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View of Ars with the basilica
View of Ars with the basilica
Coat of arms of Ars-sur-Formans
Coat of arms
Location of Ars-sur-Formans
Ars-sur-Formans is located in France
Ars-sur-Formans is located in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Coordinates: 45°59′34″N 4°49′25″E / 45.9928°N 4.8236°E / 45.9928; 4.8236Coordinates: 45°59′34″N 4°49′25″E / 45.9928°N 4.8236°E / 45.9928; 4.8236
IntercommunalityCC Dombes-Saône Vallée
 • Mayor (2014-2020) Richard Paccaud
5.5 km2 (2.1 sq mi)
 • Density250/km2 (650/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
01021 /01480
Elevation226–281 m (741–922 ft)
(avg. 240 m or 790 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Ars-sur-Formans is a commune in the Ain department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of eastern France.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Arsois or Arsoises[1]


The town was served by a metre-gauge Tramway from 1897 to 1951, from Ambérieu and Cerdon

The village is 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. Ars-sur-Formans is on the Dombes plateau while to the west it borders the fertile hills of the Val de Saône. A small river, the Formans, passes through the commune.

The D44 road from Savigneux west to Beauregard forms much of the northern border of the commune. Access to the village is by road D904 going west from Savigneux and continuing to join the D934 west of the commune. The road D888 also runs south-east of the village to Rancé.[2]

The Formans river runs from east to west across the commune just south of the village to join the Saône river near Saint-Bernard.[2]


The name of the commune comes from Arsa meaning "burnt". Long known simply as Ars, the commune changed its name to Ars-sur-Formans by a decree of 12 October 1956 published in the Official Journal on the 18th of the same month.[3]


The name Ars appeared as early as the year 969. In the 11th century Ars was one of the many strongholds of the Lordship of Villars and his mansion was located next to the church. In 1226 Jean of Ars sold his land to the monastery of Île Barbe but Villars retained sovereignty. In the 14th century, the protection of the castle was divided between the Lord of Villars and that of Beaujeu.

The village was burned by the troops of Viry in 1409 and was obliged to submit to the consequences of the Wars of Religion throughout the following century.

The parish of Ars belonged to the Principality of Dombes and the Châtellenie of Trévoux before being absorbed with all of the Dombes, into the Kingdom of France in 1762.

In 1790 Ars was made a commune of the Ain Department, belonging to the Canton of Trévoux, then attached to Reyrieux in 1985.

Since the mid-19th century, the name of Ars is associated with its canonized parish-priest, Saint Jean-Marie Vianney. Well before his 1925 canonisation by Pope Pius XI there were many pilgrimages. On 6 October 1986, Pope John Paul II travelled to the village of Ars-sur-Formans, during his third visit to France.


Arms of Ars-sur-Formans

Paly of six Or and Azure.


The Town Hall
The War Memorial

List of Mayors of Ars-sur-Formans[4]

From To Name Party Position
? 1808 François Cinier
1808 1815 Antoine Mandy
1815 1821 Michel Sève
1821 1831 Antoine Mandy
1831 1838 Michel Sève
1838 1879 Claude Prosper Garnier des Garets
1879 1884 Gaspard Sève
1884 1896 Jean-Baptiste Mandy-Trève
1896 1904 Michel Verchère
1904 1912 André Benoît Trève
1912 1915 Jean-François Cinier Trève
1915 1919 Jean-Claude Mandy
1919 1944 Jean-François Cinier Trève
1944 1945 Louis Gillet
1945 1947 Antoine Mandy Demole
1947 1965 Pierre Paturel
1965 1977 Jean-Claude Dupont
1977 1983 André Gillet
1983 1995 Henri Dutruge
1995 2008 Patrick Sandron
2008 2014 Patrick Duvivier
2014 2020 Richard Paccaud

(Not all data is known)


Ars-sur-Formans has twinning associations with:[5]


In 2009 the commune had 1,326 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of municipalities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]

Population change (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
222 211 230 268 304 337 399 501 510
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
522 492 561 583 584 516 522 512 481
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
495 473 497 488 450 441 470 481 522
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2009 - -
460 496 480 719 851 1,100 1,326 - -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)

Population of Ars-sur-Forman

Culture and heritage[edit]

Civil heritage[edit]

The commune has many sites that are registered as historical monuments:

  • The Park on the Chemin de ChateauLogo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[6]
  • The Girls' School and Orphanage of Providence (1827)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[7]
  • A House at Rue des Ecoles (19th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[8]
  • A School at Rue des Ecoles (1906)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[9]
  • A House at Rue Jean-Marie Vianney (19th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[10]
  • The Town Hall / School at Rue Jean-Marie Vianney (1840)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[11]
  • The Sainte-Philomène Garden at Rue Jean-Marie VianneyLogo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[12]
  • The Chateau des Garets ParkLogo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[13]
  • The Sainte-Anne Farmhouse at Champ du Chateau (19th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[14]

Religious heritage[edit]

The commune has several religious buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments:

  • The Croix des Combes (Combes Cross) (1853)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[15]
  • The Monumental Cross of the 1847 Jubilee (1847)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[16]Logo monument historique - noir sans texte.svg[17]
  • The Croix Micholet (Micholet Cross) (1612)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[18]
  • The Croix Tonneau (Tonneau Cross) (18th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[19]
  • The Presbytery for the Priest of Ars (18th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[20]
  • The former Church and Basilica (12th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[21]
  • The Garnier des Garets family Tomb (1856)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[22]
  • The Presbytery (1886)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[23]
  • The Presbytery of Saint Curé d'Ars (18th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[24] The Presbytery and the chapel containing the relic of the heart of Saint Curé are now a museum and open to visitors. The reception desk and the spiritual activities of the sanctuary are organised by the priests of the sanctuary: the congregation of Benedictine nuns called the Tyburn Nuns and the Brothers of the Holy Family of Belley. The year 2009 marked the Jubilee of the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney. On the occasion of the sacred international year for priests 2009-2010 the sanctuary hosted nearly 600,000 pilgrims including 35,000 priests. The Historial du Saint-Curé-d'Ars revives the decor of the period and reconstitutes in 17 scenes and 35 wax figures the history of the Curé of Ars.[25] Ars is part of the Association of sanctuaries in France, and holds the title "tourist village of Ain".
  • The Parish Church of Saint-Sixte (11th century)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[26] The Basilica of Ars, partly built in 1862 by the Lyon architect Pierre Bossan and his successor Sainte-Marie-Perrin, forms an extension to the old church. It houses the remains of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, the parish-priest of Ars and the patron saint of all parish priests. This place of pilgrimage hosts more than 500,000 people each year.[27]
  • The Tomb of the heart of Jean-Marie Vianney (1932)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg[28]

The commune has a very large number of religious items that are registered as historical objects. For a complete list with descriptions (in French) click here.

Basilica of Ars Gallery
Presbytery of the Curé of Ars Gallery
The Chapel du Coeur Gallery

Local life[edit]

Religious communities[edit]

  • Several religious communities are present in Ars: the Working Missionary Sisters (Providence House), the Franciscan Sisters (Saint-Jean House), the Carmelite Sisters, the Benedictines of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre, the Brothers of the Holy Family of Belley (Guardians of the Sanctuary), the priests of the Jean-Marie Vianney Society (John Paul II Sacred Hall for the reception of priests and for International Seminar for the training of priests).


  • On the second Sunday in February: Feast of the arrival of the Saint (evocation of the arrival of the Saint at the Meeting Monument, procession, solemn Mass, adoration of the blessed Sacrement, vespers with catechism)
  • the Sunday following Easter Sunday: Divine Mercy Sunday (Mass, education, Solemn Vespers ...
  • Every Wednesday in June: Groups of children at home (visit, Mass, games)
  • in May or June, Mass and Procession of Corpus Christi (feast) in the village;
  • 4 August (anniversary of the death of the Saint): Festival of the Saint Curé (Lauds, Solemn Mass, Procession, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Vespers, spiritual concert
  • 8 December: feast of the Immaculate Conception, lighting the village and entertainments
Event at the Carmel of Saint Curé of Ars founded in 1939
  • In 1986 and 2007 the movie-art-recreation association made two films about Carmel of the Holy Curé of Ars in the movie series "Relief of France: the monasteries" and a paper on John Paul II during his meeting with the Carmelites on 6 October 1986.[29]

Notable people linked to the commune[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002 [1] Archived 2016-03-06 at the Wayback Machine., the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" which allow, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For municipalities with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these municipalities is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force on 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.


  1. ^ Inhabitants of Ain (in French)
  2. ^ a b Google Maps
  3. ^ An interesting article was published on the name of the commune in 2010 in the Dombes magazine No. 31 published by the Academy of Dombes. (in French)
  4. ^ List of Mayors of France (in French)
  5. ^ National Commission for Decentralised cooperation (in French)
  6. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000328 Park (in French)
  7. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000182 Girls' School and Orphanage of Providence (in French)
  8. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000193 House at Rue des Ecoles (in French)
  9. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000185 School at Rue des Ecoles (in French)
  10. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000196 House at Rue Jean-Marie Vianney (in French)
  11. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000184 Town Hall / School at Rue Jean-Marie Vianney (in French)
  12. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000329 Sainte-Philomène Garden (in French)
  13. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000330 Chateau des Garets Park (in French)
  14. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000199 Sainte-Anne Farmhouse at Champ du Chateau (in French)
  15. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000299 Croix des Combes (in French)
  16. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000302 Monumental Cross of the 1847 Jubilee (in French)
  17. ^ Ministry of Culture, Palissy IM01000914 Statue: (in French)Camera aabb.svg
  18. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000297 Croix Micholet (in French)
  19. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000298 Croix Tonneau (in French)
  20. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00116295 Presbytery for the Priest of Ars (in French)
  21. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00116294 Church and Basilica (in French)
  22. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000286 Garnier des Garets family Tomb (in French)
  23. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000179 Presbytery (in French)
  24. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000178 Presbytery of Saint Curé d'Ars (in French)
  25. ^ Museum of Ars (in French)
  26. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000171 Parish Church of Saint-Sixte (in French)
  27. ^ 525,000 visitors at Ars-sur-Formans: the consecration of religious tourism, consulted on 23 May 2011, author Marc Dazy (in French).
  28. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA01000177 Tomb of the heart of Jean-Marie Vianney (in French)
  29. ^ This archived document is visible in the video: Dialogue at Carmel of Saint Curé of Ars on by Jean Claude Guerguy, Director (in French)