Vaucluse (84400) Population: 11,979 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. Market day Sat.
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.
Port de Siagnon
In the 14th century Apt was a completely walled town, with 27 towers incorporated into the ramparts, and six fortified portals giving access into the center. Today on the Porte de Saignon remains of the fortified entries. It's located at the end of Rue Saint-Pierre, opening out onto the main parking lot and main Saturday market. Relatively "new", the current Port de Siagnon was built during the 14th century, replacing the original 12th-century gateway.
Apt Bell Tower
The tall, 16th-century bell tower of Apt has a round campanile at the top, only ocassionally visible from over the rooftops within the town. The base of the bell tower has an arched passage along a cobblestone street, with the appearance of a fortified gateway. In fact, the tower is in the center of the old town, on Rue des Marchands (Merchants Street).
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
Apt, in the Vaucluse, has several very interesting old sundials. Seven of the most well-known sundials, located in various places through the old town, were made in the early part of the 19th century.
On our most recent visit (Aug 2015) we stayed in Apt for five days, for visiting the nearby villages with a theme of Sundials. We lunched in an outlying village every day, and had dinner in Apt, with a different style of restaurant every night.
Our visiting schedule days included:
- 1 full day (and many evenings) for Apt
- Villars, Rustrel and Lagarde-d'Apt
- Caseneuve, Saint Martin-de-Castillon and Viens
- Gargas, Goult and Lumières
- Bonnieux for a day
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.