What’s happening in the lesser-known Jura? Discover the authentic Pays de Gex, in France

Come and discover what the Pays de Gex has to offer in summer. From the shores of Lake Geneva to the peaks of the Jura mountains, the region of Pays de Gex is just 20 minutes from Geneva International Airport.

The Pays de Gex community is a group of 26 French communes extending from the heart of the Jura Massif mountains to the meadows that line the Swiss border. It offers a natural holiday destination, close to Geneva, with fresh mountain air at an affordable price.

Pays de Gex is one of the biggest international and cosmopolitan regions in Europe within a major urban area, characterised by its beautiful natural landscapes and the exceptional panorama of the Alps and the Jura.

Choose from a wide range of sporting activities – from magnificent hiking and cycling in the mountain range to water activities, golf courses, horse riding and paragliding. In addition, there are many cultural and summer festivals. Please peruse the press pack to discover more here.

A few highlights worth mentioning:

NEW: Learn how to Salsa: Although Salsa became popular in the US in the 1960s, its moves and rhythm stretch much further back in time. Combining the mambo, cha cha, pachanga, and other dances, its catchy beats are sure to get everyone swaying, spinning, and strutting. Why not learn these fun moves at the first Cuban’O2 festival in Crozet, Pays de Gex? From 1-3 July 2022, guests can dance at 1,300 metres altitude, breathing in fresh mountain air, with the magnificent Mont Blanc in the background… This new annual one-of-a-kind festival combines a vibrant atmosphere with wellbeing and delicious cuisine. Guests can groove to the music of Maykel Blanco and his Salsa Major, who spun their way into the Havana, Cuba, music scene 15 years ago.

Mountain Activities: In the heart of one of the largest National Nature Reserves in France – Jura, La Faucille is the starting point for several hikes and boasts the steepest zip line in France. It’s a great starting point for mountain biking and hiking. Head up to the Col de La Faucille for a 360° panoramic view of the Mont-Blanc and the Jura at 1,323 metres. The Crêt de la Neige (1,720 m) is the highest point of the Jura Massif, and the Colomby de Gex mountain peak near the Swiss border offers one of the best lookout points in the Jura. Head out from the Col de la Faucille and hike the footpath ascending to Colomby de Gex (allow about two hours). From the summit, the panoramic views extend to the Alps and Lake Geneva.

Fort l’Ecluse: Originally built as a military fortification on the mountainside to control the movement of people into Geneva, today the fort and its museum can be visited. There is also an adventure park offering various activities for all ages including zip wires, obstacles, and high ropes. Seasoned rock-climbers can climb the steep Via Ferrata along the fort’s limestone walls. Jazz in Fort l’Écluse is a festival for all jazz, soul, and blues lovers. All summer long, concerts are scheduled in the heart of the fort providing a very special ambience. Concerts take place every weekend of the summer until 27 August 2022.

Chateau Voltaire: For lovers of history and literature, a visit to Ferney Voltaire is highly recommended. After years of wandering throughout Europe, the writer and philosopher, Voltaire, chose to settle in the hamlet Fernex in 1758 and stay there for the next 20 years.  He built his home, the Chateau, to his own specifications and invited many of his well-known friends to visit, bringing prosperity into this little-known corner of the region. After two and a half years of renovation, this beautiful residence is now worth seeing as part of a guided tour.

CERN (the biggest nuclear research laboratories in Europe) is worth a visit to learn more about the past glories, which most famously include the internet and the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and highest energy particle collider.

Divonne-les-Bains: In 1848, Doctor Paul Vidart had the idea to use the natural healing qualities of the local thermal spring to provide a variety of treatment to patients. The wellness station of Divonne-les-Bains has now been operating for 150 years and today offers thermal-spa facilities as well as the time-honoured thermal baths. The town of Divonne also showcases an artificial lake with a beach where guests can rent kayaks, canoes and boats, that is open from June to September. The circumference of the lake is closed to motorised traffic and a paved path affords cyclists, runners, and leisurely strollers the chance to explore its shores. A brisk walk around the lake takes less than one hour. It is possible to rent bikes and bike carts. There is also an outdoor pool next to the lake with diving platforms and a giant slide.

Specialities: Bleu de Gex is produced from raw cow’s milk in the Haut Jura region. Aromas of Bleu de Gex are mild but distinctly nutty and the distinct flavour is reminiscent of mushroom and tarragon. This blue local cheese was granted AOC (name protected) status in 1986. It is more supple and less creamy than other blue cheeses, and is traditionally eaten on boiled potatoes, but is also delicious by itself and in salads.

Gastronomy: In the heart of the Haut Jura Regional Nature Park, near the Faucille pass (1,250 m), the four -star Hotel La Mainaz has been completely refurbished. There are two restaurants: the gastronomic Table de la Mainaz, and the Panorama with bistronomy cuisine. The Michelin starred chef, Julien Thomasson, has more than 20 years’ experience, having worked in prestigious establishments before launching his own successful Hotel Restaurant Les Ambassadeurs in Saint-Chamond, Loire, where he obtained his Michelin star.In 2019, he joined the La Mainaz family and was awarded another star in 2021. The menu combines traditional and modern dishes, with a focus on local suppliers. www.la-mainaz.com

Accommodation: Accommodation ranges from self-catered apartments and villas to gites, camping sites, and hotels. Don’t miss the jewel in the crown, the magnificent 5* Jiva Hill, situated at the foothills of the Jura Mountains facing the majestic Mont Blanc, the luxurious resort has a 98-acre private estate. www.jivahill.com

For more details about the resort, please visit: https://www.paysdegex-montsjura.com/

For more information, please contact Lynsey Devon on lynsey@heavenpublicity.co.uk or call 07717078862.

The Pays de Gex  Community is a group of 26 French communes extending from the heart of the Jura Massif mountains to the meadows that line the Swiss border. It offers a natural holiday destination, close to Geneva, with fresh-mountain air at an affordable price. Facing Mont Blanc, guests can appreciate the stunning views across Lake Geneva and in the summer months, take a ramble along the top of the Haut-Jura in the centre of the national reserve. Discover 2,000 years of history at Fort L’Ecluse, a strategic passage between the Alps and the Jura ever since ancient Rome became a place of wonder. Explore Ferney and its castle: Voltaire the philosopher left his mark here and they even named the town after him: Ferney Voltaire. And science wizards will enjoy the home of the Large Hadron Collider, CERN, is located here.