In the heart of the Luberon, in the Vaucluse department, Apt is a typical Provencal town, authentic and warm. It is particularly renowned for its rich terroir. During your stay, we can only advise you to go to the market, classified as a “Marché d’exception” (exceptional market) for its atmosphere and the quality of its products, in order to appreciate the colors and perfumes that emanate from the stalls of local producers. Take this opportunity to taste the specialties of the region and learn about the local cuisine. Apt is considered the capital of candied fruit.
Your visit to the city center of Apt will most certainly lead you to the artisans’ workshops. Clayey soils and ochers have allowed the development of potters’ activities. Today, the earthenware of Apt with an “Apt marbling” are known and recognized in the world.
The old town is full of other surprises to discover during your stay: museums, squares full of with fountains, mansions, ramparts, Apt Cathedral, etc. Founded by the Romans, Apt still has vestiges of this period, including the Pont Julien and the Porte de Saignon.
The exceptional natural environment of Apt and the Luberon will allow you to go hiking, walking, cycling and mountain biking, to discover the superb landscapes on the mountains or on the lavender fields, and the fauna and flora that grows in this preserved Natural Park.
If the weather is fine, go to the Ocher Trail in Roussillon or to the Colorado in Rustrel for a change of scenery. You can also take the opportunity to visit the surrounding villages such as Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt or the village of Gargas.
Apt Cathedral was built in the 12th century and then rebuilt and restored over time. Anne of Austria came here to pray and thank the saint following the birth of Louis XIV. The latter offered precious gifts such as religious objects and manuscripts. The building is one of the oldest churches in Provence, and the oldest in the West dedicated to the mother of the Virgin Mary. It is located in the center of the commune and small streets and vaulted passages meander around it. The lower crypt consists of a corridor and a vault where the veil of Saint Anne, a true relic, was reportedly found. The upper crypt has a pre-Romanesque lapidary table.
La Maison du Fruit Confit
Guided tours of La Maison du Fruit Confit (The House of Candied Fruit) are offered all year round. On almost 100 m², your five senses will be stimulated. You can discover an olfactory trail, exclusive movies and a tasting table that will plunge you into the world of candied fruit. The crystallization of the fruits of Provence, from antiquity to today, will have no more secrets for you. After your visit, you can go to the tea room to enjoy some sweets, pastries and drinks and stop by the store to treat yourself.
The Pont Julien is one of the best-preserved Roman bridges. Located on the Via Domitia, it was used to go to Narbonne on one side or to Turin in Italy on the other. It is 80 m long and 6 m wide and consists of three arches. Over the years, it has undergone only a few ad hoc repairs. Today it is classified as a Historical Monument and it is no longer suitable for traffic. It is therefore one of the tourist attractions of the destination, but another bridge has been built to allow vehicles to cross the Calavon, between Apt and Bonnieux.
Chapelle de la Santonne
Chapel de la Santonne is a small contemporary chapel built in 1959 by a professor who loved art and nature: Roger Petit. He had promised himself during the Algerian war to build this chapel if he came back alive. Inside, you can see a wooden Christ on which the colors of the stained-glass windows are reflected. The curved walls give the monument its special character. Partially buried, it is made of assembled stones and covered with metal plates. Its roof is rounded, and the bell tower pointed. It is a real must-see site of the local artistic heritage.
To learn more about the history of Apt and its economic activities, go to the Apt Museum. The exhibitions highlight the crafts and industry that have contributed to the development of the town. 250 pieces of Apt and Castellet earthenware are on display: plates, dishes, tureens, stoups, tea pots… You can also discover a potter’s workshop and ceramic architectural works. Ocher is also honored with the reconstitution of a refining line and the presentation of machining equipment and models on the extraction, processing and marketing of pigments. Finally, the museum gathers a collection of candied fruit labels, machines and equipment used in the confectionery industry.
- Tourist Office of Apt: https://www.luberon-apt.fr/
- Road service: D900 secondary road (from Avignon or Alpes-de-Haute-Provence)
- Air access: Marseille Provence Airport (1 hour)
- Railroad access: train station of Cavaillon (40 minutes), TGV station of Avignon (1 hour)