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Study cooking Provencale, Rent a car from Autourope in Avignon,
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Lacoste Views of Lavender Country

The D-900 road east out of Avignon (D-901 to D-900) towards Apt leads to the valley between the Plateau de Vaucluse and the Luberon  Hills.   Many hilltop villages line the road , none more picturesque than Lacoste and its castle-like chateau of the Marque De Sade.  
The ancient building lays in ruins on the hilltop above the village of Lacoste and can be reached by a walk up a winding cobble street.  
The hike will reveal great views of the vally.    

Lacoste
Lacoste

Lavender

In Provence during the month of June, the lavender ripens for the harvest that will take place at the end of the month or in mid July.  
June is a good time to plan  some tours through the fields of ripening lavender in the hilltop villages near Lacoste.  Nearby you will find the
 lavender museum and see the antique distilleries.
A particular favorite in the area near Lacoste is the Abbey of Senanque near Gordes where the grey stone 11Th Century convent  makes an alluring backdrop for the fields of lavender.

To reach Lacoste,  the Medieval city of Avignon can be your first stop after the two and a half hour high speed train ride from Paris. Renting a car at the train station is easy enough if you book on the web through Autoeurope.      

Wheels will give you freedom to visit Lacoste and the other villages in the heart of lavender country between the Plateau de Vaucluse and the Luberon.
Good Provence cuisine, “la cuisine du soleil,” cuisine of the sun based on tomatoes, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and the in-season fruits and vegetables along with seafood from the nearby coasts can be found at La Forchette restaurant in Avignon. The Escargot a La Provence and grilled salmon get no better and the ratatouille quiche spiced to perfection.  Make a reservation or chance getting there at 5 pm just as they open.

Avignon’s lively pedestrian only streets lead to the plaza where the sunset will transform the sandstone colored front of the Palace where 14Th Century Popes had once ruled Christian Europe.

Reach Lacoste

From Avignon you can head east for Lacoste and the lavender fields.  If you have a rental from Avignon's TGV station you can reach other hilltop towns like Gordes, a village in the hills of Provence billed as one of the most beautiful in France.  In June,  fruit stands along the way will provided fresh cherries, apricots, and peaches at their peak of ripeness. Fields full of upraised sunflowers will provide great photos while you work  your way east through rolling farm country toward the Petit Luberon and lavender country.

Across the valley from Lacoste, Gordes, a village built in the Middle Ages is clustered on a hill and makes an imposing sight as you drive up the narrow road to the central plaza.  The Medieval castle crowning the village is now a museum and houses an information center where the staff will help with lodging and sightseeing information.
From Lacoste is it a short drive to many hilltop villages and interesting sites. The 11th Century stone The most notable might be the Abbey at Senanque,  a grey stone walled monastery that forms a backdrop for row upon row of royal blue lavender at the end of June.
You reach Senanque from the Gordes road.  Follow the back roads from the abbey to the village of Roussillon, an area where mines produce ochre used in artists paints.  This hilltop village glows with red walls of ochre infused stucco laid on buildings that seem to sprout like mushrooms from cliffs of red stone.
between red stucco buildings that reveal many shuttered windows and ancient doorways with overhanging grape vines.  
The Terrace Restaurant in the village center serves an exceptional grilled salmon accompanied by stuffed squash and grilled mushroom with an endive and leek side, all delicately spiced to perfection.

Lacoste Provence, Village in Lavender Country France

Cherries,  apricots, and melons  ripen in June making it a great time for a vacation in Provence and the cooking of the many healthy French food recipes      
If you find a vacation rental,vacation Gite, or a villa with a full kitchen, a food chopper, grinder, and a processor you can use the local produce and spices to do some healthy French cooking.
Chicken recipes using herbs de Provence and Provence recipes using Provence lamb smothered in thyme and savory and  cooked over a bed of Rosemary is one of the traditional dishes.
Provence vegetable recipes include
tomato and eggplant, Provence dessert recipes, fresh fruit and Provence goat cheese and a Cotes du Rhone.
Do You need an International
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Drive in Europe.
In France and Italy you can rent
a car and do not need to show an
International Permit, only your
drivers license    Italian law,
however,  requires that.....  
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No Passing for commercial vehicles
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Rotary
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selection, price, and ease of booking on the web. . Shop online well ahead of your trip and choose diesel (more economical) or gas, luggage space,(important)  standard or automatic,(important)  two door, four door and other options.  Reserve extras such as baby seats, strollers, telephones.: GPS,  Cell Phone       see  renting a vehicle in Provence
Car rentalSpeed limits will be clearly marked and  the Rotary will be a welcome site with its directions to various TGV are available in all large cities and at many Train Stations..
Information for those renting a vehicle in Provence
The village of Lacoste is a worthy stop. The narrow street leading up the hill ends at the former castle of the Marquis de Sade
Lacoste
Sault, a hilltop village at the heart of lavender production
Lacoste in Provence  Lavender Country,
Offers Great Hiking and Biking in the South of France
Lacoste, the hilltop city in the background will offer some great views of the valley

Biking Lavender Country Near Lacoste

A 60 mile bike trail runs between Apt to the east and Cavalion to the southwest . Country roads lead to each village, many with steep hills.

Lacoste sightseeing, Lavender Country

One this narrow cobbled street rimmed by beds of hollyhock and lavender and fronted by textured doorways and lace curtained windows, you walk through tiny portals as you twist up the hill to a trail beneath the castle.  On the way you will see painters at work trying to capture the elusive light and texture as they practice the age old ritual of Provence plien air painting.
A fruit and vegetable market at the bottom of the hill (
Tuesday, Market day) could provide crushed olive tapinades spiced with basil and fresh  fruit for a picnic at the top of the hill.
From the top  you can see northeast to the rising mountains and the center of commercial lavender production, Sault.

Close by you have
Menerbres, (6K) another hilltop village where you can visit a 10Th Century church after a climb along steep cobble streets with a grand view of the valley and the Luberon Hills.
South of Lacoste you can find the GR 97, the Grande Randonnee for a serious hike across the valley.

Lacoste Provence, a Village in lavender country in the South of France makes a great hike to the top of the hill for a view of the chateau of the Marquise de Sade and the valley below the Plateau de Vaucluse
Lavender country includes Sault, above, and Apt  Country roads lead to each village, many with steep hills.
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