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Lavender spot near Avignon

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Hello,

Will stay at Avignom for Lavender field sight seeing! Any recommendation of must go? Will rent a car during my visit.

Cheers
Loklok

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    Sault

    Lavender Fields Route – this will take about 4 ½ to 5 hours with a visit to Simiane la Rotonde and a picnic or pizza-truck lunch in Sault. Leave by 9:00am

    The lavender will be in full bloom in late June (if spring has not been too cool) and in July (before harvesting). This is a lovely drive. It’s off the beaten path. Allow ¾ of a day. We have taken several of our friends on this route & they have all said the same thing – “this is what I expected Provence to look like”. There’s no ugly commerce – just vineyards, lavender fields, perched non-touristy medieval villages, spectacular gorges, mountains, and a chateau. Even if you are not visiting during lavender season, this is a very pretty drive – try to do it on a clear day.

    This route starts at Les Imberts, which is a small village just south of Gordes. Go towards Gordes on the D2, but just before Gordes, take the road to Sault that turns to the right (I think it’s still the D2). This will take you just east of Gordes where you will see another nice view of Gordes. From the D2, take the D102 toward Lioux where the road passes Joucas and there are vineyards everywhere (and some very “exclusive” homes). Follow the signs to Lioux and get on the D60 just past Joucas. As you approach Lioux, you will see a large “sheared” rock formation to your right. You may have already seen this formation from several vantage points in the Luberon – it’s quite spectacular in the evening when it “glows” as the late day sun hits it. Don’t go to Lioux, but instead take the D60A (towards Sault) which parallels the D60 (that goes through Lioux) – this will give you the best view of this rock formation. Once past Lioux, get on the D943 to Sault and follow the signs to Sault.

    A few miles past Lioux, you will pass an interesting looking Chateau that still looks inhabited. Several miles past this Chateau, you will see some majestic lavender fields on both sides of the D943, with a fantastic view of Mt Ventoux in the background. We’ve take dozens of pictures here, and also (discretely) clipped a few lavender stalks to throw on the floor of the car so that when we stepped on them, the lavender scent would be released and we would get the “smell” of Provence to go along with our viewing of Provence. Continue on the D943 toward Sault.

    If really like perched villages and want to see my choice for perhaps the most “perfect” village, and some more beautiful lavender fields take a bypass to Simiane la Rotonde*. Just before reaching Sault on the D943 (before going over a bridge), take the D245 southeast towards St Christol. Be patient – there are lots of lavender fields on the D245, but they don’t start to appear right away. At St Cristol, take the D30 towards Apt, then take the D166 and then the D18 to Simiane, but do not drive into this perched village yet. Instead, bypass it and drive toward Carniol on the D18. You will pass some more lavender fields in a valley just below Simiane, and then climb up on a bluff where you will get a spectacular view of Simiane with these lavender fields below – keep looking behind you toward Simiane to find this viewpoint. This fabulous view is only good in the morning at least 1 hour (or earlier) before “high noon”. After admiring the views, reverse the car & go back to Simiane for a visit.

    As you approach Simiane, bear to the left and follow the signs to “la Rotonde”. This road may look like it is leaving Simiane, but it is actually getting you to the back of the town where there is a parking lot. Wander through Simiane. It’s a very lovely village. Try to find the small covered terrace with views back to where you viewed Simiane from the bluff. There is a place to get lunch close by & they will serve you on this terrace, which formerly was a marketplace.

    Return to Sault from St Christol on D245 – the D30 is not scenic.

    As you drive up into town and get to a spot where several roads meet, the second road to the right after this intersection will take you to a parking lot. Explore Sault. There are a few cute shops & many outside spots to have lunch. There is a very famous nougat store close to the intersection. The most scenic place for lunch is near a very large park that overlooks the massive lavender fields in the valley below Sault (you will be driving through these fields next). There is usually a pizza truck parked nearby if you don’t want a “sit down” lunch and you just want to plop on a bench in this grassy area, admire the view, and munch on a slice of pizza.

    Now, let’s drive down and look at these lavender fields below Sault. Exit Sault on the D942 toward Aurel, and as you drive past the grassy area where you had the pizza with the views, look for a sign to Mt Ventoux and the D164. Once on the D164, it will take a very sharp left turn, but you will go straight on to a small road that is not numbered on your Michelin map. A sign says “Chemin des Lavandes”. Look at the map & try to find this small road that parallels the D942. It is to the west of the D942. Once on this small unmarked road (parallel to the D942), follow it for about 1 K and then take a left (It will probably be the first left that looks like a drive-able road). Keep following this road, bearing right most of the time as it snakes around a little. About 3 K past where you turned left, a few roads will converge. Bear to the right (don’t go to les Crottes) and head uphill to where the road connects with the D942 just south of Aurel. You’ll see a lot of lavender on this drive. If you mark this route on your Michelin map, it will look like the “Big Dipper”.

    Take the D942 to Aurel and then toward Montbrun. Just past Aurel, you will leave the Department of the Vaucluse and enter the Department of the Drome where the road quality will change and the D942 will suddenly become the D542.

    Get the cameras ready as you drive to Montbrun*. As you approach the D72 just before Montbrun, look to your left for a good view of the village of Reilhanette. Continue on to the perched village of Montbrun. We’ve shot a lot of pictures of this village from down below. It’s not worth exploring “inside” this village, however, unless you need to stretch your legs.

    You will now drive up onto a higher plateau where you will get some fantastic views of Montbrun, Mt Ventoux, the surrounding mountains, and to where the “true” (vs. the hybrid varieties) lavender is grown.

    From below Montbrun, take the D542 into Montbrun, but as you are heading up into the village, the road will split to the left into the center of Montbrun, and to the right out of the center – take the road to the right and try to find the road sign to Ferrassieres. You will turn right onto this road to Ferrassieres – it’s marked as the D189. It first passes some sort of vacation village/spa, and as you follow the D189 up and up and up, you will get some great views of Montbrun and the mountains – including Mt Ventoux .

    Once up on the top of this plateau, you’ll find more lavender fields.

    From Ferrassieres, take the D63 towards Sault and then the D95 to Aurel, and then take the D942 back to Sault.


    Stu Dudley

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    I couldn't find a word to express my whole hearted thanks to you, Stu Dudley!

    I just follow your route by using google maps, seems manageable for me! Can imagine how great this would be! You are absolutely right, I try to do some good sightseeing, so I would rather follow native folks than the travel guidebook! You make my day!

    If nothing wrong to my booking, I will go for a day trip on Jul21, Sunday, hope it isn't too late for Lavender.

    Great to see your reply again!

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    Dear StuDudley,

    I just back from my trip to south of France. And I am lucky to have your advice about the day trip from Avignon to Sault, I follow 90% of ur suggested path and GPS helped a lot too!!!

    The lavender field is magnificent. The section from Sault to Aurel is the best!!!! And ur navigation tips work perfectly as i easily find all the signs and turns!!! An extremely pleasurable experience!!! Thank you!!!

    And for others who is in Provence now, urge u to try this route recommended by StuDudley!!!!

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