Lavender fields of Provence
Of course everybody thinks of the dark blue to violet lavender fields when it comes to visiting the Provence in summer. We did as well! Since the perfect time would be around Juli to August we were a bit too early for the richest colours at least at the beginning of our trip in June. But two weeks later at a higher elevation in the western part of the Provence we got more of the iconic colours. The following pictures are from a little lavender shop positioned at the edge of a street curve. It had this classic Provence look with some nice decoration outside, matching colours with the furniture and lots of lavender products inside. A good part of what we wanted to bring our friends and family was bought here right at the beginning of our trip.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in southeastern France. It is considered one of the "most beautiful villages of France", so be careful about the time of year visiting to avoid the masses. It is a perfect stopover along with a tour of the Gorges du Verdon. Moustiers is special because of its location. It was built in terraces about hundred meters up on a limestone cliff. Its backdrop is a massif rock which makes the village so photogenic. The typical provencal houses give it a classic look and make it crowded in summer due to bus loads of tourists.
Oppede le Vieux
Provence house facades
Sometimes when I have enough time I give myself a motto of pictures to collect during a longer trip. This time it was the beautiful colours of the Provence facades. I some of the villages I snapped 10 to 20 pictures an hour just of windows, doors, walls and facades. If you want to see even more check my project on Provence house facades.
Roussillon - Sentier des Ocres
During our second week of the France road trip we spent some days in the Luberon region. It is an area of the Provence about one hour north of Marseille and has some very beautiful villages. On our day tour we stopped in Roussillon which is famous for its ochre trail called 'Sentiers des Ocres'. Ochre is a natural pigment that is in the sandy soil which makes up the cliffs around Roussillon. Iron oxides react with air, become kind of rusty and therefore colour the sands with shades ranging from yellow to violet. The open landscape is proof of the effects of erosion and mining work. The ochre has been taken out here for decades. Today, you can easily walk through the former mine and enjoy the colour explosion whilst walking along pine trees. Don't miss this spot!
This is Gordes, a commune in the Vaucluse département in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. It is situated on a beautiful little hill top of limestone. The village is along with Roussillon and Lacoste amongst the most frequented spots in this region, especially in summer. I took this shot on our way down to the Abbaye de Senanque stopping on the main street taking a quick panorama.
Abbaye de Senanque
We left Gordes and descended to the valley towards the Sénanque Abbey. It is a Cistercian abbey just 10 min down the mountain from Gordes in the département of the Vaucluse. It was founded in 1148 and shaped like a tau cross (t-shaped cross). Besides its beauty inside and out it is particularly famous because of stunning pictures of lavender fields outside of the abbey leading towards the building as its main subject. You can get an idea of the beauty of this location with the pictures below. Due to our visit in June the lavender was not up to its full glory. We were too late for visiting the abbey from the inside, but luckily were told about the 6 pm mass about to start in the church. We sneaked in in our inappropriate touristic outfit and were able to witness some chorals of six monks filling the church with their beautiful voices. A real goosebumps moment that I won't miss. Be aware that this place is always packed with tourists due to its beauty and easy to access location near Gordes.