Seeking of French Lavender Fields

By Irina

I’d like to visit France three times:

- In the beginning of summer, Normandy, when plump French cows are put out to graze on young, lush grass, and their milk smells of spring, which means that fresh, soft, young Brie cheese covered with flavored rind would be the highest quality. Moreover, Mont Saint Michel might look fantastic against the green-blue background of summer. Although I suppose this abbey looks wonderful on the background of leaden clouds too.

- In the middle of summer, Provence, to catch a sight of lavender fields.

- And in autumn for the New Wine Festival. Although maybe we would choose Italy for this event.

So, the summer vacation came up, and we decided to go to the south of France to seek lavender fields. Don’t ask me, “Why seek them? They are all over the place there.” As it turned out, to capture a peek of lavender blossom took a fair amount of searching.

French lavender field. Provence, France.

French lavender field in Provence, France

French lavender field and august sunset in Provence, France.

August sunset in Provence, France

On the Internet, you can find anything, and we had read, “In France, the lavender bloom occurs in the middle of summer. At some locations, it fades earlier than at others, but the Lavender Harvest Festival is celebrated August 15th each year at the town of Sault.” Seems we will be right on time!

We took off July 30th and stayed in Lyon for a couple of days. We longed for a new experience and wanted to try a Michelin cuisine. It is no secret that Michelin stars are not given for life; they must be confirmed each year. Our choice of the restaurant Eskis was completely worth it.

On August 1st we left Lyon and moved towards the mountain village of Gordes where we were going to stay for a few days enjoying the sight of French lavender.

The town of Gordes. Provence, France.

France has marvelous roads. On the way to Gordes we stayed for a while at the Roman medieval town of Vaison-la-Romaine. How could we miss a town with the Roman excavations: a theatre, gardens, atrium, and thermae? Across the river, you will find the really medieval district crowned with the Chateau d Eau (a ruin). We were there for a couple of hours, but of course it was not enough for Vaison-la-Romaine.

Take a look at Notre Dame de Nazareth. Do you see the foundation?

Notre Dame de Nazareth. Vaison-la-Romaine, Provence, France.

Notre Dame de Nazareth in Vaison-la-Romaine, France.

The Notre Dame de Nazareth in Vaison-la-Romaine, France

The Catholic cathedral rests on the former Roman foundation, and its origin goes back to Merovingian times, but the latest building was erected between the 11th and 13th century. However, we wouldn’t stay here for long because somewhere out there our first lavender field awaited us and we wouldn’t like to reach the hotel later than five.

Between Vaison-la-Romaine and Gordes, we came upon an unusual place. What it is and who constructed it, I can’t say. Maybe you know?

Something like little Stonehenge near Vaison-la-Romaine, France.

Something like little Stonehenge near Vaison-la-Romaine, France

Something like little Stonehenge near Vaison-la-Romaine, France.

Something like little Stonehenge near Vaison-la-Romaine, France.

We had almost reached our hotel. The GPS navigator led us along the local attraction–Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque–an active Cistercian Abbey where a dozen monks produce special lavender honey. You can find many pictures of Sénanque Abbey on the Internet, and almost all of them show the lavender fields around. A pity, but the lavender had already finished blossoming here.

Home, sweet home. At last, the hotel Mas de la Senancole 3*.

Hotel Mas de la Senancole, Provence, France

From a designer point of view, we had an unpretentious room, but with a minibar, which means that we had a place to keep our cheese and wine. Let’s start. A glass of rosé wine for the arrival!

The hotel has about twenty rooms. We preferred the ground floor with a private piece of garden equipped with two chaise lounges, an umbrella, and a table with chairs. First impressions are belle France, belle Provence. :) Everything is beautiful. The staff is polite and does not disregard you due to the ignorance of French. There is a strange myth that in France you should speak only French; nothing of the kind, as it turned out.

The hall of Hotel Mas de la Senancole. Gordes, Provence, France.

The private part of garden in Hotel Mas de la Senancole. Gordes, Provence, France.

We dined only in the garden and built our plans for the upcoming day.

One of our French dinners in the hotel Mas de la Senancole, Provence, France

One of our French dinners in the hotel Mas de la Senancole, Provence, France

We are sitting, having dinner and holding a council about lavender fields. Has our venture failed? But we decided not to change our plans for tomorrow, since a farmer’s market takes place at Gordes each Tuesday, and we wanted to buy local fruits, wine, and cheese. However, my persistency has no bounds: I came here to see French lavender which means that on Wednesday we’ll move to the north to seek lavender fields.

Gordes. What a lovely town, one of many tiny towns of Provence. Early morning. Still no people.

The empty street of Gordes. Provence, France.

One of the streets of Gordes

The empty street of Gordes. Provence, France.

The empty street of Gordes

The businesses open only at nine o’clock. For us it’s quite late.

The market in Gordes. Provence, France.

The farmer market in Gordes

The market in Gordes. Provence, France.

The farmer market in Gordes

Well-well, the selection of cheeses is poor here. You should visit other French provinces to buy more different kinds.

Oh, this is my first lavender; it will go with us.

Lavender. The farmer market in Gordes. Provence, France.

Our first French lavender in Provence. Gordes, France.

Our first French lavender in Provence

Rosé wine is very popular in this region of France. It is served very cold, so the bottle/pitcher/glass immediately mists as soon as it appears at the table. We found out that such rosé wine is really great on a hot summer day.

French rose wine in Provence, France.

In the hottest time of the day, it was so nice to have a rest in the silence of our little garden to read a book or check e-mail, or swim in the pool surrounded by the sparse bushes of lavender.

The pool in Hotel Mas de la Senancole. Gordes, Provence, France.

The garden in Hotel Mas de la Senancole. Gordes, Provence, France.

Hotel Mas de la Senancole is quiet and cozy, not posh and pompous. After all, it is a village, though a French village.

Of course, we saw blooming lavender, but it happened only when I had completely lost hope. That day, our small team took this pretty auto…

Our Mini Cooper in Provence.

Our Mini Cooper in Provence

…and moved toward the French lavender center–the town of Sault. We equipped ourselves with a list of villages surrounded by dozens of lavender fields, but on our way, we met only grey fields, finished blooming. We visited the unbelievably colorful town called Roussillon, but the lavender had already been cut there. What a disaster! “Let’s go to Sault using the north way?”

Oh-la-la, stop, stop, stop! What a beauty! A real knights’ castle with towers amidst all this loneliness. Amazing! Provence can hardly be called a land of knights’ castles.

Javon Chateau. Provence, France.

Javon Chateau

However, this is private property. We do not know French but understood “propriété privée” on the doors. Nonetheless, we were longing to take a peek and take some pictures. Just a kilometer away from Chateau Javon, I cried again: Stop, stop, stop! Here it is! The vacation is a success–we have just passed a blossoming lavender field. Hit reverse!

French lavender field in Provence, France

One of lavender fields in Provence

Here it is, our first blossoming lavender field :-)

French lavender field in Provence, France.

The blossoming French lavender field in Provence, France.

That day, on the way to Sault, we were lucky to come across several villages decorated with lavender. The lilac carpets of blossoming fields were spread here and there.

French lavender fields in Provence, France.

French lavender fields in Provence, France.

French lavender fields in Provence, France.

More about France:
Authentic Provence cities: Gordes, Roussillon, and Sault
Cite De Carcassonne–Book In Stone
Guy de Maupassant’s House Put Up for Sale in Étretat, Normandie

Posted in France. Tags: . 41 Comments »

41 Responses to “Seeking of French Lavender Fields”

  1. elisaruland Says:

    Oh, how I envy you this trip. I’d love to be in the South of France this very moment, standing in the middle of those lush lavender fields. Your pictures are beautiful!

  2. Morning Bray Says:

    What a beautiful post. I too am envious!

  3. yepirategunn Says:

    Absolutely wonderful pictures – superb – of a lovely area of the world. Bulgaria also has lavender, but somehow not as atmospheric, but the Rose Valley is worth visiting there,and some wines are good!

  4. Purely.. Kay Says:

    The colors of the fields are absolutely breathtaking. You have definitely captured some beautiful shots here. I wish I could see it. Such beauty

  5. wordsfromanneli Says:

    So beautiful. I love the culture, the food, the history, and the wonderful fields of lavender. Beautiful photos. They bring back beautiful memories of time I spent in France many years ago.

  6. Jaclyn Kader Says:

    Stunning views of lavender, so fragrant as well. Must get back to France again and explore more than just Paris!

  7. Garden Walk Garden Talk Says:

    Gorgeous scenery. The lavender fields look like they are from a storybook, only which could come from the imagination.

  8. eof737 Says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous shots Victor! I know its been a while… Love the new template too. ;-)

  9. The World Is My Cuttlefish Says:

    Victor, this is chock a block with useful information and luscious photos. Thank you.

  10. Celeste Says:

    Hi Victor, thank you for following my blog “Happiness is so chic”! I really like yours. This post about Provence is amazing!!!

  11. Catherine Sweeney Says:

    The lavender fields are gorgeous. Seems like a wonderful trip all around — accommodations, food, scenic vistas and history!

  12. RDoug Says:

    Again, absolutely beautiful photography, Victor.

  13. Sophie's World (@SophieR) Says:

    I’m going to Provence in a few short weeks. Thanks for this lovely preview!

  14. Sherr Says:

    I am totally, utterly envious of your trip to Provence. I have always wanted to come here and have not been able to do so. Its so expensive and so far off the path I usually take. Looks like a place, however, best shared with someone. So perhaps, there is a good reason for me to not have come here alone. Some day I hope to see it for myself.

  15. Champagne Vacations Says:

    Reblogged this on Champagne Vacations and commented:
    This has nothing to do with the series I am doing on my next adventure to Turkey and beyond, but this blogger always has such wonderful stories and BEAUTIFUL pictures that I thought I would share this article with you. Enjoy… I LOVE lavender and still to this day regret going to Provence in May and missing them! Next time though!!

  16. Andrea Says:

    I absolutely love your photos of the lavender fields and also of Gordes – I visited there last May and loved the town, especially the view of the town from the distance – it’s very beautiful on the approach.

  17. restlessjo Says:

    An oldie, but goodie, Victor. Loving the lavender. :)

  18. cherry lee Says:

    hey there, im planning to go there in early of september , do u think i can still can able to see those breathtaking lavender view like yours in provence??

  19. Tonia Says:

    Oh my gosh, i was in lovely heaven here! thank you for taking us there. :)

  20. Jdomb's Travels (@jdomb) Says:

    We’ve also been to Provence during lavender season and it is definitely a search for the fields. Since they are all commercial, you just never know when exactly the field will be harvested. It sure is beautiful when you do find the fields though!


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