The roads out of Gordes lead to the
castle-like chateau of the Marque De
Sade that lays in ruins on a hill above
the village of Lacoste.
One narrow cobbled street rimmed by
beds of hollyhock and lavender leads
to textured doorways, lace curtained
windows, and through tiny portals,
twisting up the hill to a trail beneath the
castle and then down the other side.
Painters work at easels trying to
capture the elusive light and texture in
an age old ritual of Provence plien air
A fruit and vegetable market at the
bottom provides crushed olive
tapinades spiced with basil and fresh
From there you can drive east to the
center of commercial lavender
Nearby in Menerbes, another hilltop
village, 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.
Abbey of Senanque
Happy people flood into the plaza in
front of Avignon’s Palace of the Popes
atmosphere is one of friendly people
enjoying each other and the end of a
The the sun splays golden light across
the facade of the huge Gothic stone
building making a warm backdrop to
tables that welcome visitors for a
carafe of Cote du Rhone.
They celebrate wine, food, and the
crisp light of a Provence sunset in an
aura of sensual treats that are at the
heart of Provence culture. The friendly
people toast the light and each other
as the buildings come alive with
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 like Sault and to make visits to the
lavender museum and the lavender distilleries.
A particular favorite is the Abbey of Senanque near Gordes where the
grey stone 11Th Century convent makes an alluring backdrop for the
fields of lavender.
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
Wheels will give you freedom to visit the heart of lavender country in the hills of Provence.
Good Provence cuisine, “la cuisine du soleil,” cuisine of the sun based on tomatoes, olive oil, is
another of the sensual pleasures you will find in lavender country.
Jacqueline, the owner of Avignon’s Hotel La Madeleine recommends La Fourchette as one of her
favorite restaurants. 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.
From Avignon you can head
east for the lavender fields. If
you have a rental from
Avignon's TGV station you
can reach 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
The Abbey near Gordes
Gordes, a village built in the Middle Ages clustered on a hill east of Avignon 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.
The tourist office recommends a B&B at a private house in Gordes that comes with a lavish breakfast
provide by owner Anne-Marie Joyeux. This charming and friendly lady will help you make the most of your
The 11th Century stone Abbey at Senanque. is a grey stone walled monastery that forms a backdrop for
row upon row of royal blue lavender
Your rental car will give you freedom to head from Senanque over the back roads to the village of
Rousillon an area where mines produce ochre used in artists paints and where the hilltop village glows
with red walls of ochre infused stucco laid on buildings that seem to sprout like mushrooms from cliffs of
Rousillon’s tiny streets will entice for a walk up the winding road to the rustic church at the top of the hill
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.
Provence: Friendly People Avignon to Lavender Country
The Friendly People in The
South of France
Provence's Friendly People in Avignon and Lavender Country
are typical of the Friendly People of Southern France.
The people of Provence make the Culinary Vacation and the
hiking vacation through lavender country a Treasured Memory
of Healthy Eating, Low Fat French Cooking, and great hiking.
A Culinary Vacation in Provence, the South of France
Provence, Best Time to Go:
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
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
Provence vegetable recipes include tomato and eggplant,
Provence dessert recipes, fresh fruit and Provence goat
cheese and a Cotes du Rhone.
Patches of glowing purple, the lavender in full flower, share fields with
rows of wheat at the end of June.
Lavender Production is surprisingly complex and involves distilling.
Apt and Sault were once centers for production and processing
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
Where is Provence
Provence France Hotels
Provence Sightseeing, Biking
Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles
Provence Cooking Vacation
Reach Provence From Paris
International flights serve Paris, Marseilles, Local flights reach Nimes and Avignon.
TGV Fast trains serve Avignon, Aix, Nimes, and Marseilles from Paris. Local trains serve Arles
Rental cars are available at CDG and at the TGV Stations in Paris, Avignon, Marseilles, and Nimes. Available
also in Arles.
AutoEurope is available in Avignon at the TGV train station.