The Pays de Gex
Entre le Jura et la Suisse, le Pays de Gex se tient au nord-Est du département de l’Ain. Pays de montagnes, ce territoire garde cependant une identité forte avec à l’ouest la belle rivière de l’Albarine et à l’ouest la frontière avec la Suisse, marquée par Fort l’écluse et par la présence du CERN l’un des plus prestigieux laboratoires scientifiques du monde.
The Pays de Gex, Land of Mountains
The Pays de Gex is in the north-east of the Ain region, between Jura and Switzerland. This mountainous area is marked in the west by the beautiful River Albarine and in the east by the Swiss border, Fort l’Ecluse and CERN, a highly respected centre for scientific research. In winter the Pays de Gex is the realm of skiers and in summer the slopes become hiking paths. But let’s start at the beginning. Start from the ordinary little town of Bellegarde-sur-Valserine to discover the famous « Pertes » de la Valserine, an extremely turbulent river which was the first in France to be classified as a « Rivière sauvage (wild river) ». Over the course of time the river has hollowed out giant’s kettles and other potholes in the limestone giving it a magnificent appearance. As you follow the path beside these amazing « pertes », you will be surprised by the tunnels and canyons hollowed out in the rock. You need to take care and wear stout shoes. Don’t even think of attempting to bring a pushchair.... Fishing enthusiasts are not forgotten and the Albarine is renowned for its brown trout.
The Valserine winds through the valley leading to the ski resorts of Les Monts Jura. On the way, stop off at Chézery-Forens to visit the “fruitiére” (cheese dairy) specialising in Bleu de Gex (blue cheese). Visit between 08.30 and 09.30 to watch the cheese being made and at other times to walk along the viewing gallery. The area is steeped in history. Cistercian monks founded an abbey here in 1140 but after the Revolution the buildings housed families and shops. Tucked away at the bottom of the valley, Chézery-Foreins is dominated to the east by the Massif du Reculet and to the west by the Crêt de Chalam, which can be reached along mountain paths from the village. The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking !
Continue your journey to Les Monts Jura and its four ski resorts of Lélex-Crozet, Mijoux-La Faucille, La Vattay-Valserine and Menthières-Chézery. The rather steep slopes of these little known mountains offer numerous sporting possibilities. Seasoned skiers choose Lélex which has 26 pistes for downhill skiing. The Crêt de la Neige (1720m) is the highest point of the Jura Massif. The slopes of Mijoux are gentler and suitable for both downhill and cross-country skiing. However, classic-style and skate-style enthusiasts head for La Vattay, a paradise for cross-country skiers with its 150km of groomed pistes, whereas families prefer Menthières, a small resort 15km from Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, which has a magic carpet moving walkway leading to an area for beginners. At Lélex, the « Club des Oursons » offers a wide choice of activities for children aged between 2 and 12 years old.
Our selection of accommodations
Chalet La Fuste Monts Jura
in LELEX - Ain
Le Relais des Moines
in CHEZERY-FORENS - Ain
in CHEZERY-FORENS - Ain
Our new accommodations
in THOIRY - Ain
Le Chalet de la Louve
in LA PESSE - Jura
Les Roches d'Orvaz
in BELLEYDOUX - Ain