BresseA green and tasty escape
Bresse is a charming and quaint region of Ain that is located between the River Saône to the west and the foothills of the Jura Mountains to the east. Bourg-en-Bresse, the largest town in the département of Ain is situated in Bresse and has been the region's capital for over 700 years. The town boasts several historic sites such as the Monastère Royal de Brou and Notre-Dame Cathedral. Bourg-en-Bresse is also well known for its shopping and for its cafés, restaurants and market. Outside of the town the pleasant Bressan countryside plays host to a wide range of activities including, fishing, cycling, hiking, swimming and water-sports as well as plenty of campsites and gîtes in which to stay. It is in this beautiful green countryside that one finds the farms that produce ‘Poulet de Bresse', the free range chicken for which this region is famous for. Poulet de Bresse is a product unique to Bresse and its taste and flavour cannot be equalled anywhere else in the world and for this reason it was granted an ‘appellation d'origine contrôlée' (AOC) in 1957.
The destination of Montrevel-en-Bresse is located in the heart of the Bressan countryside just off the A6 motorway, known as the autoroute du soleil, just before Lyon. Here you will find the incredible Plaine Tonique Holiday Park, a place that is full of adventures and things to do. Whether you are travelling as couple, family or with friends, for young and old alike there is an activity for you at the Plaine Tonique. Montrevel-en-Bresse is a rural part of Ain that is famed for the quality of its agricultural produce.
At a height of 662 meters Mont Myon is the highest point in Bresse and its peak gives some breathtaking views over the beautiful Bressan countryside below. As one would expect in such a wonderful outdoor location there are plenty of hiking routes and mountain bike circuits to be explored. Of a summer's day when the weather conditions are most favourable the skies around Mont Myon become full of paragliders. The area is also popular with climbers and pony trekkers. Nestled in between Mont Myon and the surrounding hills are picturesque villages such as Roissiat, Treffort and Pressiat, with plenty of beautiful gîtes and hotels of real character in which to stay.
A village of flowers and beauty, Vonnas is located on the banks of the Rivers Renon and Veyle, halfway between Mâcon and Bourg-en-Bresse. There has been a settlement here since Gallo-Roman times. During the Middle Ages there were 8 different chateaus in Vonnas and the surrounding area. Of the 8, only Chateau Béost and Château Epeyssoles can be viewed today. In more modern times Vonnas is best known for its gastronomy, thanks to the Blanc family who have lived in the village for generations. In 1872 Jean-Marie and Rosalie Blanc opened an inn in Vonnas.
When one thinks of Bresse one automatically thinks of Volaille de Bresse the delicious free range chicken and turkey for which the region is famous. Poultry farming has been a way of life in Bresse since the 16th century. This savoir-faire resulted in Volaille de Bresse being granted an appellation d'origine contrôllée (AOC) in 1957. Today all poultry labelled AOC Volaille de Bresse is reared according to strict AOC rules. All around Bresse there are many producers of this famous poultry such as Ferme et Auberge du Poirier where one can see how the birds are raised and even get to taste them in the farm's restaurant. Bresse also has other products that benefit from AOC's, Bressan Cream and Butter were granted AOC status in 2012.
Voted favourite French national monument by the viewers of France 2 Television in 2014 the Monastère Royal de Brou is best known for Saint Nicolas's Church. Designed in the flamboyant gothic style by the Flemish architect Loys Van Boghem, it took 25 years to build and was consecrated in 1532. The church was built on the instructions of Marguerite of Austria the daughter of the Austrian Emperor Maximilian, in memory of her late husband Philibert le Beau, Duke of Savoy, who died at the age of 24 leaving Marguerite broken hearted. Both Philibert's and Marguerite's tombs are located in the centre of the church. The church is wonderfully decorated with paintings by Jan Van Roome and Bernard Van Orley and sculptures by Conrad Meyt. The monastery was home to a community of Augustinian monks up until the French Revolution.