Place du marché in Sault

So much to see, in Sault

Sault – pronounced “So” – is a pretty village located in northern Provence, half an hour away from our hometown, Apt. Perched over 700m above sea level, the climate here is harsh, yet perfect for the fine lavender which grows in vast fields on the plateau above the village. There are several routes to get from Apt to Sault. Our favourite takes you past Javon, a magnificent 16th century Renaissance chateau siting by the side of the road and surrounded by a thick forest. It’s definitely worth stopping there on your way to Sault.

Upon arriving in the village, you’ll be struck by the stunning view of Mount Ventoux, the highest mountain in Provence. The mountain is a famous Tour de France stage and cyclists from all over the world come here to take on the epic climb. Many of them meet at Sault before or after their ride.

Obviously, Sault is great to visit in July so you can admire the blooming fields of lavender. We always try to come on a Wednesday, as that’s when the market is on all across the village. It could be snowing in February or 40°C in August, the market is always there with a great selection of stalls offering local produce, fruits and vegetables, lavender, and the wares of local artisan makers. The market seems to have been here forever, and it does in fact date back to 1515! There are about 1,500 residents in the village, half the population it had at the end of 1700s. The economy here relies on an interesting mix of lavender, pig farms, and tourism.

Sault is also famous for its delicious nougat confectionery, which has been made by the Boyer family since the 1800s. I remember coming to Sault with my grandparents every year before Christmas to buy some nougat to give to friends and family. The village doesn’t seem to have changed much since then. There are several shops and places you must stop at if you come to Sault. The first one on the list is obviously the nougat shop, located on Place de l’Europe, on your left when you get to the village. Second – and next to it – is the butcher and charcuterie called Yves and Virginie. The selection of cured meats is incredible and they stock some amazing saucissons and pâtés made with pork from the local farms between Sault and Mount Ventoux.

With the sweet and the savoury sorted, let’s talk about wine! A few years ago, a small yet superb wine shop and bar opened in Sault on Place du Marché. It’s called Le Bonheur est dans le chai. In there, you’ll find a selection of over 250 wines and spirits and a very comprehensive selection of local Ventoux wines. If the weather allows it, come there on market day, sit outside, order a charcuterie platter and a glass of wine following the recommendation from le patron and watch the world go by. We love that the market is not just a market for tourists; residents come to stock up on local produce as well.

One thing the centre of Sault lacks is a great restaurant we can recommend. Le Louvre hotel restaurant on Place du Marché serves good local dishes and local wines, but don’t expect to be too impressed! Sadly, it’s quite representative of the restaurant selection in the village. Instead, our favourite place to eat near Sault is l’Hostellerie du Val de Sault. It’s a secluded hotel restaurant on the way to the lavender fields above the village. The chef there is great, and the cuisine is seasonal using top local produce and often includes truffles sourced nearby.

You know by now that we love antiques. If you keep an eye on the local newspaper when you are in Provence (it’s called La Provence, you can’t miss it), you’ll find out the dates of the local brocantes, antique fairs and vide-greniers (flea markets) in the region. There’re quite a few happening in Sault. We bought some interesting antiques there a few years ago. There used to be a very quirky antique shop in the village but sadly it has closed down now. However, a stunning concept store, called La Maison Jaune, opened last year on Avenue de la Resistance. The owner, Fred, travelled the world and decided to settle down here in Sault. His shop mixes a beautifully curated selection of antiques, art and artisan homeware made by local artists and makers. It’s unique and simply stunning. It has to be one of our new favourite shops. It’s so refreshing so find such a beautiful boutique in this remote village. We love it.

Sault is definitely worth a visit, even during the harsh winter. In January and February, the temperatures often go below freezing but it’s still a pleasure to walk around Sault. The air is pure and crisp, the light is beautiful no matter the season. From Sault, we’d suggest you drive to the Baronnies region on the north side of Mount Ventoux, visiting Nyons where you’ll find the most delicious olives of the region. Another great route to take from here is to head to Ferrassieres, only a few miles away and home to probably the most stunning view of lavender fields around. And if you are heading back to Apt, drive along the wild and beautiful road of Lagarde d’Apt and down the mountain via Rustrel. The northern side of Provence is our favourite part and Sault is the perfect example of a beautiful village in that area, so come and visit!

 Sault, a perched village in Provence

The view from Sault

The olive stall at the market in Sault

Nougat shop in Sault

Charcuterie in Sault

View of the lavender fields near Ferrassières

Fruit and vegetable stall at the market in Sault

Enjoying some wine and saucisson in Sault

La Maison Jaune in Sault

Lavender fields in the winter near Sault 

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