Arvière-en-Valromey is a commune of the Ain, in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, 50 km east of Ambérieu-en-Bugey by road. This is a new municipality created on January 1, 2019 following the merger of Virieu-le-Petit, its headquarters (300 inhabitants), Brénaz (105 inhabitants), Chavornay (222 inhabitants) and Lochieu (90 inhabitants), almost 720 inhabitants now.
The territory of the locality is vast of 37 km ², coming from the natural and historical region of Bugey: it is dominated on the east by the Grand Colombier massif, culminating at more than 1500 m of altitude, crossed by the course of Arvière, which has its source in the heart of the Valromey valley, between the Hauteville plateau and the Grand Colombier massif, which explains the name of the new community.
Rich of a terroir always dedicated in part to the production of cheeses (Comté appellation) and wines (appellation Roussette du Bugey), Arvière-en-Valromey has a historical heritage of interest and highlights its environment of exception appreciated by the amateurs of tourism green (hikes), the departmental museum of Bugey-Valromey proving another asset justifying a stage at the foot of the Grand Colombier and its pass became mythical thanks to the Tour de France cyclist.
The departmental museum of Bugey-Valromey established since 1974 on the small village of Lochieu is a magnificent example of preserved heritage and a cultural site that can please all audiences. Created by an association, now owned by the Department, it includes a beautifully restored 16th century Renaissance house, refurbished barns and modern buildings whose architecture is in keeping with older buildings.
The collections presented, built up over the decades by the association "Sites et monuments du Valromey" and supplemented by public organizations, are presented to the public in a thematic way. A permanent exhibition evokes "The domestic life in Bugey" from 1850 to 1950, the daily life of these mid-mountain inhabitants (work, beliefs, furniture...) and another the history of this region. They are housed in the Renaissance house.
Objects related to agriculture and crafts (including woodworking) are presented in the annex buildings.
Art is not forgotten, far from it. With paintings, engravings and photographs of famous artists that evoke the Bugey, but also a singular permanent exhibition gathering some 200 contemporary works in turned wood.
Finally, note that the museum offers educational activities for young audiences and regularly hosts temporary exhibitions.
Open every day from April 1st to the end of Toussaint holidays except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Price: from 4 to 7 euros. Information on +33 4 79 87 52 23.
It is still on this same old village of Lochieu that are located the remains of the Carthusian Arvière (or Arvières), a monastery founded in the twelfth century in the heart of the forest, facing the Grand Colombier. Perfectly isolated from the world, the religious lived in some sort in autarky by exploiting a very vast domain thanks to the donations of the lords and bishops of the region. The monks hunted at the Revolution, their forest was aggregated to the public domain, and the buildings of the Carthusian monastery constituted in three poles (conventual, utilitarian - bakery, stables etc - and dedicated to the spiritual solitude) were dismantled. Only the foundations and basements of the church and the monastery remain. But the site, which then housed a forest house and a summer camp (now closed) has retained great interest.
An "ethno-botanical" garden composed in particular of plants such as once cultivated by the monks has been reconstructed, and sculptures evoking the world of Chartreuses have been installed. In addition, the entire estate is classified as a "biological reserve".
This is what makes the old abbey a hiking goal (partly also accessible to motorists) of the first order, since views of the Bugey and the valley, in addition to the remains, await visitors for whom an area is developed. A booklet is available to understand the history and richness of places. Information on +33 4 79 87 51 04 or +33 4 79 81 29 06.
On the village of Virieu-le-Petit, the parish church is worth a look, like the ruins of the old castle seigneurial Mauclerc (XIV). However, the former municipality is especially famous for being the starting point for brave hikers who aim to reach the summit of Grand Colombier.
In fact, the latter is obviously the major asset of the new municipality in terms of leisure activities "nature".
Its summit, the highest point of Bugey, in the south of the Jura mountains, is accessible via a spectacular winding road, but also several footpaths, some of which follow the GR 9 circuit that connects Saint-Amour in the Jura to Saint-Pons- the Blackberries in the Var at the edge of the Mediterranean.
Exceptional panoramic views reward hikers: the Belledonne, Mont-Blanc, Rhone, Bourget, Annecy and Léman lakes... Orientation tables are also set up, especially near the Croix symbolizes the highest level of the massif.
In terms of nature, these hikes also make it possible to apprehend a varied but rich environment, between meadows and forests. Not to mention the waterfalls or small canyons dug by the streams and torrents...
Be careful, some routes are forbidden or very disadvised in winter.
Maps of the marked footpaths or VTT and information on +33 4 79 81 29 06.
We contact the same number if, before winning the summits, we want to take a break from a cheese producer or a winemaker...