Ever since we had seen the classic pictures of the purple rows of blooms of the Lavender fields they were on top of our bucket list. The Lavender fields of Provence in France are most beautiful in Europe. After missing the bloom season by a couple of weeks last years we ensured that we planned well in advance this year and booked a tour with Provans who apart from the Lavender fields also include some wonder villages of France in the itinerary.
We had booked our apartment in the old city of Avignon and our pickup was arranged in Place de l’Horloge around 5 minutes walk from the apartment. Our host and guide for the day Nicola picked up everyone and we started our tour by 9 am. as planned. The minivan was a 8 seater which made it easier to get along with Nicola and other fellow travelers.
Nicola started with a short history of Avignon; it was interesting to know that old city of Avignon is a walled city and the wall with 7 gates have stayed strong since it was built in the 14th century.
Nicola briefed about himself as having a great passion for travel himself, he being traveled to the most part of Asia and 8 times to India alone. The tour company is run by himself and his wife Veronica and them alternatively, take tourists on tour as they had year old baby girl Adele to take care back home.
Our first stop was biggest spring of Europe Fontaine-de-Vaucluse which is around 45 minutes drive from Avignon. Once on the highway, we drove past abundance of vegetation farms of apple, apricot, cherry, melons, tomatoes and olives. Nicola explained to us how olives were very important part of Avignon as they used only olive oil in cooking and an olive paste they used for appetite. There were many local producers selling farm produces, which Nicolas said were much fresher and cheaper than ones they bought in the market back in the city.
Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is a small village with only around 500 habitats. The most popular attraction being the 300 m deep spring located at the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains formed by the streams from the Alps between Italy and France.
The walk to the spring takes around 20 minutes along the river and one can see the ruins of the castle of the Bishop of Cavaillon high above on the right.
Nicolas had a spare pushchair which made our walk effortless with Chhavi. The route was jam-packed with souvenir shops. We stopped by to have a look at the river which was fascinating as a lot of green plants grew beneath the water.
As per Nicolas, morning is the best time to visit the village as there is a good frequency of buses in noon when the village would be much crowded.
Our next stop was Lavender Museum, the ticket price was included in the tour price. A guy explained to us about the kinds of Lavender and guided us into the room which had a screen running a movie on distillation process. We had an audio guide to walk through the next room which had traditional distilleries and other information on the history of the distillation process.
Later a lady guided us through the products they offered. We were amazed to know that Lavender was used for medicinal properties like sinus, joint pains, headaches, allergies, and bruises.
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque
15 minutes drive from the museum was the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque. Abbey with the lavender blooms is the postcard-perfect view of the Provence lavender fields. Though the lavender had not fully bloomed still the view was spectacular. We visited the abbey and moved on to our next stop.
Gordes is the most beautiful quaint village perched on the edge of the plateau of Vaucluse.
Must see are the castle turned museum and the St. Firmin church.
Walk around the charming narrow cobbled alleys or enjoy the wonderful panoramic views of the Luberon fields and villages.
We had our lunch in one of the restaurants recommended by Nicolas and drove looking for the Lavender fields in full bloom.
Lavender fields of Lioux
The actual season of lavender bloom is June end to August and we had planned our visit at the start of the season and were not very sure if we will be able to see the blooms but thanks to Nicolas who along with his wife look around for possible fields to offer to their visitors’ late Summer. We found abundant of Lavender fields. The hues and scent of the Lavender fields were bewitching and we could not hold back our ecstasy for being able to capture this postcard perfect picture.
Roussillon is another beautiful village of France located in Luberon at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse.
Surrounded by countryside the village has one of the biggest deposits of ochre and is famous for its impressive red cliffs and ochre quarries. Saunter in the narrow medieval alleys of the village through the remarkable façades of the houses painted in reddish orange shades of ochre or select one of the trails to walk through the jagged ochre cliffs backed by information which would cost you around 2.50 Euros.
Visit the paint shop to wonder at the myriad of shades available.
Our dream of visiting the fields of lavender blooms was crossed out from our bucket list. Nikolas bid us goodbye with lovely souvenirs.
We definitely recommend to book this tour with Nicolas and Veronica, they also offer several other tours of the wild and historic Provence. They also offer customized tours. Visit Provans for more details.
Have you experienced these purple blooms of Lavender fields and where? Do share with us your experiences.
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