The roads out of Gordes lead to a village where a castle-like chateau of dominating a hill above the village of Lacoste.
One narrow cobbled street rimmed by beds of hollyhock and lavender leads past textured doorways and lace curtained windows through tiny portals, twisting up the hill to a trail beneath the castle.
Painters work at easels trying to capture the elusive light and texture in an age old ritual of Provence plien air painting.
On market day, fruit and vegetable stands at the bottom provide crushed olive tapinades spiced with basil and fresh fruit.
At Menembres, another hilltop village offers a 10Th Century church after a climb along steep cobbles streets with a grand view of the valley and the Luberon Hills.
Below the church patches of glowing purple lavender in late June flower share the fields with rows of wheat.
Lavender Production is surprisingly complex and involves a complex process of distilling.
From Sault you can go west over the Vaucluse plateau, through the foothills of Mount Ventoux, and above the canyons and gorges reaching the highway beside the Rhone and the road back to Avignon.
The high speed train includes spacious seats with a hint of air conditioning in first class and you can speed at nearly 180 mph non stop between Provence and Paris. The trip takes two and a half hours,
Abbey de Senanque near Gordes
Abbey of Senanque, end of June
The TGV Train from Paris reaches Avignon in under three hours; this is a good city to start a Vacation in Provence.
The City of Avignon can be a good base for day trips in much of Provence, for biking and hiking trips, for the study of Provence cuisine, and for trips through lavender country.
The favorite local wine is Cote du Rhone.
In Provence during the month of June;
the lavender harvest takes place at the end of June into mid July.
Fields of lavender ripen in the hilltop villages around Sault and the lavender museum is open for tours.
The Abbey of Senanque near Gordes is a grey stone 11Th Century convent making a good backdrop for photos of the monk’s fields of lavender.
The Avignon TGV Station offers rental cars. Bus or taxi is also available into the city.
Good Provence cuisine, “la cuisine du soleil,” or cuisine of the sun is based on tomatoes, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and the in-season fruits and vegetables along with seafood from the nearby coasts.
Jacqueline, the owner of Avignon’s Hotel La Madeleine recommends La Forchette as one of her favorite restaurants.
The Escargot a La Provence , grilled salmon, and the ratatouille quiche are favorites.
Avignon’s pedestrian only streets make shopping a pleasure and they lead to the plaza and the Palace where 14Th Century Popes once lived.
in the hills of Provence billed as one of the most beautiful in France.
In the months of June and early July watch for fruit stands selling fresh picked peaches, apricots, and cherries. Fields full of ripening sunflowers will make good photos along the way east through the rolling farm country as you head toward the Petit Luberon.
The Abbey near Gordes
Gordes is a village built in the Middle Ages that is clustered on a hill east of Avignon and makes an imposing sight as you wind your way 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 helps visitors with events and sights in the area.
Head from Senanque over the back roads to the village of Roussillon 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 red stone.
Roussillon’s tiny streets enticed a walk up the winding road to the rustic church at the top of the hill between red stucco buildings that revealed many shuttered windows and ancient doorways
The Terrace Restaurant in the village center serves grilled salmon accompanied by stuffed squash and grilled mushroom with an endive and leek side.
Provence France, Vacation in Provence
The Vacation in Provence, The South of France
Provence, France, Cooking Vacation Healthy Eating,
Low Fat Cooking
Abbey of Senanque end of June
The village of Saignon above the town of Apt offered great views of lavender country.
A favorite restaurant in Apt is La Manade. A limited menu mom and pop restaurant with a blackboard special for the day makes a great lunch in the heart of lavender country.
Avignon is a good base for trips to the heart of lavender production
Palace Of The Popes Avignon
Palace Of The Popes Avignon, Provence
La Manade Restaurant, Apt, Provence
Provence France is a great place for a vacation of hiking, biking, sightseeing, and learning to cook Provence style.
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.
Autourope is available in Avignon at the TGV train station.
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