LavoirLavoir de la Reyssouze à Journans. Ain.
©Lavoir de la Reyssouze à Journans. Ain.|MORGANE MONNERET


Water flowing from the source

This village is a firm favourite with fans of nature, experiencing the good things in life, peace-and-quiet, and also with poets. If you fit into those categories, then what are you waiting for ?

So tiny and so pretty

The village of Journans is only 10 km from Bourg-en-Bresse and is surrounded by water, woodland and vineyards. An environment that tells its own story.

The stone architecture has managed to survive through the times, and we can still see today evidence of the winegrower’s house, the wine cellars and the steps used to access them.

Take a leisurely stroll along the two parallel roads through the village and take your time to try and make out the details of the past.

Between the vineyards and the woodland

Here, we are most definitely not in a museum-village.

The houses are very much alive. Some magnificent flowers here, some garden furniture there and people who seem to have all the time in the world. How lucky are they!

Today in the 10 hectares of vineyards, the traditions are carried through the ages, providing Journans with a unique setting of acres of vineyards and woodland.

Rural village

A road leads up to the church that was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century using local stone. Not far from the forest, the winegrowers come to worship their patron saint, Saint Vincent at this church. Nearby, you’ll stop to admire the 400-year-old Sully lime tree with a huge trunk, damaged by lightening. Carry on up to the early church, today known as the chapel of Saint Valérien. From up there, there is a superb view over the rooftops of Journans, the surrounding hills and the Bresse plain.

Dingue d’art

But that is not all. Journans is a rural village and so it has often served as inspiration for artists, sculptors and others.  But in Journans, there is no showing off. The artists are from here, they live here and work away peacefully in their workshops. There is a shop, ‘Dingue d’art’, that is however very much visible in the lower part of the village.

Let’s go to the shop

The story of water and wine

The history of Journans comes from wine, and also water ! Before wandering the streets of the village, go along the little footpath that leads to Reyssouze Source. This river that winds through the Bresse woodland is the longest one in the department. It originates here and then flows into the Saône, 75 km further on.

Just like the village, this place is magical. The clear waters fill a circular basin. The water arrives here after a mysterious journey through the limestone depths, a typical karst source of the region. Then, the water flows into a second rectangular basin, before reaching the 19th-century washhouse with double roof framework.

We can walk around this source, find somewhere to sit near the washhouse and just take in the atmosphere, listen to the trickling waters and why not read a book.

Never sell your soul to the devil

In Journans, there is a local legend behind the name Reyssouze. A bad-tempered woman went by this name, and one day received a visit from the devil.

He offered her a deal in exchange for her soul: whatever she is doing at midnight, she’ll be free to do for her whole life.

The greedy woman accepted the deal and gathered several pieces of gold with the intention to collect and count them forever. She was afraid to miss this chance and so she started early. But as midnight approached, she was overcome by an uncontrollable desire that she tried her best to fight off, but when the fateful moment came, it was not gold that would be flowing forever, but the river which would be named after her.

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