Sault

Though at the hub of no fewer than six main roads, Sault remains an utterly isolated market town floating on a stony hilltop in a valley of lavender. Accessed only by circuitous country roads, it remains virtually untouched by tourism. The landscape is traditional Provence at its best—oak-forested hills and long, deep valleys purpled with the curving arcs of lavender. In the town itself, old painted storefronts exude the scent of honey and lavender. The damp church, Église Notre Dame de la Tour, dates from the 12th century; the long, lovely barrel nave was doubled in size in 1450.

From Sault all routes are scenic. You may head eastward into Haute-Provence, visiting (via D950) tiny Banon, source of the famed goat cheese. Wind up D942 to see pretty hilltop Aurel or down D30 to reach perched Simiane-la-Rotonde. Or head back toward Carpentras through the spectacular Gorges de la Nesque, snaking along narrow cliff-edge roads through dramatic canyons carpeted with wild boxwood and pine. If you’re exploring the Lavender Route, head eastward some 48 km (30 miles) to discover the epicenter of Haute-Provence’s fabled lavender in the sleepy, dusty town of Forcalquier.

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