Just an hour away from Aix-en-Provence, the village of Saint-Saturnin-Lès-Apt is a favorite spot for those who love Provence and the Luberon. In the springtime, the area surrounding the village is adorned in white, thanks to fields of cherry trees. It’s a sight to behold!
By Caroline Taret - Photos José Nicolas - February 6, 2013
Saint-Saturnin-Lès-Apt is a quiet little village with many hidden treasures. The Domaine des Andéols, a sublime hotel composed of charming little houses, represents a certain Provencal lifestyle, characterized by a mix of tradition and modernity. The Mathieu lighting company, housed in the former ochre factory of Gargas, is a grand workshop specializing in the creation and restoration of antique chandeliers, right in the heart of the Luberon. And of course, the Provencal village itself is irresistible with its fountain and its little cafés. But what really set Saint-Saturnin apart from the rest are its olive groves, its vineyards (which produce wines of the Ventoux appellation), and its cherry trees. It’s an ideal place to practice what the Japanese call Hanami, the ancestral tradition of appreciating the beauty of cherry blossoms.
With its 2,700 inhabitants (a number that increases significantly during the summer months), Saint-Saturnin-Lès-Apt is a medieval village that seems to watch over the agricultural terrain situated below. Facing the village is the beginnings of the Luberon valley, with Roussillon and its ochre trails ahead. A multitude of historical remains can be found in Saint-Saturnin, including chapels dating from the 11th – 18th centuries, a 13th century priory, windmills from the 17th century and a medieval castle. If you get lost in the little streets of Saint-Saturnin, you’ll discover old houses with sculpted porticos, mysterious traces of the past preserved by the villagers over the centuries – a delightful stroll for curious visitors and anyone susceptible to the charms of Provence!
From the spring to the autumn, a visit here will be marked by the rhythm of the cherry trees: from the white blossoms that burst forth in the springtime, to the rubies dangling from the branches in the summertime, through to the green leaves that become tinged with orange in the autumn, the cherry trees of Saint-Saturnin are the protagonists in the daily story of life in this pretty little Provencal village. A must-see, indeed!