AN ANNIVERSARY IN VONNAS
80 years in the stars
It was in 1929 that the Michelin Guide — which is celebrating its 100th edition this year — awarded Elisa Blanc her first star, followed by a second in 1931.
Georges Blanc would add a third in 1981; a remarkable and unique example of continuity for a family that had farmed in Bresse for generations, and arrived on the Place du Marché in Vonnas in 1872 to open a café and home-made lemonade shop.
This is also an important year for our Spa, which has just been honoured by being awarded the 2009 Trophy for Best Spa in the World by the Relais & Châteaux Association with hotels and restaurants in 55 countries.
It's no surprise, then, that a magnificent park of over a hectare - an extension to the garden of the Ancienne Auberge - opened last year, around this light, informal space devoted to relaxation and the well-being of mind and body.
The centrepiece of this beautiful combination of greenery, water and flowers is a traditional half-timbered Bresse dovecote, dating from 1704 with impressive stone columns towering up to a height of 11 metres. It has been recreated as an identical copy of the original, using authentic materials.
The “Dovecote Walk” is a delightful stroll and an enjoyable way of learning about the 150 fine and rare tree species that line the route.
Visitors also have a chance to explore the vineyard, monumental fountain, French-style garden, kitchen garden, orchard, pond and superb bronze animals created by Christian Maas, and finally the surprising vistas and magnificent gazebos.
As night falls, the whole area is lit up to make it even more magical.