Apt

Situated in the heart of the Luberon at the foot of the mountain range's northern slope, Apt is a sub-prefecture of the Vaucluse department with a population of 12,000 habitants.   
 
The city of Apt was founded by the Romans on the Via Domitia (RN100) in 45 BC.
The city had a forum, a triumphal arch, temples, thermal baths and a theatre. Many ruins still remain such as the Julien Bridge crossing the river Coulon below the town.
The High Middle Ages saw the construction of fortifications and the implantation within the city walls of the Sainte-Anne Cathedral, built in 1052 and altered many times over the centuries. The Sainte-Anne Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Provence and the oldest in the Western world to be dedicated to the mother of the Virgin Mary. The centre of the present-day city is very old with its vaulted passages, small and winding streets, tree-filled little squares and private mansions. The old ramparts have, for the most part, given way to large boulevards.

Occupying the entire old town, the big famous Provençal market takes place every Saturday morning. Today classed a market of exception among 100 markets in France for its ambiance and authenticity, already in the Middle Ages its reputation went far beyond the local and even regional borders. A convivial meeting place, you will find at its colourful stalls all sorts of products, from produce of the land to traditionally crafted objects, all in the the warm atmosphere typical of Provence.
 
At the market, the visitor will most certainly find the famous candied fruit of Apt, a specialty once reserved for the Popes of Avignon in the 14th century. Today known around the world, the crystallised fruits, made traditionally or by more industrial methods, have made Apt renowned and earned it the label "Remarkable Site of Tastes".
 
Faïence also permitted the city to develop. Thanks to its clayey soil and its ochre, the Apt region has a long pottery tradition. It all started in 1728 when Louis XIV asked his nobility to sacrifice their silverware to support the war effort. The faïences of Apt have the specificity of presenting that "aptesian marbling". The industry reached its peak in the 18th century and gained even greater scale with the discovery of the terre flammée. Today, craftspeople continue to perpetuate this tradition.
 
To see and visit in Apt:

  • The Sainte-Anne Cathedral, of course. Its Romanesque nave and bell date from the 12th century and the central nave from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1660, following the birth of her son, the future king Louis XIV, Anne of Austria came to Apt to pray at the cathedral and thank her patron saint. 
  • Its crypts:  the lower crypt is the oldest while the upper crypt holds relics, including Saint Anne's veil (an Arab banner), and a 5th century altar.
    Amongst the treasures there, you can see sacred gold work, objects of worship and ornaments, manuscripts and a collection wedding headdresses;
  • The Porte de Saignon gate and the Hospital Tower: these are the last vestiges of the old Roman city's fortifications. In the 18th century, stones taken from the ruins of the Paleochristian cathedral were used to build new towers and reinforce the ramparts;
  • The Sainte-Catherine chapel with its 17th century façade and its fountain, on the Rue Scudéry;
  • The former Carmelite Convent, listed as a historic monument since 2011;
  • The farmers' market every Tuesday morning;
  • And let's not forget the lavender and hybrid lavender. The commune of Lagarde d'Apt alone accounts for 20% of French production of hybrid lavender. Lavender flowers from June to the end of July; the harvest and distillation takes place from mid-July to the end of August.

Tourist office of Apt - 20 avenue Philippe de Girard - 84400 Apt

+33 (0)4 90 74 03 18

http://www.luberon-apt.fr/

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