Ansouis castle still houses the Sabran couple's mystery

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Elzéar and Dephine, Ansouis church - ©François de Dijon / CC-BY-SA Elzéar and Dephine, Ansouis church - ©François de Dijon / CC-BY-SA
Ansouis castle Castle Love story Delphine de Signes Elzéar de Sabran Miracle

A Provencal castle


From the former fortress, Ansouis kept its central dungeon. The Classical façades were put up in the 17th century. Yes, indeed, we found here a primitive castle in the 10th century, replaced by new buildings in the 13th and 15th centuries. In the 16th century, Sabran family razed the southern wall and raised a bastion, a covered way and a drawbridge.

Nowadays, the castle is completely restored, with his rectangular main building (17th century) overlooking nice formal gardens... Come on, Ansouis are waiting for you! Come and visit the nice main staircase, the furnished rooms... We also can see the "Saints' bedroom"... a room which belonged to an unusual couple: Elzéar and Delphine de Sabran! Now, let me introduce them...

Sabran's mystery

Love at first sight


The Sabran were a mighty family from Provence. The first member was Raimon, who married Garsende, count of Forcalquier Guillaume IV's daughter. Later, Hermengaud de Sabran and his wife Laudune d'Aube de Roquemartine had a son, Elzéar.

This one was born in the castle of Robians in 1285. His uncle, Guillaume de Sabran, abbot in Marseille Saint-Victor's abbey, raised him. They married the young Elzéar with the young Delphine de Signes... it was love at first sight! But the young lady asked Elzéar to take a vow of chastity... whoa!

You'd be hard put to be more saints than them!


He did this, and they lived almost 7 years in Ansouis. Here, Elzéar instituted a hard rule for people who lived in the castle: yes! Everyone had to respect work and prayers.

Here, in the "Saints' bedroom", the two lovers spent their nights praying, washing and combing their long, long, looong hairs. "Oooo, rather unorthodox!" thought Elzéar's parents. They'd better cooked up a child! So, they posted domestics outside the bedroom, in order to spy on their conduct: what the hell did they do, in this damned room?! Ah, they prayed, that's all! The whole blessed day...

So domestics decided to sleep at the bottom of the bed. But one more time, the two lovers duped them and pretended snoring... once domestics left, they get up and went back to their prayers... Some domestics said that the two were always dressed up, even when they slept together in the same bed.

It's totally unheard of! And when their parents blamed them for being childless, Elzéar answered: "I have a beautiful and nice wife, it's OK with me"! In 1316, Elzéar took his vow of chastity in the castle, in the small chapel...

The well's miracle


Did you know that in Ansouis courtyard, there's a well? A well where Delphine made a miracle (we can see the scene on a painted panelling on her reliquary, in the church of Ansouis).

The story says that deep in this well, villagers threw a looter, member of the terrible Grandes Companies. These Companies used to be a band of warriors enlisted during the Hundred years War: when war was over, they had nothing to do and started to plunder and terrorize inhabitants. In Provence, one of the leader was Arnaud de Cervole... a defrocked priest, oooo!

The man in the well was part of his band and they probably caught him in flagrante delicto. But when they put him in the well, he fell and broke his neck... but Delphine de Sabran turned up: we were in 1351, this day she raised the prisoner from the dead!


And also!