Ansouis at Provence’s Crossroads in the Luberon
Ansouis was a gift – 963 AD, and it still is!
This village first appears in a written record in 963 AD, referring to Lambert de Reillane, who donated Ansoye lands to the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Montmajour. This land in the Aigues valley belonged to his grandfather Foucher de Valensole.
Perched on a craggy outcrop, Ansouis is in the heart of intertwined vineyards and endless olive trees. Where village inhabitants enjoy expansive views of the Grand Luberon range and the Durance River valley. Physically elevated above the main route between Aix-en-Provence and Apt, the hamlet and its fortress were provided visibility to movement in the area during the Middle Ages. Heavy stone defensive walls allowed some minor comfort for inhabitants during those turbulent years.
Chateau d’Ansouis has a dungeon. Once a Celtic-Ligurian stronghold, its foundation was used to construct a military outpost and eventually a bastide for several generations of the Sabran family. Alterations to the castle occurred during several phases between the 12th and 17th centuries. The Chateau d’Ansouis changed hands in 2008 after almost 1,000 years within the Sabran clan; it remains open to the public for guided visits. Although not architecturally stunning, the building itself is worth visiting for the view of Mont Sainte-Victoire from the terrace.
This gem of a village in the Luberon earns its status as one of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Ansouis with its tiny laneways, houses built into ancient ramparts, and stone facades with brightly painted shutters, this town oozes charm while retaining elements from its medieval past. Read about the other villages in the Luberon and the rest of Provence on the Beaux Villages list.
Michel and Shirley often visit Ansouis for a gourmet lunch at La Closerie, from their home in Sablet.
Ansouis Visitor Tips
Parking can be challenging at busy times of the year, but the village is small, so once you find a spot, it’s not far away from the old town.
The market takes place on Sunday mornings.
Make sure to visit:
Église Saint-Martin d’Ansouis, dating from the 12th century, this medieval church sits in a commanding position at the village’s top. The austere exterior does not give any clues to the light-filled interior.
Château d’Ansouis (the castle) is no longer accessible for guided tours, but you can peek through the iron gate and get glimpses from different angles in the village.