•Vaucluse (84400) • Population: 11,172 • Altitude: 253 m
Apt is a fabulous market town. It's a large town, not a village; the surrounding apartment blocks are prominent, and the main road past the town and along the concrete-channeled river is pretty industrial. The beauty of Apt is the old town (vieille ville), hidden behind the walled buildings. Long, narrow streets winding between the houses, with interesting little nooks here and there waiting for discovery.
On market day, the squares are filled, outside the old ports (see photo) and inside the town, and there are kilometers of streets packed with market stalls and lined with shops.
The old town is centered around the 11th-century Cathedral, on what was once an island between two branches of the river. Two ancient towers, the 18th-century Bouquerie tower and the 16th-century Tour de l'Horloge both have lovely campaniles. In some of the narrow, paved streets you'll see vaulted passages and some very lovely fountains.
Great museums in Apt.
Apt has been known for its basket- and wicker-work and hat industries since the 17th century. Apt is the capital of candied fruits (fruit-confits), with the Aptuinion billed as the world leader in fruit-confits production.
Salignan, BP 137; 84405 APT Cedex, France
Tel: (33) 490 76 31 31; Fax: (33) 490 74 43 48
Some interesting people originated in Apt.
Joseph Aude (1760-1840), writer
François Carrière (..-1664) Franciscan Friar and King's preacher
Marc-Antoine Grossy (1604-1687), theologian
Joseph-Jean Rive, bibliographer
Joseph-Elzéar-Noël Sollier, student of David
Hadrian's horse Borysthenes died here in 121 AD.
History of Apt
First record, Roman: Apta Julia
Prehistoric: There was paleolithic habitation in the Aiguebrun valley (see Fort de Buoux), just to the south. A Druids temple was located in the Rocsaliére Valley, and a Celtic-Ligurian oppidum was at Perréal.
Gallo-Roman: "colonia Apta Julia" was an important Gallo-Roman city. The Calavon river valley was part of the Roman Domitienne Way between Italy and Spain. The location was actually an island between two branches of the river when the Romans built Apta Julia to garde the road and pacify the local Albici tribe, based on a hillfort at Perréal, 6 km to the north (near St.Saturnin). Barbarian invasions beginning in the 5th century pretty much destroyed the city, which was deserted and eventually covered over by silt from the river and the hillsides. The Roman remains are still buried around 5-10 m below the current basements. Paleo-Christian (4th, 5th, 6th c.) sarcophagi can be seen in the Chapelle St. Jean and Chapelle St. Pierre.
Medieval: In the 10th century, the Bishops and Lords of Agoult-Simiane ruled Apt, bringing it back to life again. From the 13th century, Apt was ruled by a consular administration, growing steadily in prosperity, until stopped by the conflicts resulting from the succession of Reine Jeanne. During the Wars of Religion Apt was a Catholic town, in conflict with the Baron of Adrets. At the end of the 16th century, the Calavon flooded and seriously damaged the town. And after the floods, two successive plague epidemics devastated Apt, followed by a third in 1720.
Tel (+CDT): 04 90 74 03 18; Fax: 04 90 04 64 30
Every Tue - (Mar-Oct) Brocante, Place St.Pierre
Every Sat - Marché - Morning, through the entire town center, and it takes all morning to see it all; come early to get a parking place. One of the biggest and best.
Last Sun Apr - Fête de Sainte Anne
Every May - La cavalcade (corso)
Every May - Salon des produits du terroir
Every May - Festival de jazz (www.jazz.free.fr)
3rd Sun Oct - Fête de la Vendange
Some great museums here.
Roman Theater Museum - In the Nassau mansion, built (inadvertently) over the remains of the Roman theater.
Rue de l'Amphithéatre
Open, Summer: 10h-12h, 14h30-17h30 daily;
Open, Winter: 14h30-16h30 except Tuesday; 10h-12h, 4h30-17h30 Saturday
- Swimming Pools (Piscines)
- Piscine Viton
- Open: end July to beginning Sept
- Plan d'eau
- Open: mid June to beginning Sept
The Luberon en Vélo cycling path runs 100 km between Cavaillon, Apt and Forcalquier.
• GPS: 43.876502, 5.393848
IGN (1/25,000) #3242 OT "Apt, Luberon"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #14 "Luberon, Sainte-Victoire"
The GR9 (Grande Randonnée) passes through the center of Apt. To the north, the GR9 follows small roads up the wide valleys and fields to join cross the GR6 Hiking Trail near St. Saturnin-d'Apt, then climbs the slopes of the Plateau de Vaucluse. To the south, the GR9 crosses the wild Aiguebrun valley at the magnificent Fort de Buoux. From there, several trails go into the Luberon or west to Bonnieux.
Our stay in Provence was for a week at a house rental in Apt, actually it was a short drive down a dirt road just below the hilltop town of Saignon. This rental was arranged locally through an agent for vacation rentals in Western Europe.
It is too bad that the town of Saignon doesn't have a web site or you have a picture of it because it is certainly a small but interesting town to tour its streets and view the valley from its high viewpoint above Apt. Its ruins are lit up at night as well.
From here we used this as our home base to visit many of the hilltop or perched villages of the Luberon and onward to Aix-en-Provence and even a day trip to Saint Tropez! This was a little too far, especially having to travel over the Luberon Mtns. and down through Aix to get to the A-8!
Avignon - Apt - La Brillane Bus
- Bus line 22A (Avignon - La Brillane - Digne) has two parts:
(1) Avignon, Cavaillon, Apt, Forcalquier, La Brillanne;
(2) La Brillanne, Chateau-Arnoux, Digne-les-Bains.
On the LER-PACA webpage, click on the Lignes & horaires for a list of the bus-line schedules.
Click on Ligne 22 : Avignon - La Brillanne - Digne-les-Bains for the PDF schedule.
The complete route for part-1 is: Avignon, Caumont, Cavaillon, Robion, Coustellet, Lumières, Apt, St Martin-de-Castillon, Cereste, Reillanne, Les Granons, St Michel l'Observatoire, Mane, Forcalquier, Niozelles La Brillanne, Oraison.
Avignon - Apt Bus 15.1
- Vaucluse bus line 15.1 connects Avignon, Coustellet, Les Beaumettes, Goult/Lumières, Gare de Bonnieux, Bonnieux Pont Julien, Apt Le Chêne, Apt. The trip between Avignon and Apt is about 1 hour.
A list of schedules for the Vaucluse bus line are at the bottom of the Vaucluse department transport page (http://www.vaucluse.fr/1119-recherche-de-lignes.htm") - click on the link 15.1 Avignon Apt to download the bus schedule PDF file.
Cavaillon - Bonnieux - Apt Bus 15.2
- Vaucluse bus line 15.2 serves the towns and villages: Cavaillon, Les Taillades, Robion, Coustellet, Maubec, Oppède, Ménerbes, Les Beaumettes, Goult, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Gargas, Apt.
The trip between Cavaillon and Apt is about 1h45.
Cavaillon has links to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.
A list of schedules for the Vaucluse bus line are at the bottom of the Vaucluse department transport page (http://www.vaucluse.fr/1119-recherche-de-lignes.htm") - click on the link 15.2 Apt - Bonnieux - Cavaillon to download the bus schedule PDF file.
Department 84, Vaucluse Buses
- See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
• Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
• Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
• Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.