One of the may amazing things about these archeological diggings is that life goes on normally on the street level but having toured under the Museum we now ventured forth to the lingerie shop on the main walking thoroughfare of Apt. Here amongst the merchandise was a huge pillar which went right down over 40 foot into the Roman ruins.

 

The pillar amongst the lingerie

 

Down below a huge cavern, as Patrick explains – you can see the holes for beams in medieval times

 

Roman diggings. You can seethe wonderful stone work and part of one of the theatre’s staircases exposed

 

Part of the staircase in more close up

 

Patrick and his team get their electricity for working from the shop above, through a drain pipe!

 

Many of the caverns were bricked up over the centuries and the archeologists are now opening these up so that the public will be able to traverse from digging to digging

 

More of the history of Apt:

Life in Apt has always been closely linked with that in the surrounding mountain villages of the Luberon. Catholic repression against the Waldenses (Protestants) who had sought refuge in Luberon led to a shadow civil war. Apt suffered several sieges at the hands of the Protestants. Surrounded by the protestant strongholds of Ménerbes, Sivergues and Buoux, the great majority of the population of Apt nevertheless remained faithfully Roman Catholic.

Over the centuries Apt suffered numerous epidemics of plague, the most serious being those of 1348 and 1720, the latter emerging from Marseille to devastate the whole of Provence. In the 17th century French King Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, hoping for a son and heir, asked for public prayers and took up the mantle of ‘Saint Anne’.

At the request of the Queen, the Consuls sent her a relic of the patron saint that had been kept in the cathedral. After the birth of the future Louis XIV, Anne of Austria visited Apt from 27 to 29 March in the year 1660. The visit was an enormous contribution to the development of the cult of the mother of the Holy Virgin.
The intellectual life of Apt in the 17th and 18th centuries was marked by a vigorous revival around a number of erudite local individuals. Then, in 1789, Apt took part in the preparatory work for reforms and adopted the principles of the Revolution. As an ancient Provost District, in 1790 Apt was promoted to the rank of subprefecture, a position it holds to this day.

Apart from its numerous political convulsions, the 19th century was a time when Apt saw the creation of industries based on the town’s traditional activities i.e. ochre, ceramics, hat-making, wax, fruit preserving, iron and sulphur. to-day, apt is the centre of the world’s glacé fruit industry.

 

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