Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Old Postcard Wednesday--Saint-Saturnin-d'Apt., A la porte du Chateau, Provence, France

A la porte du Chateau
("At the door of the Castle")

Every once in awhile I fall in love with one of the places featured in an Old Postcard Wednesday post. This is one of them. I know nothing of the place except for what I have read for this post but it matters little because my longing is such as that longing for a place-of-the-heart nonetheless.

This is what I have learned about Saint-Saturnin-d'Apt. from ProvenceWeb:

The village is so named because it is 10 km north of Apt, a nearby city with a population of 11,488, that is "situated in the heart of the Luberon Nature Reserve between the mountains of Vaucluse and Luberon. This pleasant city, so typical of Provence, is well reputed for its local products; it even boasts the classification of "site remarquable du gout" (a place of wonderful tastes)."

ProvenceWeb calls the village Saint Saturnin Les Apt, the slight difference from the name as printed on the back of the old postcard (mailed in 1978) being a mystery to me because I do not know French. Maybe a reader can explain the nuances involved. It lists the population as being 2,393 and notes:
Saint Saturnin les Apt is a large "village" in the Luberon built on a rock, over which two 17th century windmills and the ruins of a medieval château keep watch.

Despite the new housing developments which surround this market town, Saint Saturnin is a village brimming with history. Take your time walking through the central streets and you will discover beautiful old houses, adorned with sculptured porches and intricately decorated doors and window frames.

In the area of the ramparts you will see three walled enclosures built in the 13th, 14th, and 15th century. Only the remains of the Ayguier gate exist today.

All around the village, the magnificent countryside will tempt you to go for long walks... do not forget that you are in the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon!
Visit ProvenceWeb for more information and some great images.

Now, here is an absolutely charming description of the village. You can almost imagine a villager's voice telling you these things! The source is Provence Luberon News. Excuse me for being a bit lazy this week and quoting such vast text, but I found it fascinating. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
(Visit the link for even more information, including hikes, lodging, and real estate.)
Situated in front of Luberon on the south hillside of the mountains of Vaucluse between 300 and 1000 m of height, in 30 kms in the southeast of Mont-Ventoux, in 60 kms east of the valley of the Rhone,

This privileged situation makes of St Saturnin a village with very popular agricultural lands. The silhouette of the windmill of XVI-th century almost as famous as that of Daudet, gives evidence of this prolific agricultural past (cherries, vineyards, olives, truffles, and naturally lavender).

Exposure on full South and dominant sight which is offered to us down from its rocky spur (450m), explains that in the X-th century a redoubtable oppidum stood there. Today there are only the ruins of the ramparts which will lead you of the village until the chapel and to the donjon of the XI-th century which were recently restored.

Once arrived around the chapel, highlight of saint Saturnin, take advantage of the great landscape which extends over the chain of Luberon and the valley of Calavon.

This chapel was the scene in the XIX-th century of an affair of false miracle. Rosette Tamisier’s affair shook the region there was in the chapel a picture which began crying for some blood in the presence of the girl. This history remains a mystery, lawsuit accused Rosette of madness, Vatican classified affair in false miracles and the picture disappeared …

By coming down again by lanes of Saint Saturnin, you will discover the rich past of the village, the old magnificent houses ( Knight Templar’s house of XIII-th century), sculptured halls ( the balcony of Atlantes), of numerous fountains and laundries and former finely decorated doors.

Saint Saturnin lès Apt (2156 inhabitants) is constituted with the ancient village and with the numerous hamlets on 7500 hectares of whom 4500 of the forest, what makes a centre of life of it, it is a very alive village all year round. One finds there all typify of shops: tobacconist’s shop, grocer's shop, bakeries, butcher’s shop, and real estate agency. As well as: restaurant, hotel of charm, bed and breakfast, shelters.

Situated near the road of ochre, the Provencal Colorado of Rustrel and the village of Roussillon and Gordes, everything is combined to make of this village the home base of your stay in Luberon, in the heart of Provence. You will find there certainly a rent for your holidays and will be in the point of departure of numerous hikes (walk or bike ride) in Luberon.

Vestiges: Neolithic settlement ( Perréal) - strengthened Village (X-th - XI-th century) 

Of the various videos of Saint Saturnin les Apt. at youtube, this one is particularly beautiful. It will close my post. Our minds are now free to wander the ruins on the hills, to roam the valley, and tour the village. Enjoy every dream of doing it for real one day.......



English Rider said...

This is one of our source regions for quarried stone and reclaimed roof tiles, with which to enhance the houses built in California. Our imported products are always enigmatic with their hidden histories.

ds said...

Ahhhh...C'est magnifique indeed! Thank you.

Lydia said...

English Rider~ Absolutely was unaware of the stone/roof tiles connection. It's a beautiful history and I will appreciate the next tile roof I see in a deeper way. Thanks much.

ds~ My pleasure! I came late to your Paris in July celebration and enjoyed what I read, although I am unclear as to what it was all about. I have a feeling I missed out on something special.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

very busy week so behind on my comments - love the postcard and the video. I'd like to take my camera to France for painting inspiration

Lydia said...

Pixies~ I understand your being busy. It sure isn't OPW without a comment from you, however! So now this week is complete.
My life, however, will seem incomplete without a trip to France. :)



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