View from the octagonal tower of the Château-fort de TrévouxView from the octagonal tower of the Château-fort de Trévoux
©View from the octagonal tower of the Château-fort de Trévoux|Romain CAVALLERO
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Monumental nuggets

Churches, Basilicas, castles (strong or not) and beautiful mansions: you absolutely must come and discover our monumental nuggets around Ars and Trévoux.

Here’s a selection not to be missed!


A region with such a rich past is bound to have its share of old stones. Have you ever heard of the Château de Fléchères, in Fareins? It’s the largest 17th-century château open to visitors in the Lyon region. The setting for numerous films, and passionately restored by its owners, it offers visitors a real immersion in the 17th and 18th centuries through a tour of the former kitchens, then two floors of reception rooms and apartments fully furnished with period furniture.

Speaking of stones, you’ll fall under the spell of the keep of the Château-fort de Trévoux, with its bichrome decor composed of alternating rings of ashlar in white limestone and golden stones. The remains of this mighty fortified castle will take you even further back in time. Built in two phases during the 14th century, then abandoned in 1563 when attacked by Protestant troops, it is an exceptional example of a late medieval fortified castle. The dungeon’s terrace offers an unsuspected panorama of the Monts d’Or, Monts du Lyonnais and Beaujolais. On the way down, you can discover the knight’s weapons and try on his helmets and pieces of armor.

Since we’re talking about a beautiful panorama, we’d recommend the one from the keep of the Château-fort d’Ambérieux-en-Dombes. It’s also good bait for suggesting that you discover another type of 14th-century fortified castle: the brick one, typical of the Dombes region!

For completeness, let’s mention the fortified castles of Saint-Bernard and Juis in Savigneux, which are not open to visitors but are always pleasant to pass by on one of our hikes.

The homes

And if we’re talking about hiking, you can’t miss the Lycée agricole de Cibeins park, open to the general public, and the discovery of this unusual site. The Lycée agricole was founded in 1918 by Edouard Herriot, mayor of Lyon, in a former residential château and its grounds. The school’s model farm, very modern for its time, stands on the other side of the Départementale 88C and bears the imprint of Tony Garnier. As the Lycée has since come under regional jurisdiction, the city of Lyon has preserved a large nursery a little further on, which supplies Lyon’s green spaces.

Religious heritage

Let’s move on to our religious heritage, because here too, the Ars and Trévoux area has plenty to offer, for all periods. Let’s start with the medieval church of Saint-Bernard, with its flamboyant Gothic porch added in front of the Romanesque portal (when the door is open, you can see the two dominant aesthetic trends of the Middle Ages at a glance). Next comes the chapelle de Chanteins built in the 11th century in a small hamlet in the commune of Villeneuve, followed by that of Saint-Didier-de-Formans, built in the 17th century. The basilique Saint-Sixte, in Ars, by Pierre-Marie Bossan (yes, the same as the Fourvière basilica in Lyon) leads the way for our contemporary religious buildings, closely followed by the monumental Saint-Symphorien church, in Trévoux. Let’s finish, in Ars, with the incredible semi-underground church Notre-Dame-de-la-Miséricorde (1500 seats!) by Pierre Pinsard, to whom the Ain department recently dedicated a book and an exhibition.