Mack Prioleau explores France’s Bresse region

Mack Prioleau on Poulet de Bresse, Bourg-en-Bresse, and More

It may seem like a crazy, are-you-out-of-your-mind idea; visiting a foreign country for its chicken (unless you’re perhaps a chef, restaurant owner, or in the fried chicken business) but I’d still like to visit the Bresse region in the future—soon, I hope. Hi, my name is Mack Prioleau, and today I’d like to talk a little bit about Bresse.

Bresse is part of the Rhône-Alpes and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté regions. It is a rural part of France that consists mostly of farms. The main source of income for the people of Bresse is chicken farming, and it is estimated that the region produces and sells an astounding 1,200,000 million chickens every year. To date, there are over three hundred recorded chicken stockbreeders in the region.

On that note, you may be wondering why Bresse is famous for its chickens. Well, here’s a little bit of trivia about that.

The story goes, back in 1591, a carriage accident forced Henry IV to make an emergency stop in Bresse, where he was served chicken meat. It was said that he enjoyed the taste of the meat so much that he “demanded its inclusion on his courtly menu.” And the rest, as they say, is history (literally, in this case, if the accounts were true).

Considered as the best table chicken in the world with the highest quality standards, poulet-de-Bresse maintains its high quality by following the strict regulations of the appellation d’origine controlee or AOC. The AOC is a certification granted by France to some of its regions to protect their unique local regional/geographical standards of production for certain products like wines, cheeses, and agricultural produce. The poulet-de-Bresse received its AOC certification in 1957.

Exploring Bresse

Chicken isn’t the only reason for tourists to visit Bresse. In Bourg-en-Bresse (which is where the famous Bresse chickens are mostly produced), you can visit the old town where you can see well-preserved half-timber houses built during the 15th century.

Other architectural masterpieces you can view also include the Notre Dame Church, the beautiful mansions of Maison Hugon, and Maison Gorrevod; the Brou Museum, Brou church, and Portes de Jacobins.

There are inns in the region that you can stay in for a modest room at an affordable price. If you’re looking for a place to stay near Bourg-en-Bresse, you can check out the Le Lion D’Or inn located in the village of Romenay. Oh, and while you’re there, you can also ask the hotel for a poulet-de-Bresse meal so you can finally have a taste of the region’s famous chicken and discover for yourself why it’s famous the world over.

Also, if you do decide to stay in Romenay, I recommend that you take the time to visit Cuisery, which is known as the “Village of Books.” This little medieval town is a haven for book lovers! If you’re looking for first editions and collectible books, immerse yourself in the town’s vintage book stores.

So, do you think you’ll be up for a trip to Bresse? Please share your thoughts. You may reach me, Mack Prioleau, through this site.