The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Winter 2022

  • Text
  • Giveaways
  • Recipes
  • Christmas
  • France
  • Vineyards
  • Villages
  • Medieval
  • Provence
Discover France’s magical winter wonderland destinations - from the French Alps to the French Riviera. Read about the biggest bûche de Noël, Christmas log cake, in the world and see Paris when it snows. Head to the sweet village of Flavigny in Burgundy where the film Chocolat was filmed and to Rouen, the Ardèche region and Côtes du Rhône. Go gaga for gorgeous Gascony and feel festive at the colourful Christmas market of Metz, Lorraine.Toulouse, feel good films, recipes, guides and giveaways…

Say Cheese One of Pays

Say Cheese One of Pays de Gex’s most treasured products is Bleu de Gex, a raw cow’s milk cheese AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). You are unlikely to find Bleu de Gex in your average supermarket because production is limited and strictly controlled. Domaine might do the trick too. And for those who prefer a bit more of an active visit, it’s a fabulous place for cycling. Playground Jura Voltair Castle north through the forest tracks which are some of the best Nordic skiing sites in winter, and for the sake of it, I crossed the Swiss border at La Cure, before following the shadows of a setting sun. You can also traverse the mountains on a mountain-bike version of an e-scooter called Ze Trott, which rolls effortlessly up the slopes, from the top of which you can even spot the big water fountain in Geneva. The main draw though, is the Alps. White powdered peaks cover the horizon even on a hot summer day, and among the many minor mountains, one distant peak stands regal: Mont Blanc. “When farmers taste cheese that they think is not good enough, they throw it away rather than pass it on for others to taste,” says Nicolas Guitton, a proud member of the region’s Bleu de Gex Brotherhood. When a cheese has its own fraternity, you know it’s a serious business. Armed with a plateful of differently aged Blue de Gex, I was taught the correct way to appreciate the taste. “It’s about the feeling, smell and texture. The test is simple. Squeeze, smell it to see if it makes you feel you’re wrapped in the mountains and then taste it.” © OTI Pays de Gex Monts Jura Pays de Gex is a place where size doesn’t matter. With so much packed into this relatively unknown corner of France, it is no wonder that even the Swiss are tempted to cross over the borders to enjoy many of its attractions. Find out more about Pays de Gex at: The Jura Mountain range cascades from the Bern area in Switzerland, pouring itself into France through three departments, before ending in Ain, with the highest point of the Jura rising in Pays de Gex. It’s in the heart of one of the largest National Nature Reserves in France, laced with hiking trails, and is perfectly located for mountain sports. Here you’ll find one of the longest rail toboggan runs in Europe, as well as France’s steepest zipline at the Col de la Faucille, a ski area in winter, active adventures playground in summer. Riding an e-bike hired from Le Tiapi Sports in Mijoux, a pretty village where many houses feature colourful frescoes representing trades of yesteryear, I sped along narrow country roads. Accompanied by the sound of tinkling cow bells, I admired the hills from the floor of the valley, just under the Crêt de la Neige, the highest point of the Jura Massif. Heading A fort that held its ground Actually, you can see Mont Blanc from almost any high ground in Pays de Gex, as I discovered after climbing 1000 steps to the top of Fort l’Ecluse which clings onto the rocky face of the Jura at the very southern tip of Pays de Gex, with the Rhône River glistening 90 metres below. It once functioned as a defensive fort, as well as a tax border between Geneva and France. The road that used to run through the fort was the only way in and out of France before modern roads were built, and this “Pas de la Cruse” was first mentioned by Julius Caesar in 58BC. A self-guided tour takes you through tunnels and up and down steep stairs where soldiers used to have to carry cannons to different parts of the fort using a labour-intensive rope system. The fort is now famous for its annual Jazz festival. 80 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 81

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