I love exploring Provence in the winter. It’s quiet. You can linger in the streets of small towns (like Saint Saturnin les Apt) to appreciate little details such as potted plants adorably shoved onto windowsills. Or, the particular stunning shade of peach on a weatherbeaten shutter.
Weather in Winter
People often ask me what the winter weather is like here in Provence. This year has been colder than last. We rarely get snow and when we do, it tends to last the morning. The worst is the wind. The famous Mistral wind is fierce and has been known to drive people mad with the noise it creates. It also blows for days at a time, lending itself to a certain mythological nature.
The Luberon National Park
The other day we took a drive through the Luberon. If you’re unfamiliar, the Luberon is what I always describe as France’s Tuscany. Imagine rolling hills, large stone farmhouses, perched villages and plentiful orchards of cherry, and olive trees. In summer, the region is quite busy due to Peter Mayle’s first book “A Year in Provence” and the subsequent film, A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe.
Saint Saturnin Les Apt
Saint Saturnin Les Apt is not as well known as Gordes or Menerbes. It’s a wonderful start for a winter day out. We often visit more than one village during our drives throughout the Luberon.
Saint Saturnin Les Apt is quiet and full of beautiful colours. There’s generally a café open to savour a hot chocolate after you’ve taken in the wonderful views over the upper Luberon national park.
The town was occupied throughout antiquity as a Ligurian, Celtic and then Roman site. In 1190, Saint Saturnin les Apt was the fief of the Agoult family.
Behind the village, paved steps and pathways lead towards the remains of the ruins of a massive defensive castle on the high end of the cliffs.
We explored anew the ruins of the medieval castle perched overlooking the Luberon national park. The fortifications were built in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. There’s also a dam directly behind the castle.
If you continue past the castle, you’ll see the Chapelle Castrale Saint-Saturnin. It was constructed in the middle of the 11th century, making it one of the oldest in the area. The chapel was later enlarged in the beginning of the 18th century.
Most importantly perhaps, I wanted to say Saint Saturnin Les Apt provides wonderful opportunities for winter sunbathing! I am, after all, a cat. If the sun is shining in January, it can be quite warm.
Close to Saint Saturnin Les Apt:
- Apt 9 km
- Avignon 60 km
- Gargas 6 km
- Gordes 16 km
- Manosque 49 km
- Roussillon 11 km
- Rustrel 10 km
- Sault 28 km
Tuesday mornings, all year
You’ll find local artist Martine Guimet’s Atelier at Saint Saturnin Les Apt. One of my favourites.
Visit the village after the large Apt Saturday Market.