Flawer Fritillary - Val de Saône - Ain
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Our natural heritage

A protected natural area

Protected areas

Set off to discover a unique site, with 1,260 hectares of classified national heritage, offering you unspoilt nature and a now rare image of contact between land and water.

Let yourself be guided, on foot or by bike, along the Saône to discover this protected area with its unique landscape, its preserved vegetation and the birds that find refuge there.

Interpretation panels on animal and plant life will enhance your walk and give you a better understanding of the natural environment around you.




Val de Saône listed site

Ecological wealth

As the river Saône flows by, you’ll find flooded wet meadows, lônes and islands, ponds and alluvial woodlands. Many unusual plant and animal species find refuge here. This area has become a site of Community importance because of its ecological wealth.

Here’s a closer look at our ZNIEFFs (natural areas of ecological, faunistic and floristic interest), our Natura 2000 sites and our National Heritage Site !

Remarkable landscapes are listed, just like historic monuments, and can benefit from protection. This is the case here with the Val de Saône Classified Site: covering 1,260 hectares, over 14 km of river between Messimy-sur-Saône and Genouilleux, you can admire the links between land and water, with this rare mix of wet forests, hedged farmland, islands and oxbows.



Two Natura 2000 areas (the St-Didier-sur-Chalaronne and Garnerans sector on the one hand, and the Montmerle-sur-Saône, Guéreins and Genouilleux sector on the other) also cover a total of 4,706 hectares and showcase the floodplain meadows and livestock farming that are vital to their survival. These zones are a guarantee of reasoned and sustainable development.

Finally, there are 3 ZNIEFFs along your route. The creation of these 3 zones recognises the exceptional nature of the alluvial plain of the Saône, which, with its very gentle slope and slow, regular flooding, is home to some exceptional flora and fauna. Plant species of great interest include the common fritillary, summer violets, high violets and flowering rush, while the presence of the common curlew, European cheetah and corncrake justifies the classification of our region as an important bird conservation area (ZICO).