Pays de Gex, part of the picturesque Haut-Jura Regional ParkThe one time home of Voltaire
Pays de Gex is situated in the north-east corner of Ain, high in the Jura Mountains along the border with Switzerland. Most of the territory of Pays de Gex is part of the picturesque Haut-Jura Regional Park. 4 of the highest peaks in the Jura Mountains including the incredible Crêt de la Neige are located there as well as the beautiful Valserine River Valley. This makes Pays de Gex a very popular place with mountaineers and hikers alike during the summer months. In the winter time Pays de Gex's green slopes become covered with snow and the region becomes a Mecca for both Alpine and Nordic skiers. These are not the only outdoor activities Pays de Gex has to offer, the region also has several top quality golf courses. If it is rest and relaxation you need, this part of Ain is well known for its thermal springs and health spas. The historic Fort de l'Ecluse and the ultra-modern CERN research centre are also well worth visiting.
The beautiful town of Gex is the gateway to the Haut-Jura Regional Natural Park, an area of outstanding mountainous beauty and breathtaking valleys. The park covers an area of 1,700 km² in Ain and two other départemets and was founded in 1985. Some of the Jura's highest peaks such as the Reculet, the Crêt de la Neige and the Crêt de la Goutte are to be found in Pays de Gex and from their summits there are the most spectacular views to be found anywhere. Add to this the Valserine Valley with its amazing scenery that includes the Pont des Pierres the Haut-Jura Regional Natural Park has to be seen to be believed.
The charming town of Ferney-Voltaire is located a short drive from the city of Geneva. The town is named after its most famous citizen the French 18th century writer and philosopher Voltaire. Voltaire lived Ferney as it was then called between the years 1758 and 1778, after he fell out of favour with the French King in Paris. During this period the Ferney changed from being a village of less than 100 people to a modern town of more than 1,000, a project of urban renewal which Voltaire was involved in.
The Fort de l'Ecluse is located approximately half way between Bellegarde-sur-Valserine and Geneva, high above the River Rhône and the main road between the 2 towns. In the past this was a very strategic point between the Kingdom of France, the Dukedom of Savoy and the city of Geneva and ownership of the fort changed hands many times over the centuries.