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On the road to Les Gorges du Verdon we drive through the town of Aups. Located 57 km from Frejus and 24 km from Lac de Sainte-Croix, Aups is considered the southern gateway to the Verdon. Aups is located at an altitude of 500 meters and has just over 2000 inhabitants. The town invites us to make a brief stop. It is Saturday morning when we arrive and it is busy; there is a market and that seems to attract many people from the surrounding area. It is not currently high season so, after parking the car somewhere, we mingle among the people who live here and in the area.
Parking in Aups
Aups is a perfect stop for us on our way to the Gorges du Verdon. We have been driving for about 5 quarters of an hour, not long yet. But the mountain roads leading to this picturesque town wind in all directions and require concentration. Besides, you also want to enjoy the surroundings so it all goes a little slower than usual. Parking in Aups also requires some effort; despite the fact that it is 9:45 am, there is almost no parking space to be found. Finally we are lucky and we can “stuff” the small Fiat 500 somewhere in between. Ideal such a small car!
We make our way to the market but the characteristic alleys and streets stop us in our tracks. The shutters, the weathered colors of the paint, the plants growing up against the walls…. we keep taking pictures. One alley is narrower than another. How I would love to peek behind one of those front doors to see how people live here!
Market in Aups
When we finally think we have seen the most beautiful alleys and streets, we arrive at the nice market. What a coziness and friendliness. Nice to see how the inhabitants of this region come here to socialize. Sitting on a bench, on the steps of the church, standing behind a market stall or just lining up in front of the chicken tent.
Lots of wicker baskets and bags we see, breads, sweets, dried sausages, honey, herbs, spices…. It all smells good and it is wonderful to stroll around here. It is crowded but not overcrowded. I can imagine it being different in the middle of summer, when hordes of tourists come to town. This Provencal market is on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
Truffle market in Aups
From November through the end of February, there is a truffle market in Aups on Thursday mornings. Truffles grow well on the roots of oak trees and the whole region is full of them. Searching for truffles with pigs is no longer done, nowadays specially trained dogs are used. In summer you can also get truffles, but these summer truffles have much less flavor and are generally used for decoration. On every Wednesday morning in June and July there is white truffle market.
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Should you wish to spend a little longer in Aups, there are a number of attractions including the Saint Pancras church (built in 1499) containing a small art museum, the Simon Segal museum, remains of a rampart (from the 12th century), two towers and a chapel. Located 3.5 kilometers east of downtown is Musee de Faykod, a park with sculptures. Furthermore, it is wonderful to sit on a terrace somewhere and enjoy all the authenticity around you!
Stopover in Aups on your way to the Verdon
As described above, for us Aups is kind of short stop on our way from Frejus to the Verdon. Not because we really feel the need to stop now but because the town just catches our attention. From here it is about a 24 drive to Lac de Sainte-Croix. We left around 8:30 this morning, arrive in Aups at 9:45 and leave here again an hour later. Then we got to the lake around 11:30. Just the right time to rent a rent a pedalo or canoe in the Verdon!