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Where to stay for lavender scenes in Provence?

Where to stay for lavender scenes in Provence?

Oct 2nd, 2009, 03:48 PM
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Where to stay for lavender scenes in Provence?

I have an obsession to see the lavender fields in bloom in Provence. I'm planning to visit the area in the last week of July next year, but will have very little time (arrive very late Friday evening or early Saturday morning in Marseille, and depart again on Monday afternoon from Marseille.)

It's still a year but I can't wait to start planning! Main focus: atmosphere & scenery. Can't be bothered with shopping that much - at least not on this trip. It's very difficult for me to get to France during the lavender season. Next time I can focus on the history, art, etc.

I would appreciate any advice on :
1. The best/prettiest village/town to stay in
2. The quickest form of transport from Marseille
3. Advice on day or half-day tours to take beween the villages as I would prefer not to drive.

All advice will be appreciated, so thank you so much in advance!
MarieJoh is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 04:32 PM
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I would stay in the Luberon to see lots of cute/small/hill villages and some lavender fields close at hand. The picture you've probably already seen of the lavender field in front of an abbey is in the Luberon - Senanque. Also from the Luberon, you can take a picturesque drive to the larger lavender fields around Sault.

There are plenty of hotels on the Route to Senanque close to Gordes in the Luberon.

No lavender fields around St Remy - which is a popular place to stay for many tourists.

I would rent a car & drive if you have less than 2 full days to do all this.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 2nd, 2009, 08:23 PM
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bookmarking...
hoping to go there someday myself!
cybertraveler is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 12:39 PM
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Thanks Stu. Of the places you've named, Gordes is the one that I've come across most in my research. Any advice on the fastest transport between Marseille and Gordes?
MarieJoh is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 01:30 PM
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You might be interested in the link about tours to the fields from Avignon. That way if you didn't want to rent a car you could stay in Avignon and go out from there.

http://www.filfranck.com/Lavender_To...non_france.htm

If nothing else the site gives you some villages to look at for staying on. My expereince is the same as Stu's-a car is really helpful in the region unless you really hate to drive
jpie is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 02:39 PM
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Thank you so much jpie. We are South Africans who drive on the left hand side of the road, so we would prefer to avoid the stress of concentrating more on the road than the scenic views!The above website is very useful- for the tours as well as the names of the villages. You never know, we might become "daring" and rent a car, but at the moment we're playing it safe!
MarieJoh is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 02:41 PM
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You didn't specify if you are arriving in Marselle by plane, boat, or by train. If you arrive by plane, rent a car at the airport - it's quite easy to get to Gordes from Marseille by car, and this will afford you maximum time exploring the lavender fields & small villages. The airport, like all airports, is away from the center of Marseille.

If you arrive by train or boat:

There are many departures from the Marseille St Charles train station to the Avignon TGV station (which is outside of town in Avignon). The trip is 30 mins. Instead of renting a car in Marseille and then having to navigate through France's second largest city either Friday on get-away day, or on Sat, I would take the TGV (very inexpensive if you get PREM tickets 3 months in advance) to the Avignon TGV station & rent a car there. It is only about 30-40 mins to Gordes from there by car. Driving in the Luberon is easy, and you won't be driving through any major cities to get there. Do the reverse on Monday.

If you stay in Avignon instead of Gordes, note that Avignon is a large city - and it won't be the cute little village you might be looking for. It is another 40 mins away from any lavender fields in the Luberon & 45-60 mins away from the lavender fields around Sault (and about 60% of the drive to these fields is through not-so-pretty countryside). If you take a "group" tour, they might not stop & dawdle where you want to stop & dawdle, and they might dawdle where you don't want to dawdle. Dawdling is the way to enjoy Provence.

I have lots of write-ups detailing scenic drives through the cute villages & lavender fields in the Luberon, and around Sault. We've vacationed in this region for 16 weeks (returning next June for 2 more). Let me know what you decide & I'll post these drives and some suggestions as to when to visit Senanque Abbey.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 3rd, 2009, 06:18 PM
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Oh Stu, please post your tours I would love to incorporate your drives on our next trip. We follow the Tour de France every year so we've been to many of these areas but never taken a leisurely tour of the lavendar fields and that's one thing that I want to add next year.

Thank you for your help.
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Oct 4th, 2009, 03:28 AM
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Thank you so much for your advice, Stu. I know having a car will be the best, but to tell you the truth, neither my friend not I have the nerves for a drive on the "wrong" side of the road - not to mention from Marseille! Having said that, just thinking of what I know I'll miss out on, makes me considering it seriously.

We hope to arrive from London by plane. What about taking the TGV to Avignon, then rent a car and stay in one of those cute villages you've mentioned?(That's of course if I manage to drive after a Valium or two- haven't use anything like that before, but will need SOMETHING!!!) Yes, I think that's what we should do.I haven't talked this through with my friend yet (whose usually the willing participant while I make the decisions), but I'm definitely ready for you write-ups. ANY advice - village to stay, B&B/inn, routes, etc -apart from how to get their from Marseille airport, will be welcomed with open arms.

Can't wait to hear from you again!
MarieJoh
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Oct 4th, 2009, 07:14 AM
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Staying close to the abbaye de Senanque would be a good choice:

http://www.provenceweb.fr/f/vaucluse/senanque/
Michael is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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What a wonderful website, Michael - fantastic villages & B&Bs! Thank you so much.
MarieJoh is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 08:57 AM
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here's the lavender route

http://www.beyond.fr/themes/lavender_th.html
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 09:18 AM
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I noted that you intend to visit the last week of July. Is anyone else concerned with your timeline? We visited Provence and the Drome and toured extensively this year-June 27 to July 18--with a goal of viewing the lavender fields. By July 10, we were witnessing their harvest even in the higher elevations, not all of course, but it had generally peaked. I'm sure that nature provides a different season each year but you might consider this info if your short stay has this specific purpose.
macanimals is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 09:26 AM
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I've stayed in Avignon and Aix-en-Provence several times, and being larger cities (they are about the same size, around 100K, I believe), they are good for public transportation and various tourist tours. I think if you stay in smaller places, you just won't really have those options, so if you don't rent a car (and I understand your point, it can be stressful even when you drive on the same side), I think you should stay in a larger place, not some small village. The two just don't mix. For lavender, I think Aix would be the better choice as it's closer to those sites.

There is a large tourist office in Aix which will have all kinds of information to help you. If you can't find a day bus tour to suit you, being closer to those things, it might not be too expensive to rent a private driver for a day or something like that. It might be cheaper than renting a car which seems to have gone up a lot in the last few years down there, from my observations. At least if you only did that for one day versus renting a car for 5 days or more. If you just don't want to rent a car in a big city, that might be a problem as you can't rent one in small places very well. Frankly, I've rented at both Avignon and Marseille airport, and it was easier to drive from Marseille airport to Aix than around Avignon. That airport isn't right in the city, you know, it's outside it a ways.

I remember there was a thread on here not too long about about someone who had hired a private day tour guide for Provence for some people staying in Marseille during a cruise, and that guide sounded like they knew what they were doing.

Here is a listing on the Aix tourisme website of day bus tours, they have a reasonable selection and seem to run around 50 euro a person for the day. Some of those will do private tours for you, but that seems pretty expensive (Tylene charges 160 euro per person for a private day tour).
Christina is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 10:13 AM
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Get a map of Marseille & Provence. Look north from Marseille to find the Marseille/Provence airport. You’ll see that the airport is very far away from the train station in Marseille. In fact, it is about one-third of the way to the Luberon (Cavaillon). The airport is next to the freeway that takes you to the Luberon. It’s an easy airport to get in & out – certainly nothing like Heathrow & CDG. It makes no sense to me to take a taxi (or whatever) into Marseliile (on Friday get-away day if you arrive on Friday), and then take a train to Cavaillon (there are trains from Marseilles to Cavaillon, where you could rent a car). Unless this is your first and last trip to “mainland” Europe or the US, you might as well bite the bullet & rent a car. It will save you several hours at the beginning and end of your short visit – plus allow you to visit Provence at your own pace.

Hope I’ve convinced you to rent a car at the airport. If so, here are instructions for getting to Gordes. Head North on the A7 & follow the sighs to Cavaillon. Get off at the Cavaillon exiyt (#25) and drive through Cavaillon, following the sights to Apt. Some of the route through Cavaillon is one-way – so that will make driving easier. You will pass the train station. Once you are through Cavaillon (still following the signs to Apt), you will be on the D2, and soon you’ll intersect the N100 (which runs through the heart of the Luberon) at Coustellet. At Coustellet, do not turn onto the N100, but continue straight (north) on theD2 – which will eventually get you to Gordes.

We stay in Gites (houses) in France, so I can’t offer any advice about B&Bs and my hotel info is a little old. There is 1 nice hotel directly in Gordes – the Bastide de Gordes. Fantastic views, but a little pricy. There are a half-dozen hotel about a 20 mins walk away (downhill then uphill) on the Route de Senanque. Les Bories & Mas des Romarins seem to be popular with other Fodorites. We stayed at the Domaine de l’Enclose about 12 years ago.


Here is my recommendation for your sightseeing itinerary for 2 days. Basically, it’s two events:
1. Explore the beautiful countryside, lavender fields, and cute hill villages of the Luberon.
2. Explore the lavender fields around Sault, with some side trips to a few less touristy villages.

Obviously, it’s better to arrive on a Friday so you can get an early start on Saturday. You’ll be there at peak tourist season, and many of the villages & “top sites” will be crowded. There are fewer crowds in the morning.

Three tips:
1. Gordes & Roussillon are the most crowded villages in the Luberon. Visit these very early in the morning (have breakfast there at 8:00 & visit at 9), or late in the day (coffee pick-me-up). In France, unless you stay at a B&B, hotel breakfasts are expensive & not required.

2. Senanque Abbey is one of the most photographed sites in Provence (along with Gordes from across the ravine). Visit Senanque early in the day because:
a. The sun will be in its best position to light up the lavender field and the face of the Abbey
b. Fewer people there to spoil your pictures. I don’t know what time it opens. There may be a gate that is closed till the Abbey opens. We’ve taken pictures from outside the gait & waited till it opened.

3. Shops are closed on Sunday – except in Gordes & Roussillon. I think villages are more interesting when shops are open. Perhaps, however, in peak tourist season, shops in Bonnieux will be open on Sunday.

The stars (**) next to the villages and sites are the star ratings given by Michjelin (0 to 3 stars)

The following suggestions assume that you arrive on Friday night.

EXPLORE THE LUBERON – DO THIS ON SATURDAY

If you stay in Gordes*, start by visiting this wonderful perched village first thing in the morning. Have croissants & coffee there. Explore this village thoroughly – not just the areas directly around the Chateau. There is an ATM in town on the side of the chateau where the outdoor cafés are located. There is a GR (walking route) that goes through this village and it passes by the lower sections of Gordes. Try to pick it up & follow it down hill. The route is marked by a red & white stripe, usually painted on the sides of buildings. As you face the Chateau with your back to the main entrance to town (the steep hill), there are several shops on your right (look for a Pharmacy) and follow one of these streets down to where it passes a church. The road turns right just past this church (there is a GR mark where it turns right). (If you go straight past the church, where is a wonderful panoramic view - look for the “Point de Vue” sign). If you follow the GR down hill (after you have turned right past the church) you will see an old medieval washing basin (lavoir) and also get a close-up view of how they built these perched villages on top of rock outcroppings. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the center of Gordes down to this wash basin. There is a nice shaded area near the basins where you can relax & enjoy the surroundings. This is a very interesting walk.

After Gordes, head to Oppede le Vieux*. Leave Gordes and at Les Imberts, veer to the left just past a gas station. Then take a left opposite the “Exit” sign to Les Imberts and at a sign that says “clos de Cesar”. Go over a small bridge and past a lavender field. At an intersection, keep going straight towards the N100 and the Luberon Mountain range. At the N100, take a right and then immediately turn left & go under the railroad tracks. Follow the signs to Oppede les Vieux. There is a town of Oppede which is not “le Vieux” (old). It’s a pretty drive getting there from Gordes. Part of the drive strangely passes through a parking lot. As you approach Oppede le Vieux, get the cameras ready.

After Oppede, head towards Menerbes* (another pretty drive getting there). Explore Menerbes. If you have read Peter Mayle’s book, you’ll know that this is where he lived. Many people just drive through Menerbes – we did the first couple of times we visited. It’s actually a great town to explore on foot. Some of the most interesting areas are on back streets & even on some dirt streets. There are many artisans scattered throughout the village.

After Menerbes, head to Lacoste. Although the “main road” to Lacoste (D109) will take you up on a plateau & directly into Lacoste from the west, I prefer the road south of Lacoste (D103 towards Bonnieux then the D3) that passes through some pretty countryside with vineyards & cherry orchards (bypassing Lacoste). As I said, there is no wrong road in this area - if you have the time, take every one. Both Lacoste & Bonnieux are perched villages – staring at each other over a valley. The settings of both are quite spectacular. The best view of Lacoste is from the D3 just west of where it intersects the D109. Take the D109 into Lacoste & drive up into the village, but turn around at the Mairie parking lot & retrace your route (heading to Bonnieux). This will afford you good views of Bonnieux. One unfortunate situation is that you really can’t get good views of both Lacoste & Bonnieux at the same time of day because of the sun’s position. We usually view Lacoste on our morning drives and Bonnieux in the evening just prior to dinner.

Explore Bonnieux*. Walk up the narrow R Mairie (see the green Michelin Guide) to the Terrasse to get a wonderful panoramic view of the area. Walk down R Voltaire & peek into the antique shop to see a very interesting interior.

Drive through Bonnieux & head toward Lourmarin on the D36 & look behind you to see another great view of Bonnieux – more picture taking. When you get to the D943, head north toward Apt.

An optional stop is at the Fort de Buoux (look for signs just after the turn onto D943) which was a refuge for the Waldensians and then destroyed by Louis XIV. Pick up the English guide & walk around the Fort. A bit of climbing is involved, but I found the fort more interesting than I expected and the views from the top were great. There are usually a lot of rock climbers in this area.

Find Saignon on your map & drive there on the D232 from Bonnieux. There are some pretty lavender fields on each side of the road as you approach Saignon. There is a picturesque view of the village from this road too. Explore Saignon on foot – there is an interesting lunch spot in town.

Take the D48 to Apt. There’s another lovely view of Saignon from this road and another lavender field. Notice the rock formations west of this road. This Saignon/Apt excursion will add about 45 minutes to your touring, and the outskirts of Apt and some of the urban sprawl are not what you want to experience. However, Saignon is quite lovely & it’s in a pretty setting and the lavender fields make a wonderful experience (in early summer when the lavender is in bloom). If the lavender fields are not in bloom & you need to save some time, then skip this excursion. Instead of heading to Saignon after Bonnieux, take the D149 north to the N100. There is actually a very pretty lavender field with a view of Lacoste in the background along this road. My wife has taken several pictures of this scene.

Head to Roussillon* and explore this village (map in the green guide). You will have to park below the village & walk up. There are a lot of shops in Roussillon and they are open on Sunday (never been there on a Monday). This is a good place for lunch and, although the cafes might seem a little touristy, it’s a fun spot if you happen on a sunny day. Visit the ochre fields close by, but do not wear white shoes, white sox, or touch your face with your hands. The ochre color is hard to get out. Don’t try to drive through Roussillon – my wife got stuck on our last visit & she was mad at me for hours for insisting that she drive through Roussillon.

After Roussillon, take the D104 to Goult and explore this town. Check out the restaurant I recommended (Bartavelle). Wander through this town that is a bit off the main tourist itinerary. Find the Chateau & walk the streets around it. Like Gordes, notice how the Chateau engages the rock outcropping it is sitting on. There is an area near a windmill with some wonderful views looking south. There is another great viewpoint marked “panorama” – look for the signs at the windmill end of the village, towards the chateau. If I had to live in one of these pretty towns in the Luberon, this is where it would be.

After Goult, drive through St Pentaleon, and then back to Gordes.

I’m not a fan of Fountaine de Vaucluse, although it’s “rated” quite high. I’ve never seen the fountaine because I’ve never been there in the spring when the fountaine gushes. The town is way too touristy for me, but the walk along the tree-shaded Sorgue river is very nice if you can do it at a time when there are not many tourists around (in the AM).

If you have seen pictures of an Abbey with large Lavender fields in the foreground, that’s Senanque Abbey** just outside of Gordes. This scene is actually on the cover of the green Michelin guide. The drive there is beautiful and the setting is lovely. I would visit Senanque the first thing on Sunday or Monday morhing.

You probably won’t visit all of the Luberon on one day. Take your time & enjoy it. If you can’t/don’t want to visit it all on Saturday, see the remaining villages & countryside on Monday morning before you leave for home.


EXPLORE THE LAVENDER FIELDS AROUND SAULT ON SUNDAY

The lavender will be in full bloom in late June (depending on the weather) 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.

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 managed to use up a couple of rolls of film 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 you’re into perched villages and want to see my choice for perhaps the most “perfect” village, and you want to visit my choice for the best lavender field, take a bypass to Simiane la Rotonde*. Just before reaching Sault on the D943 (before going over a bridge), take the D245 (on the Michelin map) southeast towards St Christol. This D245 is actually marked as the “D244 – Lagarde d’Apt” on the road signs, and on an IGN map I have, it’s marked as the D244 too – so I guess Michelin is wrong. There are more pretty lavender fields on this D244 (or D245). At St Christol, take the D30 south towards Apt & immediately start looking to your right (west) for the perfect lavender field (at least, it was in ’07 - sometimes lavender fields become wheat fields, or they get replanted with baby lavender). On the right side (west) of the road opposite the spot where the D166 forks to the left from the D30, there is a large asphalt pullout off the D30. Park the car there, and walk back to the lavender field. Then walk into the field on its south side. For the first 50 meters, there is purple lavender. The second 50 meters its light blue. It becomes rich blue after that. Keep walking west on the path until it turns left and exposes more rich blue lavender. Keep walking till you make another right to see the rows of lavender, with St Christol in the foreground and Mt Ventoux in the distance. This is a million dollar (should say Euro) postcard view. We took about 10 pictures of this field. Return to the car and 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. 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. Now you can 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 real pretty village. Try to find the small covered plaza 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 plaza, which formerly was a marketplace.

Return to Sault on the D244 (AKA D245) – the D30 is not scenic.

As you drive up into town and get to a spot where several roads meet, there is a gift shop on your right. The second road to the right just past this shop will take you to a parking lot. Explore Sault. There are a few cute shops & many outside spots to have lunch. Opposite the gift shop, there is a very famous nougat store. 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 Valcluse 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 (imagine Lance Armstrong biking up this mountain & securing the TdF victory in ‘02).

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

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

We’re leaving lavender country now & you’ll visit the Gorges de la Nesque**. From Sault, leave south on the road you traveled on before (toward St Christol) and look for the street sign indicating a sharp right hand turn, and get on the D942 to Gorges de la Nesque. Stop at the several view points along the Gorge.

After the Gorge ends, take the D942 into Villes sur Auzon, then the small D150 to Blauvac. As you approach Blauvac you will notice on your Michelin map that the road is a “green” (scenic) road. Indeed it is. You’ll get wonderful views as you continue on this road. Drive into Malmort until you spot the fountain, town gate, and lavoir (wash basin) – take a picture. Continue on the D77 toward and Venasque*. There is a picturesque view of Venasque from the D77 – the best view will be in the morning. Explore Venasque – it’s quite interesting.

Take the D4 southeast from Venasque. There are two options for returning to Gordes. Take the D177 where you will drive through another gorge and past Senanque Abby** OR take the D15 to Murs then Joucas where you will get a great view of the rock outcropping at Lioux. Both of these routes are very scenic.

MONDAY
Depending on when you arrive & what you were able to see, either:
1. Visit any remaining villages in the Luberon,
2. Visit Senanque abbey
3. Head back to Marseille for your flight home & stop in Lourmarin for a visit on the way. Shops may be closed Monday morning in Lourmarin. Many shops (my wife’s favorites) are closed in St Remy Monday morning (in June).

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Oct 4th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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read my trip report AH Provence.

July 1st was he lavender festival he year I went 2007-end of July? maybe too late.
frenchwow is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 10:46 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
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AHHHHH    PROVENCE

Lavender fields, poppy fields and  sun flower fields framed by cyprus,
vineyards and olive trees and kissed by sunshine and the mistral
winds......
This is the trip I read about, researched and planned for years.
June 19th, 2007
We had a rough start  to  the trip on the l9th of June 2007. We were at
Hopkins from 1:30-10PM. Changing flights, sittings at gates, boarding
and deplaning 2 planes, canceled flights, air traffic problems and
finally being tolled to return on the 20th. I  made new flight plan by
cell phone while waiting in line at customer service. Caring on luggage
and having the cell to make our own flight changes, resulted in only l
day delay for the long awaited trip to Provence. I got new boarding
passes at the customer service before leaving the airport.   We were sat
the airport from 1-10PM. The new flight plan was actually better as it
eliminated the light to Gatwick.  Cioci Dolly took us to the airport and
picked us up when we had to delay a day.
June 20th
Thought I would be celebrating my birthday in Provence, instead it was
spent at airports and on planes.  Denese took us to the airport.  The
3pm flight to JFK was delayed till 4:30.  We couldn’t land for 45
minutes due to air traffic. The 8:45 flight finally left JFK at 10:20.
We had emergency row seats with lot of leg room but very narrow Air
France seats.  I talked to Dodge from Untours before leaving JFK and we
decided to pick up  the car in Marseilles as Max, the on site rep wasn’t
available to meet us in Marseilles.  We could finally sip champagne and
relax-broken toe and a day delay.
June 21st
Arrived in Paris l 1/2 hours late.  We made the mistake of going
straight to the gate and had to sit behind security for 3 hours till the
flight to Marseilles. Arriving  in Marseilles a day and  half late, we
found Avis picked up the car. They assigned us a station wagon but we
exchanged it for a small Cleo Renault diesel. As we drove out of the
airport, we saw our first batch of Lavender!  We got  on the right road
and found our way to Max and Regine’s -the  Untour rep in Isle sur
Sorgue.  We missed the meet and greet reception as well as the 2 hour
info meeting. Max gave us his phone numbers and told us whoever is on
the round about has the right of way.  Lucille Bruneau was called and
she lead us back to her property and our country cottage for  a 2 week
stay.

The Bruneau’s live off of route D25, on the route to Caumont. They have
a tall, old farmhouse.  Across a field and stone parking area, sits 2
fairly new stucco cottages with tiled roofs and surrounded by wild
rosemary.
The cottage was lovely and clean. The living room/dining room had walls
painted 1/2 blue and 1/2 ecru. There was a small kitchen area with small
refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and microwave.  There were two bedrooms.
The guest room had 2 single beds, blue shear curtains tied back and
laid on the floor.  There was a built in closet and two very small side
tables with tiny lamps.  The second bedroom had a “lit matrimonial,
wicker side stand, small lamp, wicker chair and one angled built in
storage cabinet.  The walls were half beige and half peachy rose to
match the drape that covered the shuttered window.  The dining room had
a patio door with wrought iron tie backs and a tiled inlayed table with
4 wicker chairs and a wicker sofa table against wall.  A black wrought
iron chandelier hung above the table.  There was a blue, well worn loose
pillow sofa in  the living room with a large wicker trunk for an end
table and a wicker table in the corner.  A bundle of lavender was in a
basket on the table in the corner.  There was  a built in hutch that
contained the dishes and a TV.
There was a WC room.  The laundry room also had the sink, mirror and
shower.  The small window was covered in wrought iron.
The roof was orange tiles and the patio outside the door had a blue
metal table and chairs. There was a  breezeway between our “house” and
the l bedroom  attached annex.  The front of the cottage had an
abundance of wild rosemary that grew like low shrubbery between the two
rental cottages.  Typically French, there was no AC and no screens. It
was a very private and perfect country residence. ( As there was no
telephone and the cell didn’t work, we would be very happy the property
owners were just a field away.) To start us off after a long journey,
Lucille, the property owner, left us a  crusty, pointed loaf of bread,
quart of milk, quart of grape juice, round of camembert, 4 slices of
ham, a bottle of local wine, coffee,  a jar of grape jam and a jar of
homemade lavender honey. We enjoyed our little “pique-nique”  at our
Province blue metal table and chairs “en pleine air.”
We drove to Isle sur Sorgue and saw the cafes, water wheels and flowered
foot bridges. It was June 21st-Fete de la  Musique.  Though it was late,
we did pass by and hear a few bands along the banks of the Sorgue.  We
also noticed the lovely Plane trees with maple shaped leaves and spotted
light bark. We didn’t stop to have dinner but returned to the cottage,
unpacked and went to bed around midnight.   Regretted not bringing what
I had thought of from  home-paper towels, TP, netting for window, more
oatmeal, trash bags....
June 22nd
Really our first day in Provence after having lost 1 day due to delayed
travel.  Art made coffee and I made the oatmeal that I had luckily
brought from home.  Late start- left the cottage at 10 AM.
We drove north to Vaison La Romaine on very winding roads.  We saw
fields of sunflower and pink and white flowers.  We past by a huge
market in Carpentras.  Vaison La Romaine had  Roman ruins below  and a
medieval  hilltop fortress.  Art was amused by  the PIZZA restaurant
flanked by the fortress. There was an one arch Roman  bridge leading to
the city.  We walked around the cobble stone streets and saw the
colorful Provincial printed linens, lavender bunches and colorful
pottery for sale in small shops.  I decided to buy my lavender at the
festival at Ferrassier on the 1st of July. We had a cup of cafe au lait,
bought herb moulin and a magnet.  We saw a colorful nursery school play
yard with all the children wearing cloche style  sun hats.
We drove back through the large bustling town of Carpentras but too late
for the market. We drove on to the town of Venasque.  We quickly learned
that you can’t have a full menu or prix fixe lunch after l:30.  We
shared a salad and croque monsieur at a lovely little second floor
restaurant overlooking the town fountain.  Art had a creame brulee and I
had  a scoop of cassis  sorbet. We also  tried the “Saulet,” an
aeromatique herb aperitif. As it was the early afternoon, the town
appeared deserted as all shops were closed. On the way out of town, we
bought huge black cherries from a girl and her Dad on the hillside up to
the town. We then drove to Pernes les Fontaines.  We took a picture of
one of the 38 fountains and the stone arched wall town porte. We took a
picture of the clock tower.
On way back through  Isle sur Sorgue, we stopped at SPAR and bought
lavender TP, wine, juice, bananas and bread.  Arriving around 7:15 pm,
we stayed “home” for the evening and had  our wine, bread, cheese and
fruit in the lovely breeze of the outside dining table.  We decided on
Arles for Saturday.
June 23rd Saturday
Well rested, we were up at 6:30 AM.  We drove to Cavaillon. The church
was closed but we had a guy in the street show us to his favorite
“fruterie” to buy a Cavaillon melon. We took a picture of the St.
Jacques arch and noticed the white, rugged stone hillside. We stopped
and bought 2 croissants and saw the renown candied melon at a Cavaillon
chocolatier/patisserie.  A very nice cafe owner gave us directions out
of town to Arles.  In Arles, we walked and walked and walked. We visited
the Arlatan museum and saw the tomb of the poet Mistral, paintings and
the period display of costumed mannequins around a set table.  We walked
around the market and saw paella, cheese, olives, spices........We
bought chevre, comte and roblochon and the olive twisted puff pastry
bread called fougasse. We saw the Cesar restaurant but the prix fixe for
lunch was 35 euros.  We searched out another on my list but it was
closed for 3 months.  We had lunch at a brasserie  on the Blvd
Clemenceaux. I had a shrimp salad and Art had salmon.  We found the
perfect place to park just off the market street. We went to see the
Roman theater and the Amphitheatre.  I think after seeing the Coliseum,
Art was a little unimpressed. After lunch, I went back to buy lavender
but the market stalls were gone.  The street cleaners with disinfecting
sprays were already diligently at work.
We left Arles and drove to Fonteville.  We drove up to the Moulin
d’Alphonse Daudet and took pictures of the Moulin and of the lavender
patch near the tourist office. Art was so pleased to have seen the
Daudet windmill. We  then drove onto to the “village perche” of Les
Baux. We walked nearly to the top.  The views of the valley were
beautiful. We had a cassis and melon ice cream and drove onto St.
Remy.   We parked the car outside of the walled city. We walked around
the cobble stone streets.  We happened upon the chocolate shop of Joel
Durand. He was in the store. The walls were lined with pictures of him
and articles of the famous  chocolatier.  We chose l6 pieces of the
lettered, square chocolates with flavors ranging from orange to
lavender, rosemary and thyme. We went to an olive oil, vinegar and
truffle “degustation” store.  We tasted cassis vinegar and lemon, green
and black olive oil.  We stopped at a boulangerie and bought bread and
quiche.  We had wine, cheese, bread, quiche and fruit for dinner.
We had good intentions but were too tired to go to the Thor St. Jean
festival.  Lucille stopped by and gave us 2 large zucchini.
June 24th Sunday
Up at 6:30.  Thank goodness we are both “morning people.” We were in
Isle sur la Sorgue by 7:30 am for a parking space.  We stopped at the
Longchamp cafe for cafe au lait. We took pics of the Sorgue river and
watched the market vendors set up.  There seemed to be more  of
everything else than  antiques.  Flowers, rotisserie chicken on spits
with onions and potatoes below to catch the drippings, cigale shaped
soap, paintings,  lavender bunches, Panama hats, clothes-everything
Provincial.  In the antique area, we found a ceramic nose with large
nostrils on a string! We took a picture of the water wheel and left the
market at 8:50 to get to the Fete of Tarascon.  We arrived in Tarascon
with 45 minutes to spare before the arrival of Tartarin.  We parked on
Blvd Victor Hugo near the gold virgin at St. Jean Porte. We followed the
early  1900’s dressed “paraders” beyond the chateau down to the Plage
Tartarin. We waited and waited and jostled for the perfect standing spot
to see the Tartarin entourage come up the hill to the dragon.  We saw
hunters, Provincial dancers, band, white horses, a young  all boy’s
soccer team, and an old group on bicycles. I took lots of pictures. We
then moved to the street to see the parade and take more pictures.
After the dragon passed with the pink and white plumed men to run with
it, we started walking back.  We came upon the parade again.  A hunter
took off the black sun hat of mine that Art was wearing and
ceremoniously tossed  it high in the air.  He returned it with a single
shot.  Art grinned from ear to ear to pose with the hat. We followed the
crowd to the Quartier Kilmaine.  It was the quarters for the horses.
There was a large dance hall building.  We had a taste of pastis and
little pieces of pizza provided by the city.  We stopped by a bistro
and  the special was a macronade-macaroni with seafood on top.  It
looked delicious.  We ordered a local rose and then were told they were
out of the special. Too late again for lunch. On way back to Isle sur la
Sorgue, we stopped at Fontaine Vaucluse.  I bought the lavender lady
santon for 20.00 euro.  We went to the Occupation museum and learned
that the “systeme D” expression came from the war time when people had
to get around the system or invent new ways to accomplish the
impossible.  I also learned that the black market was known as BOF,
“beurre, oeufs, fromage”-the staples of French life. As it was a Sunday,
the city was very crowded. We watched the canoe rowers and browsed the
gift shops.  There were interesting wall hangings with open shutters
and lavender and rosemary in tiny pots.  We hadn’t seen those before.
Back in  Isle Sur la Sorgue, it was too early for dinner of course as
they only start serving dinner at 7:30.  “The Rules are the Rules” as
Art reminded me many times. We walked around for 2 1/2 hours.  We
stopped for a glass of wine and a beer for Art.  Finally, at 7:20 we
went to the Bellevue.  Art had perch and I had a great confit canard
with marinated veggies. Art had a layered strawberry dessert and I had
an apricot flan for 20 euros each.
June 25th, Monday We had a late start after coffee and Cavaillon sweet
melon. We drove to the charming perched village of Rousillon.  The
buildings are all red, orange, pink and yellow ocre.  On the way into
the city, I saw a very interesting pointed orange rock formation.  We
took lovely pictures of arched walkways, clock tower and courtyards.  We
saw a yellow pigeon or dove on a lamp post. Then we drove onto  to Apt.
We saw a field of lavender and stopped to take a picture.  We thought
they should sell bumper stickers, “Nous arretons pour la lavande.”The
Cathedral was from the 11/12 century.  The St. Anne Chappelle had XV
stained glass and also saw the 4th century sarcophagus.  The crypt
contains relics of St. Anne.  We bought soap and table cloths. We left
town on the wrong side. We took N100/D33/D22/D34 up a very steep, narrow
and winding road with many hairpin turns  up to Lagarde d’Apt.  At the
top, which appeared to be nowhere-was a lovely little restaurant with
outside picnic tables and white umbrellas, Le Bistro LaGarde.  The
altitude was  over 1000m. There were lavender fields  in the valley
below the cliff road but I was too afraid to look down and it was far to
treacherous to stop.
We relaxed in the beautiful breeze and sunshine.  Art had an entrecote
romarin steak/frites and a salad for 12 euro. I had the bar lou- Greek
fish in tarragon sauce with courgettes in oil. We shared my appetizer of
fried sardines in sauce, a variety of cheese and peach melba ice cream.
The elderly chef who was a  lady, wore a chef hat and checked a couple
of times if the meal was good as did the waitress.  I had a glass of
peach Kir. Nearby, we found the one lane road to Chateau du Bois.  This
is the location of 200 acres of lavender which supplies the lavender
factory in Coustelet. It appeared to be a modern farmhouse not a chateau
but it did have lavender fields.  There was lavender of several shades
of purple, probably different harvesting time. Art took a pic of me in
the lavender field that was teaming with bees. The route to Sault from
Chateau du Bois was quick and easy.  Approaching Chateau du Bois from
Sault would have avoided the cliff, treacherous route. In Sault, we saw
a guy riding a donkey that he simply tied up to a post. We then
continued on D30 to
Bonnieux.  We walked up the ramparts for a great view and a glass of
wine, Rouge du Luberon.  We drove around quite a bit past the Coustellet

Lavender museum and factory that we were saving for July 1st.
Approaching Isle sur la Sorgue, we stopped at the Lidl grocery for ham
and laundry soap. I made  zucchini with butter and garlic with
sandwiches of ham, cheese and brown bread for dinner. After a long day
of driving and a difficult route, we stayed “home” and relaxed.
June 26th Tuesday
Today we drove to the picturesque, high on a hill, perched village of
Gordes by way of N100, D99 and D109.  We drove the route by way of
Lagnes.  Gordes has high stacked  stone walls. As the market vendors sat
up, we stopped for  a cafe au lait and a warm croissant au chocolat.  It
was quite windy and chilly before the sun warmed the lovely city. I
bought a purple and green table cloth for 35 euro. The church was quite
interesting.  The walls were all decorated with frescoes resembling the
provincial patterns.  There was an interesting statue of Joan of Arc.
All the streets were steep cobblestone. Art bought kissing S/P shakers.
The vendor had stepped away and I heard a woman say, “Alors, c’est
gratuit,” just as we would say in the US.  We stopped at the Restaurant
Farigoule that was in the Michelin green guide.  We really enjoyed the
light peach, green and yellow interior. The 13.50 prix fixe lunch was
delicious and
the presentation was perfect. Art had perch on pasta. I had duck with a
galette de pommes de terres, a circle of zucchini with mushrooms, a
tartare of saumon on a bed of cucumber, a citron mousse tarte with a
sable crust. There was even a sprig of lavender in the galette.
There was a Brit with a French wife and grand daughter that chatted with
us.  He took our picture but he didn’t push the button twice, so, once
again, we do not have a pic of the two of us on this trip. (I have to
remember to bring a one time use camera for strangers to  easily take
pics  next time.)
We then drove onto the nearby Abbaye  de Senaque.  We took pictures of
the lavender close up and the famous long distance shot.  We opted not
to
visit the abbey.  We took a round about way back through Carpentras. We
were in the green Gorges scenic route for a short while. We stopped at
the Intermarche and bought a rotisserie chicken, tomatoes, juice, water,
bread and a lemon tart.  We were back by 4:30, had dinner and stayed in
for the evening.
June 27th Wednesday
Today we drove to Avignon.  We parked in the Palais garage for the day.
We took a little train ride around the city, past the Pont Benezet and
through Rochers park.  This saved us a lot of walking and a quick way to
see the major sites.  We window shopped the famous hat shop, Chapeau
Mouet. We walked through Les Halles at Place Pie.  It was a food market
in a building.  The exterior was covered in greenery.  Art had his
glasses fixed at an optician.  I bought a quilted pillow case and
fragrant soap.  They had an incredible variety from cinnamon to
chocolate...
We went to the Palace wine shop and took a picture of the fresco in the
Guard room but decided not to take the Palace tour as the guide book
indicated it is mostly empty. We searched out one restaurant on my long
researched list. La Forchette is a small restaurant with two rooms and
forks all over the walls. On the table was a tiny burlap sack with a
pistol to grind fresh salt grains. I had slivered raw, marinated
artichoke with parmesan shavings and breast of duck.  Art had the Daube
stew.  We shared the choux chantilly with chocolate sauce and a Cotes du
Rhone pitcher of wine.  Avignon is a walled city (3 miles of wall) with
14 portes.
We were home by 4PM.  I made spaghetti, salad, bread and fruit.
June 28th Thursday Lazy day.  We didn’t leave till 11AM. We had ham,
bread, cheese, apple, banana, juice and coffee for breakfast.  We went
to Isle sur Sorgue for the day.  It was market day. They displayed
everything but the Sunday antique section. I bought a miniature
painting, T shirt, towels, Banon goat cheese  and more soap. Art bought
capris (which he tried on in a truck!), tshirt and cookies. We shared a
shaved eggplant pizza.  We walked to the park and saw two groups of men
playing boules.  We finally got in to see the musty Eglise les Anges.
Ornate frescoes and paintings line the walls. We stopped at the Caveau
de la Tour and had 4 kinds of goat cheese (Truffe, Tchoun, Buchette and
Picadou).  Art had a Banol Tepier rose and I had a Chateau Neuf du Pape
chardonnay. We stopped in the charcuterie and vowed to return for
provisions another day.  We came home, napped, dressed and went to Thor
for the one Untours planned dinner. We sat with Max and Regine. It was
at a mas-farmhouse.  It was a large, high ceilinged banquet room.
Outside, we had a variety of tapenade and Kir and chatted with other
Untourist people.
For dinner, we  had salade verte, quiche provencale, pommes frites
rotis, roti de l’agneau and an almond/pistachio mousse with expresso and
chantilly cream.  Art talked to Marc who had just taken his wife and
daughter to Monaco for a few days and I talked to Warren and Theta who
were renting an appartment with 6 other friends. We found our way home
in the dark  without a problem.
June 29th Friday
We were up at 6AM and out of the house by 6:35AM. We drove through
Avignon, Ales and then on to Vialas and Nojaret to search out Art’s
childhood pension.  Art found the Protestant church (Temple) in Vialas.
We went to the city hall and they gave us the church key with no
questions asked.  Art took a lot of interior pictures of the stark, damp
and dark church.  We saw a graveyard with tombs from 1899. Since it had
been 50 years since he  had last lived there, it made it difficult to
find anything recognizable as it was all built up. We spoke to a lady
who was very impressed that we were American and that he was returning
after more than 50 years to see the village.  She also knew of the
family name Mazaurique. We drove part way to Nojaret but the road was so
narrow, we decided to park and walk up.  Art recognized a path he had
walked on as a child.  Just as we were about to leave, he noticed a name
plate on a house.  It was the same last name of the people he had lived
with when he was 12 years old.  I left a note in French requesting the
owner contact him by e-mail.  The road was very high and winding,  high
up  in the Cevennes.
We spent about 2 hours exploring Vialas and Nojaret. We stopped at a
little town square.  We sat on a park bench and had a little pique-nique
of ham sandwiches, peas/carrot/potato, bean salad and a peach for
dessert. We didn’t have the wine as we had a long way to drive. We then
drove on to Uzes. The Cathedral in Uzes has an unusual shuttered organ
and an unusual rectangular bell tower.  We drove to the Pont du Gard.
We walked  the Pont, took pictures of the Pont and kids playing on a
huge arrow-head shaped raft in the water below.  We went to the
extraordinary museum that demonstrated life in Roman times and the
building of the Pont.  We saw a movie of Nimes and the Pont. We drove
around  Nimes for over an hour,  past the Maison Caree and
Amphitheatre.  We finally found the hotel but decided it was too far
from the city center and decided to drive back to Isle sur la Sorgue. We
ate at Bouchon along the river.  The presentation was beautiful but the
food a little disappointing.  We were home at 9:40 after a very long and
eventful day.  I was looking forward to Sunday-the day of the Festival
of Ferrassier-the day I would see, pick, process and  buy my lavender
and lavender oil and all the other wonderful items I envisioned at the
Fete de la Lavande. We had no idea we would never  get to the Fete.
June 30th Saturday  During the previous  night, I had a bad bout with
the flu.  In the morning, Art went to the pharmacy.  I took the meds and
felt better but weak and Art feared I was dehydrated.  A doctor came to
the cottage at 2PM.   I explained I was weak and concerned about
“electrolytes”. He reassured me I would be fine by the morning and
advised me to drink lots of liquids alternating between salt and sugar.
I had tea and tonic water. The dreaded symptoms had subsided but I felt
weak.  At 6PM Art went to the farmhouse to talk to Lucille and Lucien
about beekeeping.  At out 6:15, I went to the kitchen and got 3
strawberries.  I was standing next to the couch when I felt dizzy and
suddenly  fell to the floor.  I could see my ankle was terribly off
center.
I screamed “Art-Help.”  As the cottage was not air-conditioned, the
kitchen window was open.  My voice carried across the field  to the open
door of the farmhouse.  Art came running.  I told him to go to the
farmhouse and call an ambulance. The ambulance took me to the Cavaillon
hospital. The ankle was dislocated and fractured in three places.  Since
I had eaten  1/2 of a banana and 3 strawberries, surgery was delayed
until Sunday-the day I was suppose to go to the Lavender Festival. Art
returned to the cottage alone.
July 1st, Sunday  I was very grateful we had seen the vast majority of
the
cities on our itinerary. I was heart broken that I would not go to the
Lavender Festival.  The ankle was dislocated and broken in three places.
As the anesthesiologist joked, “you are American, of course you had to
have the biggest brake-all things are big in America.” I was operated on
at !0:30 am with an epidermal  and returned to my room at 4PM. I was
given pain killers and an IV and told not to move while the leg swelling
subsided.  Art came to see me everyday at noon and 5 or 6PM.  It was fun
for a few days handling everything in French. There was no AC in the
hospital and it was on a noisy street. The nursing and aide staff was
very attentive and the surgeon and the anesthesiologist came to see me
regularly.  The breakfast coffee was in a bowl and expresso was served
in the afternoon. The food was not a Michelin star but Art ate it with
me. When the surgeon  put the cast on after three days and in the room,
it felt like a vice and I was concerned about additional swelling on the
plane. They cut large rectangles on both sides and split it down the
middle and then held it together with tape and gauze on the staples
incisions. The 7 days were spent with visits from Art twice a day, diary
accounts, reading,  many calls to insurance company and urging  the
doctor to put on cast and expedite my departure.  I was able to contact
Cleveland Clinic and make an appointment for follow-up care.   A male
nurse was sent from Toronto to escort me home.  He was very ineffective
and left my x-rays, ”les radios” on the first flight.  We flew business
class but it did not accommodate the horizontal leg necessity. We flew
from Marseilles to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Chicago and Chicago to
Cleveland.   It was a very stressful return. We left at 2:30 AM,
arriving  home on July 7th, Saturday.  We missed 4 days of touring, the
Lavender Festival and our original July 4th departure. We had perfect
weather, perfect accommodations, saw many lovely,  tiny towns of
Provence-it was a great trip,  despite  ending with the injury and
hospitalization.
frenchwow is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 02:19 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 14
Wow - what can I say...I'm without words.

Thank you SO much Stu, I'm sure nothing can beat the info you've provided. And yes,you have convinced me; I don't think anything else but renting a car will do.I'm actually considering staying in a B&B near Lacoste or Menerbes now!

Frenchwow, I enjoyed reading yours - hopefully mine will be accident-free (have fractured my foot 2 weeks before the summer break so I think I've had my turn!)

To Macanimals and frenchwow, thanks for bringing me back to earth in time - one usually reads that the lavender is in bloom from June - July,and I'm actually a bit worried now that the end of July might indeed be too late. It will be extremely disappointing, but in that case I'll just have to shift my focus. I'm sure all those lovely villages and towns will make up for it.

This was fantastic reading material for a cloudy Sunday afternoon.

Thanks again everyone - I'll report back after my trip.
MarieJoh is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 02:29 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,733
Marie, you will see lavender at the end of July. In some areas the Lavender is gathered in the beginning of August .
But..They start losing their brightness and take on a greyish hue. Read the kink I posted above.
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 02:39 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,780
Peak lavender blooming depends on the weather & elevation of the field. One year we drove through the fields in mid June on the Valensole Plane and it was in full bloom. However, the lavender around Sault was not really blooming yet. One year aftert a major heatwave in late May/early June the lavender around Sault was blooming like3 crazy. In '07, it we very cool the first 3 weeks in June when we were there, and the lavender really didn't get started till around the 4th week of June. We've never been around the lavender fields in mid-July. I think there is a lavender festival in Ferrassieres (see above) in August. Ferrassieres is much higher up in the hills above Sault.

Menerbes & Lacoste would be good locations.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  

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