"It was near.
In a happy country.
Raising her lament to delight
I brushed the line of her hips
Against the spurs of your branches.
Rosemary, caressed heath."
Seven Parcels of the Luberon by René Char
Saignon stretches over the top of a hill - the last outcrop of the Petit Luberon standing out on the plateau of Les Claparedes - and overlooks the Valley of Apt. It is watered by two rivers, the Cavalon and the Aiguebrun. The surrounding countryside is exceptional thanks to a moderate climate.
Like a figurehead on this charming village, a natural curiosity, a rock some 30 meters high, stands out clearly and overhangs the ramparts of Saignon. On it are the remains of three chateaux: two towers and a keep, which compose the village’s coat of arms.
Its geomorphology, its fortress and its location earned it, since Antiquity, its role as a vanguard for the town of Apt, hence the supposed origin of its name signum: signal.
In the Middle Ages, the Romanesque church Notre-Dame was a pilgrimage spot for those who took the Via Domitia to Santiago de Compestela. It holds the reliquary of the Holy Cross.
The village, ringing with the singsong accents of the South, holds a multitude of treasures that you can see along its steep lanes and its flowering squares adorned with fountains, including a monumental one ornamented with allegoric statues - agriculture and industry - by the sculptor Elzéar Sollier.
Talking about treasures, don’t leave out a visit to the Potager d’un Curieux (An Eccentric’s Vegetable Garden). There, a lover of biodiversity cultivates some strange, sometimes slightly forgotten, vegetables.
If you come at Easter, the 5th annual garden jumble sale is programmed, organized by Corinne Détroyat, who also offers workshops about gardens.
In good weather, which is pretty frequent, from the Rock of Saignon you can see the garden on the Rocher des Doms in Avignon, follow with your eye the Durance River all the way to Caumont and also admire the Mont Ventoux.
The history to see
- The Notre-Dame de Pitié or Sainte-Marie de Saignon church
- The St-Eusèbe Abbey
- The olive oil mill
- The bishop’s palace - The belfry
- The washhouse with three basins - fountains
- Ruins of the chateaux - The ramparts
- Orientation Table
- The ramparts gate
- The Gargoyle!
- The house near the chapel
- The flight of steps
Fountain in the village of Saignon