I’d most like to visit France at least triple:
- in the beginning of summer to Normandy, when fleshed French cows are put out to young, lush grass, their milk smells of spring, which means that fresh, soft, new Brie, covered with flavored rind presents the highest quality. Moreover, Mont Saint Michel might look fantastically against the green and blue background of summer. Although I suppose it still looks so in the sign of leaden clouds.
- in the middle of summer to Provence – to catch sight of lavender fields.
- and in autumn to the New Wine Festival, although we would rather choose Italy in this regard.
So, the summer vacation came up and considering all this we decided to go to the south of France seeking lavender fields.
And don’t ask me why we should be seeking them, because they are all over the place… Catching a sight of its flush of flowering is a hunt on its own way.
Today you can find anything using Internet, and so we read: “Lavender blossom in France occurs in the middle of summer. At some locations it fades earlier than at the other, but the Lavender Harvest Festival is being celebrated on August, 15th at Sault town each year.”
We might be right in time!
We took off on July, 30th and stayed in Lyon for a couple of days. We were longed for new experience and try Michelin cuisine. It is no secret that Michelin stars are not assigned to the end of time, they must be confirmed each year. Our stop-off was completely worth it in Eskis.
On the 1st of August we left Lyon and moved towards the mountain village called Gordes, where we were going to stay for a few days, enjoying the sight french lavender.
They have marvelous roads in the interior of France. On a way to Gordes we stayed for a while at Romanian medieval town called Vaison-la-Romaine. How could we have missed the town with one part of Roman excavations: a theatre, gardens, atrium, thermae… Across the river there are the real Middle Ages, crowned with Chateau d Eau (ruined). We stayed here for a couple of hours. This is not enough for Vaison-la-Romaine to get into the Middle Ages!
Take a look at Notre Dame de Nazareth, do you see the base?
The Catholic cathedral grounds on the former Roman foundation. Its origins go back to Merovingian times, but the present building was erected between the 11th and 13th century. But we won’t stay here for too long, somewhere there is our first lavender field and we wouldn’t like to arrive to the hotel later than five.
Between Vaison-la-Romaine and Gordes we met such an unusual place. What is this and who did this – I can’t say. May be you know?
We almost reached our temporary home. Our navigator led us along the local sightseeing – Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque – acting Cistercian Abbey, where a dozen of monks produce their special lavender honey to the present days. You can find a plenty of the Abbey’s pictures in Net and mostly all of them taken with lavender fields in background. Too pity it has already finished blossoming in here.
Home, sweet home. Hotel Mas de la Senancole 3*.
From the designer point of view we had such an unpretentious room, but there is a minibar, which means that we have some place to keep our cheese and wine. Let’s start with wine – a glass of rose for the arrival!
There are twenty rooms in the hotel altogether, we preferred the ground floor with our own piece of garden equipped with two chaise lounges, an umbrella and a table with chairs. First impressions – belle France Everything is beautiful and the staff is polite and does not disregard you due to the ignorance of French. There is a strange myth that you should speak only French in France – not exactly as it turned to be.
We dined only in the garden, as well as built our plans for the upcoming day.
So, we are keeping thoughts of lavender fields – holding a council. How could our idea fail? We decided not to change our plans for tomorrow, as there is a farmers market at Gordes each Tuesday. And we wanted to lay in local fruits, wine and cheese.
But my persistency has no bounds – I came here to see french lavender, which means that on Wednesday we move to the North seeking for lavender fields.
Gordes. What a lovely town, one of the few at Provence interior. It is the early morning and no crowd so far.
For us it’s quite late – the trade unfolds only by 9 AM.
Well-well-well, there is a poor variety of cheese in here, you should visit another French province to buy some. And here is my first lavender. I am going to take it home.
Rose wine is very popular in this region of France. They serve it very cold, so that the bottle-pitcher-glass immediately grows misted as soon as it appears at the table. We found out that such rose wine is really great in hot summer day.
During the most scorching heat hours it was so nice to have a rest in a silence of our little garden, to read a book, check e-mail or swim in the pool surrounded by the sparse bushes of lavender.
Hotel Mas de la Senancole is quite 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 my hope. That day our small team took this pretty thing
and right at down moved towards the french lavender center – a town called Sault. We equipped ourselves with a list of villages, surrounded by dozens of lavender fields.
On the whole way we met only grey, finished their blossoming fields. We came up to 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?
O-la-la, stop, stop, stop – what a beauty! A real chivalric castle with towers amidst all this loneliness. Amazing! Provence can hardly be called a land of chivalric castles.
Private property. We do not know French, but we recognized “private” on the entrance, but we were so longed to take a glance. So, we took some pictures.
And just a kilometer away from Chateau Javon I cried again: stop-stop-stop…. Here it is! The vacation succeeded – we have just passed the lavender field in blossoming! Take back!
Here it goes, our first blooming lavender field
That day on a way to Sault we were lucky to come across several villages, decorated with lavender and the lilac carpets of its blossoming fields were spread here and there.