Taking pictures with the enchanting purple rows of the Lavender fields is on top of everyone’s bucket list. And the lavender fields of Provence in France are the 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 wonderful 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. Nicola the owner of the tour company was our guide for the day. Everyone was picked up 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 medieval town of Avignon. It was interesting to know that old city of Avignon is a walled city with well-preserved ramparts and seven gates dating back to 14th century.
Nicola himself being an avid traveler has traveled to the most part of Asia, eight times to India alone. The tour company is run by himself and his wife Veronica. They alternatively take tourists on tour as they had year old baby girl Adele to take care back home.
Our first stop was the 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 is used as an appetizer. 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 lined with souvenir shops was jam-packed with tourists. We stopped by to have a look at the river which was fascinating as a lot of green vegetation 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.
The museum also had some small lavender fields which were equally beautiful and we could capture some wonderful pictures of the purple rows.
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque
Fifteen minutes drive from the museum is the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque. The lavender fields around the abbey weren’t in full bloom still it made for a postcard-perfect picture of the ‘Provence Lavender’ fields. We made a quick visit to 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.
A walk around the charming narrow cobbled alleys is a must. The alleys offer wonderful panoramic views of the Luberon fields and villages below.
We had our lunch in one of the restaurants and drove around looking for the fully bloomed Lavender fields.
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 and his wife who knew the places around very well and had a fair idea of possible fields to look for blooms. 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.
Later we visited the village and explored the quaint alleys winding through the rustic houses and church painted in different shades of ochre.
There is a shop where one can shop for an amazing array of hues and shades.
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? Do share with us your experiences.
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