Architecture & Memory

Because Ain has forever been at the crossroads of cultures, influences and some of the greatest meetings in history… Because it is a land with many faces… Because the locals are proud of the legacy left by their ancestors… In Ain, #MomentsOfDiscovery are often just around the corner!

Ain, at the crossroads of cultures

On the doorstep of Lyon, between the River Saône and the Rhône, Ain has managed to hold its own time and time again, leaving behind many beautiful buildings, tokens of its checkered past.

  • The Medieval Town of Pérouges, a former stronghold on what was a major trade route during the Middle Ages, has around 80 listed buildings within its double wall of ramparts. The town is classed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”.
  • Château des Allymes, Bugey’s sentinel, stands as a reminder of the internal fighting that broke out between Dauphiné and Savoy.
  • At Fort l’Ecluse, one of the last-remaining mountain forts in France, visitors can discover several different centuries of military architecture on one single site.

Ain could be the set of an 18th century film. Trévoux, the capital of the Dombes, attracted booksellers and printers imbued with the spirit of freedom of speech of the Enlightenment, as a result of its extraterritorial status. And it was in Ferney-Voltaire that Voltaire took up residence. Château de Voltaire, nicknamed the ‘Inn of Europe’, was to become the meeting place of guests from all over Enlightened Europe.

#MedievalTownofPérouges #LivingInTheMiddleAges #YummyPies!

Timber houses and shingle roofs dot the landscapes in Ain

From the plains to the mountains, Ain is characterised by an extraordinary variety of landscapes and architectural styles…

You get the idea – here the heritage has been shaped by local traditions. This patchwork of influences is displayed in all different forms: medieval villages, castles, churches, Bresse farms, apothecaries, museums… the only thing left to do is to explore!