In Georges Blanc’s village

A visit to Vonnas, the French village famous for its great chef, a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars. And much more

08-10-2017

The map summing up the details of Village Blanc in Vonnas, not far from Lyon. A town entirely dedicated to taste (photo from www.georgesblanc.com)

Georges Blanc’s restaurant in Vonnas, 3 Michelin stars, is a not-to-be-missed destination for any gourmet, the compulsory Mecca for lovers of the real French cuisine. But this magic place, not too far from Lyon and Geneva, is much, much more. This is why this time we want to take a moment to put aside the gourmet restaurant, holding three stars since 1981, and tell you about the “rest” which is remarkable.

The Blanc family has a very fascinating and rich history. The family of restaurateurs settled in this secluded village back in 1872. These three generations worked hard: they started with a 120 square metres wide restaurant, a very simple affair, and now have over 4 hectares in the village.

The first Michelin star arrived in 1929, the second in 1931: something incredible if we think the first Italian edition of the Red Guide dates back to 1956. Yet it is with Georges, the son of Jean and Paulette, born in 1943, that the restaurant takes a further leap: besides conquering the third star in 1981, in the space of fifty years he created an empire that goes beyond the boundaries of Vonnas.

Georges Blanc, born in 1943
 

Georges Blanc, born in 1943
 

Bresse chicken in cream sauce
 

Bresse chicken in cream sauce
 

Blanc is not just a chef, a restaurant and hotel owner, he’s a real entrepreneur whose fil rouge, all along, is defined as “l'esprit Blanc”.

He’s a real star who never stopped, not for a single moment, and always worked to support his region, a real ambassador of taste. Since 1985 he’s also the president of a committee that promotes the famous Bresse chicken which you must taste in its various recipes in each one of his restaurants.

Village Georges Blanc is a real village within the village. It’s hard to explain how, but that’s how it is. There are two hotels including a five star Relais & Châteaux, where there’s also a gourmet restaurant (with around 130,000 bottles and 3,000 labels in the cellar) and a four star hotel.

There’s Ancienne Auberge dans l’Ain which is the village bistro where they offer extraordinary home-made food: it’s the faithful reproduction of a beginning-of-the-century hotel and offers the home-made dishes of the time. It’s a robust, rich and tasty cuisine that you’ve got to like.

Traditional French cuisine perfectly cooked; snails, foie gras, frogs, gâteau Bressan and the extraordinary Chicken Bresse in cream sauce. Continuing the visit of the village, there’s the pastry and ice cream shop, the deli boutique (1,500 square metres), an extraordinary wine shop, a beautiful spa where you can relax after a meal, and three swimming pools (of which one is roofed). It is all surrounded by a huge park, including a pond, a pavilion for events, a cinema and a heliport.

A magic place, a unique setting where you can really take a break and leave space for pure pleasure.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso