Department of Ain

In the south-east part of France you will find the Department of Ain which is named after the river that runs through it. This part of France is close to major airports in Geneva and Lyon and it is famous for its beautiful scenery and the ski resorts and higher mountains that you can find further to the east. As well as skiing there are plenty of other outdoor activities for people to enjoy. This part of France is split into four individual and historic regions.

For people who enjoy mountain biking and walking then one of the best of these places to head to would be Bresse, which is a place where history has made it into modern day life and many farmers practice the ancient techniques and crafts that are a major part of the economy.

They’re often played by local actors who are dressed in costume and act out scenes from the history of the area. These are not just static performances and people are encouraged to get involved with activities which often demonstrate how the area would operate in the past. This is the only part of France where Saracen style chimneys can be seen, so while you are here it is worth paying particular attention to these.

For those who enjoy taking gentle walks up to hilltop villages and exploring waterfalls and lakes then Bugey is the area to head to. There are a great many cycling and walking opportunities around the many lakes in the area, and it is especially worth heading to Lake Nantua, which is one of the most beautiful in the area.

If you are visiting in the winter then you will be able to see these lakes when they are frozen over and as well as providing a spectacular backdrop for some chilly hiking, it is also possible to ice skate on many of these lakes.

Dombes is an area that is dominated by water and this means it has become known as the land of one thousand mirrors, referring to the reflective nature of the water. Unlike the two regions we have mentioned above, this part of France is much flatter and is more suited to people who want a more leisurely hiking experience. It also makes it more accessible for people who enjoy horse riding and there are many centres where you can find a horse that will allow you to explore the area.

Finally, there is the Pay de Gex which is one of the most mountainous regions. It is located in the northern part of Ain and is a place that is known in the winter for its skiing, and in the summer for its hiking. The villages and towns up in the mountains are very beautiful but can be hard to reach in the colder months. For those who’ve tired from outdoor excursions the spa town of Divonne-les-Bains is a perfect stop.