Ansouis is a village in the southern Luberon situated 30 km north of Aix-en-Provence and labeled one of the "most beautiful villages of France".
The hilltop village of Ansouis has a historic heritage unique in Provence. You will enjoy strolling along in the coolness of its lanes and fountains, exploring its thousand-year-old castle and its fortified church. Before leaving, take the time to tour the Musée Extraordinaire, a quirky sort of museum to visit with the family.
Wine lovers might want to stop at the Museum des Arts et des Métiers du Vin (from the vine to the glass) at the Château de Turcan, where they will discover rare collections and masterpieces by the Fellows of the Craft.
Just a little more than a thousand residents enjoy an exceptional lifestyle here where the living is easy, in all seasons since the houses are set out to the south and east of the hill and sheltered from the Mistral wind.
The château d'Ansouis
At the top of the village, the Château d'Ansouis, a former possession of the House of Sabran becoming a Bastide in the 17th century, watches over the Valley of the Durance. It faces the Mourre Nègre, which rises to 1125 metres altitude, the culminating point of the Luberon mountain range.
The château's s geographic position between Aix-en-Provence and Apt gave it in the Middle Ages the power of control over the Aigues Valley.
Today, it is a private residence that can be visited throughout the year.
With construction first starting in the 10th century, two eras coexist here: the medieval and the Renaissance. It has conserved its keep and the fortress' turrets as well as the ramparts with their crenellations and machicolations. The château also houses a beautiful collection of tapestries and furniture as well as some of the most beautiful plasterwork in Provence. Its gardens are ornamented with topiaries and from its terrace you can see the Sainte Victoire mountain.
St-Martin church in Ansouis
On the château's ramparts, you can admire the St Martin Church, in which the interior décor contrasts with the feudal sobriety of its façade. The choir and chapels are exquisite - paintings, sculptures, frescoes, relics, decorated panels and a 17th century altarpiece.
In 1986, Claude Berri filmed the wedding scene from Manon des Sources.
The musée extraordinaire
At the foot of the village, visit the Musée Extraordinaire, a museum devoted to the sea and, above all, its inhabitants. It's an amazing space conceived by Georges Mazoyer, a skilled diver and artist. He disguises stones as fish, he sculpts, he paints and, to our great delight, he has transformed a hall in the house into a small blue grotto that plunges us into the undersea world.
The musée des arts et des métiers du vin
Outside the village, on the road to Pertuis, the Musée des Arts et des Métiers du Vin at the Château de Turcan, presents in a 1300 m² space the whole process of wine-making, from working the vines to the consumption of the precious nectar. The museum presents more than 3000 tools and pieces of equipment, one of the oldest wine presses, a collection of glass art going back to the 15th century and also the unique pieces by the Fellows of the Craft
In the areas surrounding Ansouis:
- The Ochre of Roussillon (16 km) and the Colorado Provençal of Rustrel (14 km)
- The hilltop villages of Bonnieux (16 km) and Lacoste (19 km)
- The cliffs of Buoux (8 km)