Yes, there is a religious place, important for Catholics near Lyon. Try to say its name: Ars-sur-Formans!
I find many French words so difficult to pronounce correctly and on top of that French don’t make it any easier for me to say it. How long name do you need for such a little village? There are always so many ‘sur’ in the French names, did you notice? But anyway it’s not important. I will get there one day with my pronunciation and with memorizing the French names. What’s important is the fact that it’s worth going to Ars-sur-Formans. Why?
Because it’s not far away from Lyon. The village is located in the south-western part of the Ain department 33 km north of Lyon and 10 km east of Villefranche-sur-Saône in the heart of the Dombes region – known for its many lagoons.
Because of the landscapes which lead to the place. Ars-sur-Formans is on the Dombes plateau while to the west it borders the hills of the Val de Saône. A small river, the Formans, passes through the commune, it runs from east to west to join the Saône river near Saint-Bernard. Enjoy the views!
Because of Jean-Marie Vianney – do you know him? He was a French parish priest often referred to as the “Curé d’Ars”. He has been canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925, became a saint and the patron saint of the priests of France and in 1929 he was even proclaimed “patron saint of the priests of the entire world”. He has been internationally known for his pastoral work in his parish in Ars, because of the radical spiritual transformation of the community and its surroundings.
Because of the basilica! It was built from 1862 on the basis of the ancient church dating from the twelfth century. The works were financed in particular by a lottery, the two prizes and the watch of the parish priest of Ars. It has been constructed by Pierre Bossan, the same architect who built Notre-Dame de Fourvière!
Because of the castles near Ars. I would say there are at least 3- 4 beautiful castles next to the Ars-sur-Formans. Each one is located more less about 6 km away. If you have time and if you like French châteaux you should visit! Here you are: Trévoux Château which was an important tolled crossing point on the Empire’s land. On top of the stunning views of the Saône, Dombes plateau and Beaujolais, you can have a closer look into this building which was actually listed as a Monument Historique in 1913. It is one of the Ain region’s top sites. (Address: Château-fort Allée du château-fort 01600 Trévoux, 6 km from Ars).Another is The Château de Fléchères which is a beautifully preserved piece of 17th century architecture. It’s amazing building surrounded by 40 hectares of lush green parkland which include the English gardens, fountains and a lake ( Address: 933 130 allée de Fléchères 01480 Fareins, about 6km from Ars). Lastly, Château d’Ambérieux en Dombes whose walls and 4 towers are open to visitors and give the views of Dombes and Lyon regions. (Address: 56 rue Gombette 01330 Ambérieux-en-Dombes, about 6km from Ars). Let’s don’t forget about The Château de Saint Bernard which has a very colorful history and has been a national monument since 1997. The château has some fantastic views over the River Saône and well-maintained gardens (A bit further 8km from Ars; Address : 152 avenue Suzanne Valadon 01600 Saint-Bernard)
Because of the Museum de Cire. I think it’s very simple wax museum but you can learn in a funny and easy way the story of Curé d’Ars. Why not?
Because you shouldn’t miss Monument de la Rencontre Ars-sur-Formans. Monument which celebrates St. John Vianney’s arrival in Ars in 1818 and when he met the little shepherd: “You showed me the way to Ars, I’ll show you the way to heaven.” The story is moving, isn’t it? Especially when you think that this little boy died just a few days after the death of Curé d’Ars….following the way to heaven…
Because St. John Vianney’s house is worth a visit. Why? Because this 18th-century house has been kept as it was with all St. John Vianney’s furniture, religious items, and belongings. It’s totally free to visit and looks so realistic. Back to the past…
Because they are making it so welcoming to visit it. Check out here: and be sure to meet nice, kind people there
Interesting Note: In 1986, Pope John Paul II, during his pontifical visit to France in 1986, visited Ars-sur-Formans as a tribute to his former parish priest who apparently inspired our Pope to become a priest in a first place. That is why there are so many Polish Pilgrims visiting this place. Today Ars welcomes 550,000 pilgrims a year coming from all over the world.
Oh, la la I thought it’s going to be a very short post but this only confirms that this little town of Ars-sur-Formans is really worth a visit. Do you agree?