GeographyThe site of this small village of medium mountains on the second plate of the the Jura, to 15 km of Champagnole and 30 km of Lons-the-Salt maker, is remarkable by its position in overhang above the Lac of Chalain which constitutes an important part of the territory of the commune of Fontenu.
The karstic relief characteristic of the area of the Jurassic lakes offers here some of its more beautiful aspects with its pits and its underground lakes favourable with speleology and especially with the Reculée of Chalain. With its impressive cliffs (until nearly 80 meters by places), this moved back is used as ECRIN with the one of the more natural big lakes of France (232 hectares: almost 3 km length, more than 1 km broad and a maximum depth of more than 30 m) whose East end constitutes the field of Chalain arranged by the department of the the Jura in important tourist center with its top-of-the-range camp-site and its base of leisures.
HistoryIts name comes from the word fountain which means in the beginning source. The village-street east is indeed installed along an underground brook which supplied various wells as well as a pond now filled but visible on the land register of the XIXe century. Some of these fountains were restored within the framework of the inheritance of country a few years ago.
The locatable human presence on the territory of the commune of Fontenu is very old and the excavations led to the western end of the Lac of Chalain in 1904 and included in the recent years updated an establishment extending from - 4000 with - 750 before J. - C. . The extremely many vestiges of a lake Cité occupied of the Neolithic until the Bronze Age are gathered with the archaeological museum of Lons-the-Salt maker, in particular a splendid dugout dug in a tree trunk and perfectly preserved in the marnes of the edge of the lake which did not have besides exactly the same configuration as today.
The territory seems to be remained thereafter with the variation of the Gallo-Roman establishment then burgonde in the close valley of Ain and it is only with the Middle Ages, towards XIIIe century which one notes the existence of a castle-relay of hunting in the content of moved back, on a light hillock. There remain the ruins of this building altered during the centuries before being unoccupied and finally accidentally burnt in August 1945. The vast property which included the lake belonged to various families before leading to Blandin de Chalain whose local branch is extinct in the years 1950 then qu" it did not reside here any more for some time. This family had made build beside the old building a residence which one called " small the château" and a farmer had installed to exploit the grounds. She had even launched at the beginning of the XXe century, in the place of an older hydraulic mill, a small factory of tournery which manufactured inter alia reels intended for the silk spinning mills of Lyon by using the small water fall to the resurgence of an underground river called the Blue Lac (one finds also the denomination Gour Bleu). the department will become owner of the field at the end of the Fifties and will transform it into international tourist center.
The best grounds of the plate (rather poor despite everything) were undoubtedly cleared with the fine of the Middle Ages and finally constituted a small village depend on the castle of Chalain with a vault of the XVIIe devoted to Saint Bonnet and undoubtedly served by the chaplain of the lord. The village ( become common ) was then attached to various parishes to finish by fastening with Songeson in the years 1900 and a little later fastening with the parish of Saffloz, itself included today in a vaster unit.
The application of the Ferry laws at the end of the XIXe century led to the opening of a elementary school to single class which will close in 1964.
the beginning of the XXe century saw important progress: the installation of electricity produced by the turbine of Marigny was done in 1924 and the running water was brought by pumping of a source of Chalain in the years 1927-1928. the station nearest was Chatillon-on-Ain, to 8 km, where one went to foot or in carriole, drawn in general by oxen.
The small village of Fontenu continuous to practice essentially the breeding of milch cows of race montbéliarde for the manufacture of county, but the number of farmers strongly fell: from a dozen still in the years 1950, it passed to two since ten years, and short-term will be reduced to only one.
The surge of tourists generated in summer by the Lake Chalain located on the territory of the common key partly the activity of the village: rather many secondary residents come to pass part of the holidays in houses which they make restore and the important repercussions of the nights of the camp-site constitute a significant contribution for the budget of the commune.
The beautiful season is rather short besides in this country of medium mountains at the often marked winters which isolate the small villages from the surroundings without bringing the conditions of tourism of winter sport: it is necessary to go up on the third plate to practice the ski touring.
an important part of the territory of the commune is wooded with natural coppices of leafy trees and plantations of coniferous trees which develop on the distant meadows abandoned by agriculture. The practice of the affouage persists and the heating with wood remains prevalent.
During the recent time it is necessary to notice the long presence at the post of mayor of Robert Perrin which during 36 years directed the commune and contributed to its modernization. During these six mandates, of 1953 to 1989, the roads were gradually asphalted, the transformed drinkable water provision, the sewerage system set up gradually, the arable lands re-allocated in 1988-89 and the field of the lake of Chalain arranged in tourist center by the department of the the Jura.
Thanks to the economic consequences of the camp-site of Chalain, its successor Louis Girardot (constrained with the resignation for disease in 2003) could move the town hall in the building of the old cheese dairy and transform the central street of the village by important installations whose high cost however led the commune to be involved in debt heavily.
DemographyThe population has decreased regularly for several decades but its ageing seems corrected by some new installations in apartments arranged by the commune. Let us note however that today a house on two became a second home, occupied mainly during the beautiful season.
The inhabitants of Fontenu are called the Roclins by reference to the rocks which are one of the dominant marks of the landscape.
Places and monumentsVault of the XVIIe century which dominates the village and the Lake Chalain
- environnement.gouv.fr * http://www.simonknott.co.uk/jurachurches/jurafontenu.htm
Fontenu on the site of the National Geographical Institute
- Fontenu on the site of INSEE
- Fontenu on the site of Quid
- Localization of Fontenu on a chart of France and communes bordering
- Plane on Fontenu on Mapquest
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