Known as the land of a thousand lakes, La Dombes is a bucolic region that's famed for its farm-fresh produce. People come from far and wide to sample frogs' legs, local chicken or carp at one of the area's many inns. Located just east of the Beaujolais region, this marshy area invites leisurely walks and bike rides through peaceful countryside that seems like little changed over the centuries.
In fact, these étangs (shallow lakes) were created from malarial swamps over the past 600 years by farmers. Today they are used as fish ponds and then drained to grow crops on the fertile lakebed. While it's not big on sights, this rural territory makes an idyllic counterpoint to the bustle of Lyon, 40km to the southwest.