The Ain has a lot to offer, both in winter and in summer. The most eastern area is called "Pays de Gex" and rubs against Switzerland. You will find the natural park Haute-Jura with its eternally snow peaks. In winter, this is a popular ski resort for downhill skiing, also with the Savoie and Haute-savoie departments. In summer, the unspoilt mountain landscape materializes all the dreams of hiking, with a glimpse of Mont Blanc.
The clean air of the mountain has a positive effect on enlightened thinkers. This is what French writer, philosopher and freethinker Voltaire had to think. In 1759, the founder of the French enlightmenment settled in Ferney, at that time an insignificant village. Voltaire moved into a castle and develops the village in his ideal city, which today bears the name of his benefactor: Ferney-Voltaire. In the center, an impressive statue of the philosopher reminds us of better times. A museum is located in his old castle.
Towns worth a visit in the Burgey area are Nantua and Oyonnax, both embedded in a beautiful landscape of mountains, lakes and pine forests. The lake of Nantua offers space for water sports and fishing enthusiasts. There are beautiful beaches with a view of the Jura mountains, with Crêt de la Neige (1720 m) as the highest peak. Oyonnax has a special industrial history despite its natural location. In the Middle Ages the village began to make combs of a kind of palm oil. In the eighteenth century the horn came in its place, which also made glasses. From the invention of celluloid, Oyonnax can look forward to a bright plastic industry.
The third area of Ain, La Dombe, is also known as the 'Land of a thousand lakes'. Here, the enthusiast of reflecting water plains is fully in his element. There are four tourist routes to get to know the rural villages and their inhabitants. One of the most beautiful smaller towns is Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne, also known as 'the little Venice of La Dombes'. You will find characteristic half-timbered houses and old market halls. Other charming towns are Pérouges and Trévoux. When visiting Pérouges, try the local delicacy: the Galette de Pérouges.
Travelers who loves the French cuisine probably know the fourth area of Ain because of its reputation of the high-quality poultry - La Bresse. The region is home to the most famous chicken in France and perhaps all over the world, the white Bresse chicken. A breed recognized since 1591 and the only chicken in the world to have its own Appellation d'Origine Controlé (AOC). There is even a real chicken society, chaired by chef Georges Blanc, who runs a three-star restaurant in Vonnas. Every third week of September, a professional chicken parade takes place in four cities: Pont-de-Vaux, Montrevel-en-Bresse, Louhans and Bourg-en-Bresse.
Bourg-en-Bresse is the capital of Ain. It is a comfortable city with a beautiful historical center. Famous is the Royal Monastery of Brou. The story is melancholy. The monastery was founded in the 16th century on the initiative of Princess Margaret of Austria, governor of the Netherlands, who married three times and three times in a short time lost her husband and then chose life monastic. Saturday is market day in Bourg-en-Bresse, on the Place du Champ de Foire. A great opportunity to buy a Royal Bresse chicken to prepare in your holiday home in Ain. Preferably with cream and forest mushrooms. If you prefer to eat chicken in a restaurant, these are good traditional places: La Marelle in Péronnas, Laurant Perréal in Attignat and Brasserie le Français in Bourg-en-Bresse.