyclists by closing the Col du Grand Colombier to cars once a month, from June to September, as part of the Grand Colombier grand fondo (more info on www.ain.fr)

Km 2.5

Jasseron (Pop: 1,750)

The history of Jasseron really took shape during the feudal era, a period when future inhabitants tried to take advantage of the protection of the castle, which was the most important in the region and never fell. The Charter of 1283 allowed Jasseron to benefit from the state of commune. In 1304, the village became Savoyard following the sale to Count Aymé of Savoy of the castle and all the lands belonging to Lord Etienne de Coligny. It was only in 1601 that the village became definitively French. An interesting heritage remains from this medieval period, such as the habitat of the first feudal age listed as a historical monumentssince 1984, or the ruins of the feudal castle (13th century), listed in 1927.

Km 7

Meillonnas (Pop: 1,350)

Writer, journalist, essayist and screenwriter Roger Vailland (1907-1965), who won the Goncourt Prize in 1957 for La Loi (The Law) and who spent the last ten years of his life in the village, rests in Meillonnas. There is no doubt that he admired the Gothic Saint-Oyen church and its frescoes, as well as the Meillonnas castle, a former 14th century stronghold located in the heart of the village.

Km 9.5

Val-Revermont (Pop: 2,600 inhab.)

The commune was born on January 1, 2016 from the merger of the two municipalities of Treffort-Cuisiat and Pressiat. To see are the Revermont departmental museum devoted to local history and culture and also the pretty castle of Treffort, a former 13th century fortress, which has housed the Counts of Savoy on numerous occasions. Transformed into a stone quarry, it was bought and partly rebuilt by Tony Ferret, departmental architect of the monuments of France at the end of the 19th century.

JURA (39)

Population: 260,000

Prefecture: Lons-le-Saunier

Sub-prefectures: Dole, Saint-Claude

Surface: 5,000 km²

Specialties: Comté (cheese), Vache Qui Rit (portion cheese), Vin Jaune (made from a unique grape in the world: Savagnin), toys, pipes of Saint-Claude, watchmaking, eyewear, bushel, industrial subcontracting, observation of wlidlife (lynx, eagle, black grouse, chamois)

Competitions: La Forestière (40-100 km mountain bike hike), the Transjurassienne (Nordic skiing must in France), Tour du Jura.

Festivals / concerts: The Idéklic Toy and Child Festival (Moirans-en-Montagne), Brainans Mill, Circus and Fanfare (Dole), word of mouth festival (Musiques en Petite Montagne), NoLogo Festival (Fraisans) .

Economics: plastics, chemicals, food processing, subcontracting luxury industry, eyewear, watchmaking, wood construction, breeding, tourism four seasons, hydrotherapy, automotive and aeronautic subcontracting, viticulture, cheese.

Websites / FB: www.jura.fr / www.facebook.com/departementdujura

Km 37.5

Gigny (Pop: 280)

Founded by Berno on his family lands, the abbey of Gigny appears in the texts in 888. In 910, the abbot Berno left to found the Abbey of Cluny with 6 monks from Gigny and 6 monks from Baume-les-Messieurs, another abbey he directed. The abbey of Gigny then became a priory that Pope Gregory VII entrusted in 1076 to Hughes, abbot of Cluny. Today the abbey of Gigny is fully listed as a historical monument and its church preserves remarkable elements from the Romanesque period.
For children, Juramusées provides a small "discovery trail" game booklet that can also be found at the Abbey of Baume-les-Messieurs. Downloadable from www.juramusees.fr.
For hikers, a leaflet "Hiking loops around the Cluniac sites of Doubs & Jura", designed and published by the Franche-Comté Bourgogne Cluniac Roads association, offers 9 hiking loops, including one around the abbey of Gigny . This leaflet is available in the Tourist Office and on the sites.

Km 55.5

La Chailleuse (Pop: 600)

Created by a prefectural decree of October 28, 2015, it is the result of the regrouping of the municipalities of Arthenas, Essia, Saint-Laurent-la-Roche and Varessia which become delegated municipalities. Its capital is located in Arthenas. Saint-Laurent-la-Roche, where a belvedere allows you to admire the whole region, had a powerful castle that was destroyed at the end of the 17th century.

Km 64.5

Lons-le-Saunier (Pop: 17,300)

Prefecture of Jura, Lons-le-Saunier is a tourist and commercial city located at the crossroads of the vineyards of Bresse and the Land of the Lakes. It is particularly visited for its thermal baths with healthy, naturally salty water. The city has based its economic development on its precious resource, saltwater, which still earns it proven success with tourists today. It is also famous for its heritage, its shops, and the famous House of la Vache Qui Rit (iconic cheese), emblematic of the city. Stroll through the shops hidden under its arcades, slalom between the water jets of the Place de la Liberté, enjoy a coffee on the picturesque Place de la Comédie, greet the statue of Rouget-de-Lisle, one of the prestigious children of the city… The visit can be a salty one. The Jura prefecture has hosted the Tour de France on three occasions, in 1937, 1963 and 2004. That last year, Juan Miguel Mercado won.

Rouget de l'Isle Museum
The museum space, installed in his native apartment, evokes the life of Rouget-de-Lisle, author of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. Many original documents, personal items (his sabre, the bow of the violin of La Marseillaise ...), a series of explanatory panels as well as objects and documents from private collections shed light on the life of the author of the globally celebrated anthem.

Km 70.5

Le Pin (Pop : 240) 

Château du Pin
Built in the 13th century by Count of Burgundy, John of Chalon the Old (v.1190-1267), on the ruins of a castrum. On the lands of the Baume-les-Messieurs Abbey, the castle was intended to monitor the salt road.
22-m high under the machicolations, its enormous keep has walls varying in thickness between 2 and 2.80 m. Surrounded by a polygonal enclosure, the castle is flanked by 5 semi-circular towers, 3 of which are contiguous to the buildings. During the French conquest of 1674 (the Franco-Dutch war), an order to dismantle the castle led to the demolition of part of the curtain; it is possible that the intervention of the abbot of Baume-les-Messieurs, Jean de Watteville, (1618-1702) military and ecclesiastical governor of Franche-Comté who played an important role in the history of the province) prevented complete destruction. Important restoration work between 1923 and 1933 was undertaken: reconstruction of the enclosure and the house, raising of the towers and restoration of the keep.

Km 81.5

Château-Chalon (Pop: 150)

A sentinel on the banks of the Revermont, Château-Chalon is the “beacon” of the Jura vineyards. In the cradle of the famous Vin Jaune, legends and history intertwine to give all its fame to one of the "Most Beautiful Villages of France".
Like the writer Bernard Clavel, who fell in love with it to the point of settling there, Château-Chalon in the Jura leaves no one indifferent. Its impregnable site, just like the charm of its heart of village, lend it an undeniable cachet which has hoisted it into the very closed club of the Cities of Character of Burgundy-Franche-Comté. Guardian of the Jura vineyards, Château-Chalon is perched on the edge of a cliff, and for centuries has watched over the entrance to neighbouring remote areas. This "belvedere village" gave its name to a renowned wine, the Vin Jaune de Château-Chalon: yellow wine.  

Yellow wine
If the canons of Baume-les-Messieurs are at the origin of the most famous of the Cistercian abbeys in the region, the Benedictines of Château-Chalon unwittingly gave birth to the "King of Wines and Wine of Kings": yellow wine from Jura. They are the ones who planted in the Middle Ages the first vines of Savagnin on the slopes of the medieval city. Made from this single grape variety, Vin jaune is produced in the appellations Arbois, Etoile, côtes du Jura, but mainly in the Château-Chalon AOC. The latter was born from a decree of May 29, 1936. Today it represents around 50 hectares cultivated in the municipalities of Château-Chalon, Menetru-le-Vignoble, Domblans and Nevy-sur-Seille.
The character of Yellow wine is linked on the one hand to the terroir and the grape variety, on the other hand to its special aging. During aging, carried out in oak barrels for a minimum of 6 years and 3 months, part of the wine evaporates (the "angel's share"). A veil of yeast forms on the surface, preserving the wine from oxidation and giving it that famous "yellow taste".
This precious and mysterious wine is then packaged in a very specific bottle called “clavelin”, with a capacity of 62 cl.

Km 109.5

Vannoz (210 inhab.) 

Vannoz castle
The castle of Vannoz was burnt down in 1637 during the Ten Years War then rebuilt and transformed into a residence castle by the baron du Pin in 1679 with the creation of a terraced garden. The adjustments were continued by the successors. The castle retains a rectangular tower facing outwards, a polygonal tower in the inner courtyard and one-story buildings with sloping roofs covered with small tiles. A coat of arms and a stone bas-relief representing Saint George have been restored near the front door of the main building. The castle of Vannoz was bought for his mother by Etienne Lamy, politician and academician from the nearby village of Cize. Étienne Lamy bequeathed the castle to the Diocesan Association on his death in 1919 to establish a retirement home for the priests of the diocese of Saint-Claude. It is now a pensioners home.

Km 123.5

Nozeroy (Pop: 440)

The medieval city of Nozeroy is irresistible. Its hill is the starting point for excursions on this vast high plateau, between Mont-Noir, the Joux forest and Champagnole. Close to the upper valley of the Saine, the town is anchored in its plateau where tradition, gastronomic heritage and good life are now renowned. The agricultural activity of the plateau is structured around the production of milk and the manufacture of Comté. Today, while only traces of the old castle remain, you can still admire the Clock Tower, once the main entrance to Nozeroy. Built in the 15th century, it rises at the entrance to the city. Many anecdotes and stories are attached to the town of Nozeroy. For example, the Collegiate Church of Saint-Antoine conceals an unusual treasure: fronts of altars, chasubles (not visible) embroidered with goldfrey with wheat straw and not with gold thread. This rather crude material was made noble by the dexterity of the little hands of nuns in the 17th century.  

Saint-Antoine collegiate church
Ample nave with a long nave, interior decoration of richly sculpted vaults. the building amazes by its listed furniture: 15th century stalls, liturgical ornaments in 17th century silk embroidered with straw. Flemish painted panels, relics of the blessed Loyse of Savoy.  

The assault on the ramparts
Every summer, for more than thirty years, a great medieval festival invades the streets of Nozeroy. Musicians, clowns, jugglers disguised in period clothes ... More than 200 volunteers are involved in the organization of this historical retrospective, knowing that the city claims to be "the smallest town in France". The most important moment of the festival is the banquet, served as in the days of the knights, often with a main course of beef cooked over a wood fire. The guests sit at tables set up all over the city.

Km 145

Chaux-des-Crotenay (Pop: 400)

Archaeologist André Berthier proposed, in 1962, after a robot portrait search, to locate the site of the battle of Alésia in Chaux-des-Crotenay. This thesis is defended in particular by journalist and historian Franck Ferrand, well known to Tour de France viewers.

Km 158

Loulle (Pop: 170)

Paleontological site. 155 million years ago, dinosaurs walked and left 1,500 footprints. A footbridge allows the public to observe them.

Km 162.5

Ney (Pop: 570)

Land Art Park.
In 2018, creation of a plant labyrinth in the shape of a giant dinosaur “the bean”, a nod to the paleontological site of Loulle, made up of 80,000 climbing bean seeds which, once grown, form a plant wall dense enough to lead visitors astray. Animation renewed in 2019 and addition of a new work representing Gustave Courbet's painting The Origin of the World. The 2 projects were imagined by the Jura artist Pierre Duc.

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