Bourg-en-Bresse is a charming city located in the Ain department of eastern France. Known for its rich history, architectural heritage, and culinary delights, Bourg-en-Bresse offers visitors a delightful blend of cultural and gastronomic experiences. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Bourg-en-Bresse:
1. Royal Monastery of Brou
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Monastery_of_Brou
The Royal Monastery of Brou is an exquisite example of flamboyant Gothic architecture. Built in the 16th century, this stunning monastery features a church, a cloister, and three mausoleums dedicated to the memory of Margaret of Austria, Philibert the Fair, and Margaret of Bourbon. The intricate stonework, beautiful stained glass windows, and peaceful gardens make it a must-visit attraction.
2. Brou Museum
Located adjacent to the Royal Monastery of Brou, the Brou Museum houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts, providing insights into the history and culture of the region. The museum showcases works from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.
3. Bourg-en-Bresse Royal de Pérouges Golf Club
Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at this picturesque golf club located just outside the city. The club features an 18-hole course nestled amidst rolling green hills, providing a tranquil and scenic setting for a leisurely game.
4. La Ferme du Tremblay
Located on the outskirts of Bourg-en-Bresse, La Ferme du Tremblay is an agricultural farm where visitors can learn about traditional farming techniques and interact with various farm animals. Children especially enjoy the opportunity to pet and feed the animals, making it a perfect family-friendly outing.
5. Traditional Gastronomy
Bourg-en-Bresse is renowned for its culinary traditions, particularly its poultry dishes. Indulge in a delicious meal featuring the famous Bresse chicken, which is considered one of the best varieties of poultry in the world. Several restaurants in the city offer traditional dishes made with local ingredients, providing a true taste of the region.
6. Parc de loisirs de Bouvent
If you’re seeking outdoor activities, head to Parc de loisirs de Bouvent. This expansive park offers various recreational facilities, including a lake for swimming, paddle boating, and fishing, as well as walking and cycling trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds. It’s a great place to relax, enjoy nature, and engage in outdoor sports.
7. Cultural Events
Bourg-en-Bresse hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year, including music festivals, art exhibitions, and theater performances. Check the local event calendar to see if any cultural events coincide with your visit and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of the city.
8. Musée de la Bresse-Domaine des Planons
Located in Saint-Cyr-sur-Menthon, just a short drive from Bourg-en-Bresse, this museum provides a fascinating insight into the rural heritage of the Bresse region. Explore the exhibits showcasing traditional farming tools, furniture, costumes, and crafts, which offer a glimpse into the daily life of the region’s inhabitants throughout history.
9. Parc de la Tête d’Or
If you’re up for a day trip, consider visiting Parc de la Tête d’Or in Lyon, which is approximately an hour’s drive from Bourg-en-Bresse. This sprawling urban park is one of the largest in France and offers a wide range of attractions, including a large lake, a botanical garden, a zoo, and various sports facilities. It’s an excellent place to relax, go for a jog, have a picnic, or simply enjoy nature.
10. Maison des Vins de Brouilly
Wine lovers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Maison des Vins de Brouilly, a wine cellar located in nearby Odenas. Here, you can taste and purchase a variety of wines produced in the Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly appellations, known for their fruity and elegant Gamay wines. Take a guided tour to learn more about the winemaking process and the characteristics of the local terroir.
11. Explore the Revermont Region
Bourg-en-Bresse is surrounded by the beautiful Revermont region, characterized by rolling hills, picturesque villages, and vineyards. Rent a car or go on a guided tour to discover the scenic countryside, visit charming villages like Cerdon and Treffort-Cuisiat, and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking or cycling along the scenic routes.
12. Festival of Lights
If you happen to visit Bourg-en-Bresse in early December, you can experience the Festival of Lights (Fête des Lumières) in nearby Lyon. This world-renowned event attracts millions of visitors who gather to admire stunning light installations and illuminations throughout the city. It’s a magical spectacle that transforms Lyon into a captivating visual wonderland.
13. Shopping and Dining
Stroll through the streets of Bourg-en-Bresse and explore its many boutiques, specialty shops, and local markets. The city is known for its fine food products, including cheeses, chocolates, and pastries, so be sure to indulge in some culinary delights. Don’t forget to sample the famous Galette Bressane, a local specialty pastry.
14. Attend a Performance
Check the schedule of the Ainterexpo, a multipurpose exhibition and performance venue in Bourg-en-Bresse, to see if any concerts, shows, or cultural events are taking place during your visit. From music concerts to theater performances, the venue hosts a variety of events that cater to different interests.
15. Jardin de l’Hôtel de Ville
Take a moment to relax in the tranquil Jardin de l’Hôtel de Ville, a beautiful public garden located near the City Hall. This well-maintained park offers a peaceful atmosphere with its manicured lawns, colorful flowerbeds, and shaded seating areas. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic on a sunny day.
16. Maison de la Bresse
Delve deeper into the culinary heritage of the Bresse region by visiting Maison de la Bresse. This museum and cultural center showcases the traditional crafts, gastronomy, and folklore of Bresse. Learn about the history of Bresse chicken farming, see displays of local crafts, and discover the cultural traditions that have shaped the region.
17. La Cité Médiévale de Pérouges
Embark on a short trip to Pérouges, a well-preserved medieval town located about 30 kilometers from Bourg-en-Bresse. Wander through its cobbled streets and admire the charming timber-framed houses. Visit the Place du Tilleul, the central square lined with cafes and artisan shops. Don’t miss trying the local specialty, the Galette de Pérouges, a delicious sweet pastry.
18. Musée du Monastère Royal de Brou
Explore the history and legacy of the Royal Monastery of Brou further by visiting the Musée du Monastère Royal de Brou. This museum offers in-depth information about the construction of the monastery, its architectural features, and the people associated with its history. Discover the intricate details of the building through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations.
19. Cultural Performances
Check the cultural calendar of Bourg-en-Bresse to see if any theater performances, concerts, or dance shows are taking place during your visit. The city boasts several cultural venues, including the Theatre of Bourg-en-Bresse and the Amphi-Theatre, where you can enjoy a variety of artistic performances and immerse yourself in the local cultural scene.
20. Explore the Ain Department
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ain
Bourg-en-Bresse serves as an excellent base for exploring the wider Ain department. Visit the picturesque town of Nantua, located on the shores of Lake Nantua, or venture further to the Haut-Jura Natural Park, known for its stunning landscapes, waterfalls, and hiking trails. You can also explore the charming vineyards of the Bugey wine region, famous for its sparkling wines.
21. Maison des Arts et de la Culture
If you’re interested in contemporary art, make sure to visit the Maison des Arts et de la Culture in Bourg-en-Bresse. This cultural center hosts temporary exhibitions featuring local and international artists, as well as workshops, performances, and cultural events that celebrate various art forms.
22. Lac de Bouvent
Located just a few kilometers from Bourg-en-Bresse, Lac de Bouvent is a popular recreational lake that offers a sandy beach area where you can soak up the sun and enjoy the water. The lake is surrounded by a well-maintained park with picnic areas, walking trails, and sports facilities. You can swim in the designated areas, rent pedal boats or kayaks, or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the serene surroundings.
23. Lac de Nantua
Situated in the town of Nantua, approximately 30 kilometers from Bourg-en-Bresse, Lac de Nantua is another picturesque lake that provides a beach-like setting. The lake’s clear turquoise waters are surrounded by lush green hills, creating a stunning backdrop. The beach area offers a sandy shoreline where you can sunbathe, swim, or have a picnic. The lake also has various water activities available, including paddleboarding and canoeing
Places and Things To Do