The narrow medieval streets were crammed with stalls and people, shouting, discussing where to buy the best vegetables, the most succulent game; smells rose of roasting chickens and chestnuts and freshly-made pizza; three squares, north, south and west offered meat, fish, fruit, carved wood, spices, kitchenware, linens, racks of Indian-made clothes and leather goods from North Africa, bead jewelry, the scented olive oil soaps from Marseille and all varieties of produce made from lavender.
From The Lantern
Saturday is market day in Apt, and it’s one of the most famous markets in the region. They say there has been a market held here every Saturday morning for eight hundred years, in an unbroken link with the past.
The Rue des Marchands is a narrow paved street that cuts through the heart of this alluring little town, down the side of the cathedral where the remains of a Roman theatre have been found deep in its foundations. In summer there are stalls on both sides, and crowds of such density that you can hardly move at times.
The Cathedral of St-Anne was established in 1056, though the present structure was completed in the 17th century. At this time of year, there’s room to breathe, and to marvel at the stalls where vegetables are set out with artistry, from the tiny endeavour that holds only a vast bouquet of ravishing radishes, or the big stall in the main square that offers this checkerboard of tomatoes and artichokes.
Then there are are stalls of linen, in all the colours of Provence, like these tablecloths:
And these great cakes of nougat, the hazelnut and sugar confection famously made in Montelimar...
Finally, back in January I wrote about the candied fruit for which Apt is renowned (here), and promised to bring back some more. This glorious display is from La Bonbonnière, the specialist sweet shop in the Rue de la Sous-Préfecture – feast your eyes!