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Where to stay for lavender scenes in Provence?

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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!

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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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    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.

    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

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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!

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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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    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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    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!

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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.

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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).

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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.


    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.


    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.

    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

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    Lavender fields, poppy fields and  sun flower fields framed by cyprus,
    vineyards and olive trees and kissed by sunshine and the mistral
    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

    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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

  • Report Abuse

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    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

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    One more thought !!

    On the instructions I provided for getting to Gordes, after you pass Coustellet & continue on the D2 towards Gordes, there is a nice Lavender Museum on the right about a 1/4 mile past the D2/N100 junction at Coustellet (on the D2).

    Stu Dudley

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    I appreciate everyone's advice, especially yours, Stu. I've studied you information in detail and will definitely use it.In fact, I'm extremely excited as I'm sitting here - and guess I'll just have to pray it's a very cool spring and early summer so that those lavenderfields have no choice but to wait for me!

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    >>>I'll just have to pray it's a very cool spring and early summer so that those lavenderfields have no choice but to wait for me!<<

    No, no, no - please don't do that. We'll be in Provence during the last 2 weeks of June to watch the lavender blooming.

    Stu Dudley

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    Oh dear no, you don't deserve that after all the support you've given me. On the other hand - you wouldn't want me to follow those wonderful routes just to be left utterly disappointed,would you?!?!?

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    I wouldn't go the last week of July, I'd try to visit no later than mid-July if possible. I did that this year (and saw some of the Tour de France to boot) and we arrived July 18 - I found many fields to be past their prime. I would have liked to have been there at least one if not two weeks earlier. There were some good fields in mid-July but I got the sense a week earlier would have made all the difference.

    This is relating to those near Sault, by the way. I'm not sure about other areas - the Valensole Plateau for instance. That may be a little earlier, even. I'm not sure.

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    ps. here are some photos I took (I am just full of photos this week!)

    I realize these look pretty decent, colorwise, but I'm telling you - the bright colors were few and far between at this time of the summer (after July 18). I did see a lot of the greyer hues that cigale mentions...

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    Lovely photos, thanks flygirl. At the moment there's unfortunately no way my job will allow me to get there earlier, but I'll keep your advice in mind. I think I should hang on a little with any reservations - a miracle might happen one way or the other!

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    Hi I havent been on Euro forum for a while as Ive been traveling to Asia..Just trying to put a sketchy itinerary together for Provence for the end of June.....I am having trouble routing this on a map (luberon?)...yes I need to get a Michelin map......Stu do you have a jpeg on this general map??

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    Hi Stu
    I would love to know if you know of a little gite in the middle of a lavender field in order to make my summertime dream of coming from South Africa to Provence come true in the best possible way. You are clearly really knowledgeable. I would so appreciate any names and contacts you have of any farms like this, or on a chambres d' hotes basis in a mas, but a gite would be awesome as there are four of us traveling together as Thanks so much Tessa

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    You don't mean that literally, wanting a gite in the middle of a lavender field? It isn't common to have a large residential building in the middle of the fields, but you might find something close by one or on a place that had a lavender field on part of their property. I do remember some place I was considering up near Grignan was right near a lavender field, I'll see if I can remember it.

    Here's a mas that is next to vineyards and lavender and it's a nice Logis de France property, I really like them.

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    Oh sigh! Glad this came up again and am wondering if the OP ever got to the lavender fields. On our tour of the Luberon, guide warned us to beware vipers in the lavender.

    Cute place, Christina.

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    Thanks Christina for the reply. Yes, I really DO mean IIN a lavender field: ie the farmhouse is set next to one or the small barn /cottage is IN one! I am. not looking for a big house and only a simple dwelling or room on a farrm. I am sure with all the knowledge that is out there in cyber space, Someone must know of someone.... The place you referred me to is lovely though and thank you for taking the time to do this. If you or anyone else has any really charming little simple gems they know of I would be so so grateful. Apparently there is a book called chambres secrets and it has gorgeous places in it ..if anyone has a copy and could share some websites they have in it I would be so grateful. I was given a few names of BEAUTIFUL places but sadly the names I was given are all full. Check out la ferme des sablons, as one of them...maybe someone else can benefit from going to this special place at a time when they have vacancies. Really hope still to find our special place in Provence...with your knowledge and help, thanks so much Tesaa

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    From the above posts, July seems to be the best month to view lavender fields in bloom. Would August 20th be too late to see any lavender fields for in the Sault region ?

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