•Vaucluse (84240) • Population: 892 • Altitude: 365 m
Ansouis is a very pretty old village, built on a rocky prominence on an otherwise flat plain of the Durance, south of the Luberon mountain chain. The village is well restored, with neat stone walls, and has a fair number of ancient little streets for a wandering visit, with a 13th-century church and a nicely restored chateau at the top.
Ansouis is one of the Most Beautiful Villages (Plus Beaux Villages) of France.
The few streets in Ansouis are picturesque, with most buildings of stone, some of them seeming to be growing from the living rock of the hill, and some very ancient doorways.
There are a lot of flowers in the village. Some are in gardens along the stone-walled terraces and in the neat gardens of the village houses. There are also little gardens around the village with hand-lettered signs giving the names of the regional wild flowers; an in-town botanical walk with a personal touch.
Built in amongst the houses is a beautiful half-round bell tower, dating from the 16th century and topped with a rather angular campanile.
The town's Musée Extraordinaire has a varied collection, from treasures picked up on distant sea voyages to local geological artifacts. The museum is (like the chateau) open in the afternoons.
On a recent (2017) visit to Ansouis, the village had been decorated with large posters of very ancient village scenes, in the original black and white. The old images were strategically placed in the locations that the scenes depicted.
The Chateau d'Ansouis was build as a hilltop fortification sometime before the year 961. It has evolved over the centuries to its current form of a fabulous estate-house, but retains some of the fortified walls and watchtowers of the earlier versions, and is classified as a national site et monument historique.
Visiting hours are afternoons only (14h30 - 18h30); in the winter only on Tuesday.
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History of Ansouis
First record, 961 Ansoyse
Prehistoric: Vestiges include pottery, signs of a lithic (stoneware) industry and millstones.
Medieval: Ansoui belonged to the counts of Forcalquier until the 13th century, when it was aquired by the Sabran, a powerful Provençal family, who still own the chateau.
Tel : 0490 075 029
• GPS: 43.738029, 5.463632
IGN (1/25,000) #3243 OT "Pertuis, Lourmarin"
Commerce in Ansouis is handled by the Vival, a reasonably large village grocery store, located on Boulevard des Platanes. The two possibilities for Ansouis dining are also located here, just across the street.
The Patisserie d'Antan is a great bakery/deli/lunch place with an all-you-can-eat buffet style, and with seats out on a shady terrace. The building it's in is an innocuous (ugly?) communal building the also houses the post office and the local medical facility. The café-restaurant's offerings are great and the service is excellent. Food is excellent, with all local ingredients. Buffet meal price 10€, or 12€ with coffee and desert.
An adjacent café, Bar des Sports, is more classical, old village style, and has a more classical menu, including pizza. Their plat du jour is 13€ (2017), with outdoor terrace beside the street beneath giant plane trees. We sat here for our afternoon coffee, with the cicadias loud on the trees beside us.
Department 84, Vaucluse Buses
- See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
• Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
• Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
• Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.