“Départment de l’Ain” is the first and only département, or province, in France named after a number, the number one. Naturally, this feature fills the hearts of the local population with pride as they consider the name to be attributed to the characteristics shown by its inhabitants.
The duality of its relief is characteristic for the geography of the Ain located in the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes region. A river by the same name crosses the area from north to south. The western part is flat with the Bresse, the Ain plateau, the Saône valley and lowlands such as the Dombes. By contrast, the eastern part is set apart by the Pays de Gex, Bugey and Revermont, consisting of gorges, valleys and peaks of the Jura mountain range.
Our département’s history is just as special as its geographic diversity. Human settlements have been discovered dating back to 15 000 BC when, following the withdrawal of the Rhone glaciers making the region habitable, the first inhabitants began settling in Bresse and the Dombes.
In the course of history, the region suffered turmoil resulting from successions of wars and occupations. The département joined France only in the year 1600 AD. Owing to the far-reaching historical events, the area’s cultural and architectural heritage today is rich and varied, filling tourists with enthusiasm and the locals with pride.
Our site was built in 1992 in an industrial park in the “Plaine de l’Ain“, established in green countryside in 1974. It is located close to the regions of Dombes and Bugey and has enjoyed tremendous success. Today, some 6000 individuals work in nearly 200 companies – and the development is continuing.
The robust development of industry in our region is based largely on good transportation facilities connecting us with the large European cities and its vicinity to the international airport at Lyon.
Several touristic attractions can be visited in the region surrounding our industrial park, such as:
- Pérouges: in the Middle Ages, the small walled town of Pérouges was located on a trade route. For strategic reasons, the double ring of defensive walls protected some 80 buildings today considered historic monuments. Pérouges is officially considered to be one of France’s most beautiful towns.
- The Brou monastry in Bourg-en-Bresse was erected in a prominent Gothic style sporting a geometric pattern created by the colorful roofing tiles.
- Castle Les Allymes in Ambérieu-en-Bugey, guards the Bugey and is witness to internal power struggles between Dophiné and Savoy.
- Fort l’Ecluse in the region of Gex is one of France’s last fortifications reflecting centuries of military architecture.
- Ars is known especially for Jean-Marie Vianney, the holy Curé of Ars, and attracts some 500 000 pilgrims and visitors every year based on the story of an extraordinary person whose church has been classified “a significant monument to the 20th Century”.
Many more medieval villages, castles, chapels, farms and agricultural estates, museums and communal ovens are each well worth a visit.
Should our cultural heritage be insufficient, the impressive landscape will certainly make up for the loss: waterfalls, marshes, lakes, caves, gardens, observation platforms and hiking routes. Pure nature opens its doors to visitors and the local population to enjoy walks, horse rides, cycling tours and excursions by motorcycle or motorcar. The serpentines of the Via Rhôna are of particular appeal to motorcyclists.
No region, as beautiful as it may be, will successfully convince visitors if it does not offer a promising cuisine. The restaurants and cafés in our region are generally of a high standard, and some chefs will go down in the history of gastronomy as being outstanding, such as Georges Blanc, who has been awarded three Michelin stars and four toques from Gault et Millau guide.
Food history has been cooked up here, starting with chicken from Bresse with cream sauce, frogs‘ legs with parsley, and fish from the River Dombes to Galette with fresh cream from Pérouges, and the indispensable quenelles (dumplings) in a Nantua sauce. Not to forget the compté and blue cheese from Gex and the Bugey soufflé, a very tasty cheese made of cow milk and enjoyed warm with bread baked in the communal ovens in the villages. Add a glass of wine from Bugey to underline the taste and sensuality of the culinary journey.
For a very good reason, the département‘s motto is: “Dans l’Ain on est bien“, or, “in Ain you’ll feel good”, and that’s not simply an advertising slogan, it is a fact.
Facts and Figures:
Population: 1194 (1 Jan 2015)
Mayor: Marel Jacquin