Vaucluse (84390) Population: 1,206 Altitude: 760 m
Sault is an old fortified village perched along the top of a high ridge overlooking a wide valley, with large lavender fields spread out below to the south and west. A long multi-arched road bridge crosses the tiny La Croc stream below, past the southeast end of the village. Along with the ancient buildings lining the high ridge are the remains of a huge feudal castle. Market day Wed.
The village is open and relaxed, with wide squares, a good selection of cafés and restaurants, and an interesting Medieval section to explore. The La Promenade terrace in this photo is at the end of a very large, open square called the La Promenade, a site for strolling, meeting people, kids playing, and with a great view along one side.
There's a good selection of shops, many with local and regional products. The village center is fairly compact, so you can do a lot of shopping with a minimum of walking. With just a bit of walking, though, you'll find small, picturesque squares, covered lavoirs, stone architecture and old doorways.
Sault is a visitors crossroads for the region, and in the summertime its full of cyclists, motorcyclists and automobilists. The cyclists are on the famous route of Mont Ventoux, circling around through Bedoin and Malaucène. Motorcyclists come from far to enjoy the open, twisty roads of the mountains and countryside, and out into the Alpes de Haute Provence to the east.
The fields around Sault sit in a low area surrounded by mountains: the Ventoux and the Lure mountains range across the northwest and northeast, and the Plateau de Vaucluse is spread out across the south. Just a few kilometers out of the village to the southwest are the deep canyons of the Gorges de la Nesque.
The "Pays de Sault" (the region) was an ancient Comté, ruled by a count. In the 18th and 19th centuries Sault was the center of an important glass industry. Today the glass works are gone, but the weekly market (Wednesdays) has remained -- since 1515!
The Sault parish church is called Notre Dame de la Tour, or Eglise du Saint-Sauveur. It's late Romenesque style of unknown (to us) date. It was restored and partially rebuilt in the 14th century, with the large multi-bay bell tower added in the 17th century.
There are also many other lavender fields towards the eastern end of the gorges de la Nesque, and southeast along the D30 road to St. Christol.
History of Sault
The name Sault comes from "Saltus", referring to the forests that covered the territory.
Aeria was an ancient habitation at this location that was destroyed and abandoned during the barbarian invasions.
Prehistoric: Paleolithic, neolithic and bronze-age vestiges and artifacts have been found in the Bois du Défens to the northeast of the village, where a large cave is located.
Gallo-Roman: Vestiges were discovered at the hamlet of Loges, on the river plain just west of the village.
Medieval: The Barons of Agoult ruled Sault in the 11th century and maintained their rule for five centuries. The last of the various succeeding rulers was the Duke of Villeroy, who lost his head to the guillotine during the Revolution.
Market day: Wed. An active market that's been going on since 1515.
Aug - Fête de la Lavande - Lavander Festival
• GPS: 44.091579, 5.408637
IGN (1/25,000) #3240 OT "Bannon, Sault"
IGN (1/25,000) #3140 ET "Mont Ventoux"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #27 "Ventoux"
The GR4 hiking trail, from just west of the village, goes south through the Bois des Fayettes to a peak at 1059 m. Just past this peak, the GR4 and GR9 join, and both trails explore the forests and mountains of the Plateau de Vaucluse.
From just west of Sault, the GR4 also goes northwest, joining the GR9 in the Sault Forest. The mountains here, with their forests and many hiking trails, connect with the Ventoux mountains to the north and to the west, and there are days of uninterrupted hiking possible.
A hiking trail east of Sault crosses fields and woods without significant climbing, passing through the village of Revest-du-Bion.
The municipal museum of Sault has a natural-history collection and great collection of antiques, many obtained from the village and surrounding area.
Bus Carpentras - Sault
Route: Carpentras, Mazan, Mormoiron, Villes-sur-Auzon, Monieux, Sault.
Cars Comtadins; tel 0490 672 025
Bus Apt - Sault
Route: Apt, Villars, Saint Saturnin-lès-Apt, Petits-Cléments, Grand-Cléments, Rustrel, Saint Christol, Sault.
For details, contact the Gare Routière Avignon (tel 0490 820 735) or the Office de Tourisme in Sault, Apt or Carpentras.
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.