Ars, Shrine Town and Trévoux, land of Art and History

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Town of Art & HistoryMost beautiful detours of France


soaking up the sun on the quayside terrace


Come here by boat, or take a scenic drive through Ain, and find you could happily spend hours just wandering along the river bank. Trévoux is a charming Renaissance-style town in the Saône Valley, just north of Lyon, which will take you on a journey back in time.

Trévoux – wealthy historic town on the banks of the Saône

Being situated on the banks of the River Saône at the end of Charlemagne’s reign meant that Trévoux was in a strategic position on the border of the kingdom, consequently taking up the role of border post. In fact, the town had an important status throughout its development, most notably as capital of the Principality of the Dombes from the 1400s until the French Revolution in 1789.

Fortified castle ruins tower over the small hillside town of Trévoux, which has preserved many tokens of its momentous past, giving it a unique charm. You can witness this for yourself by visiting the castle keep, Dombes Parliament building, its various mansions and even the village’s apothecary, a vestige of the former hospital. A lovely place to stop and soak up some history on the banks of the river.

Ars – home of the Patron Saint of Parish Priests

Several kilometres away, history played just an important role in Ars-sur-Formans. More specifically, the story of one man: St. John Vianney, whose legacy is forever entwined within the village’s history.

He arrived here as a priest in 1818 and his work was so highly esteemed that it would soon attract flocks of pilgrims. He was named “Patron Saint of all the Parish Priests of the world” by Pope Pius XI in 1929 and even today thousands of pilgrims visit Ars every year from all over the world.

Take delight in wandering through the streets, around the magnificent basilica, St. John Vianney’s house or even the waxwork museum. The atmosphere in the village is really quite special and is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Take a 360° virtual tour of Ars! 

Practical information

Opening hours

All year round, daily.


Free access.

Languages spoken

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Live art and crafts in Trévoux

In Trévoux old town, Rue des Arts is home to the shops, workshops and galleries of all different kinds of craftspeople, such as painters, sculptors, stringed-instrument-makers, ceramists and upholsterers. They especially bring the town to life during the  craft markets which take place here on the first Sunday of every month from April to December.

Ars, major city-shrine

The Basilica in Ars-sur-Formans is the most visited attraction in the whole of Ain, with over 450,000 visitors every year!

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