For sure you have already seen incredibly beautiful pics with violet fields as far as the eye can see, tiny villages that you know from romantic movies or lush green vineyards. You can have it all, we swear.
We are talking about the region Provence in France famous especially for its stunning lavender fields. If you haven’t decided yet what to do next summer, we have the answer for you. We are going to show you 8 places in Provence that make it a perfect holiday destination.But first, in return, we ask for a minute of your time: click here and like our Facebook page! It would means a lot,thank you!
When to go
Well, you can go pretty much anytime if you don’t care much about lavender. You can just go on a sightseeing / culinary / wine trip whenever you want. However, if you wish to post a few pics with you getting lost in the sea of violet on instagram, the options are not so many. The lavender has a limited period of growth, after the bloom the flowers are harvested mercilessly.
The best time to visit in order to enjoy the lavender beauty is end of May / June / mid July. Even at the end of July or beginning of August you may come across a few fields in bloom but they will be harder to find. We visited from 6th to 9th July and some lavender had been already cut by then. The week after that there was a huge lavender festival which basically means the end of the season. Apart from that, the weather is usually lovely in the summer and it rains very little.
A few things to be ready for
Not everyone likes the smell of lavender and at times it becomes pretty overwhelming. Did you know that sometimes it can actually smell worse than sweaty armpits? It has usualy a lovely perfume, but in some places, sometimes, it does smell pretty bad. We don’t know the reason behind it though!
Naturally, there are always hundreds of bees flying around the flowers. In case you are alergic to the bee sting you better be careful.
There is not much traffic so you can drive without many issues. If you want to eat and drink properly, it’s not gonna be cheap. Most traditional meals contain meat and vegetarian options are mostly cheese, salads or tarts. Anyway, mostly everything that we tried was delicious and fresh and we could just die drinking French wine. Another great surprise was the local market in Apt, but we will talk more about it in this list of great places in Provence.
When it comes to romance one of our biggest dreams came true: to sleep in one of those romantic stone houses with a big garden and lavender fields all around it. Actually, it was the cheaper accommodation option since hotels were waaaaay out of our budget.
8 places in Provence straight out of a romantic movie
This is not an itinerary but we will mention them in the order we visited them.
One of the places in Provence that impressed us the most was this lovely village lying in the shadow of a rocky mountain. The time here stopped a few centuries ago and we liked it that way. You can walk through the romantic streets, climb up to the church hidden in the rock or have coffee in one of the tiny bars. However, don’t get mistaken. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie lives an active cultural life and organizes a lot of interesting events.
Even if you’re a city kid you will fall in love with this old house with a big garden: Les Hotes de Marie. The landlady makes ceramic products and grows different vegetables and fruit. If the weather is nice you will have breakfast outside and you can taste all the good products that the garden provides. This is how we want to spend our lives once we are pensioners!
2. Lavender fields in Valensole
Pretty obvious when it comes to places in Provence, right? If you visit in the right period you won’t have to look hard to find seas of violet. The lavender grows pretty much everywhere in the area. The biggest and the most beautiful lavender fields are probably in Valensole. You can spend half a day just driving around and looking for new sceneries: medieval villages, lonely trees or isolated farm houses.
You can walk between the rows but try not to damage the flowers and don’t try to pick them as souvenirs. There are plenty of places where you can buy fresh or dry lavender and all the products that can be made of it such as oil, soap or honey.
3. Senanque Abbey and Gordes
There is a road that leads from the village Gordes down to the magical Senanque Abbey so make sure you stop by. And guess what? It has a tiny lavender field as well! You can book a guided visit and see the inside of the abbey as there are still monks living there. Otherwise you can just admire the building from the outside or check the chapel. Once you’re done with the abbey stop for a scenic walk in Gordes.
Honestly, we didn’t like Apt at first. Maybe because we came there after a few days in the countryside with scattered houses and all of a sudden we had to get used to the city again. After a few hours it earned its on place on our list of great places in Provence. It lacks the romance of Gordes or Moustiers-Sainte-Marie but walking in its streets is a pleasure anyway.
We especially loved the market that is a big and crowded event. All the local farmers, bakers or artists gather and offer their delicious products. And trust us, you will want to buy everything. We bought ourselves a nice pack of cheese, bread, honey and soap bars.
You will easily recognized this gem thanks to the typical rusty red colour of its houses as there are large deposits of ochre in the area. Apart from the beautiful view Roussillon offers and romantic walks in its streets, you might also learn more about ochre. The ochre mine is now accessible to public and you can explore the canyons done by the mining.
6. Colorado Provençal
Can you believe that there are places in Provence that look like a smaller version of the American Grand Canyon? Colorado Provençal is one of them. Just a few kms from the village Rustrel you will find a huge parking lot where you can leave your car and walk towards the canyon. The place is pretty impressive and it’s a decent solution in case you have never had a chance to visit USA. Just make sure not to wear any fancy shoes: they will get dirty with red dust!
This is one of the lesser known places in Provence but we feel that it deserves to be on our list. Situated on top of the hill it not only offers a great view but you will probably have the whole place to yourselves. You can have lunch on the terrace of the local bistro and then go for something sweet at the nearby patisserie. You wouldn’t want to leave Provence without trying one of the French delicatessen, right?
Three kms from Apt lies Saignon, another romantic village surrounded by lavender fields. There are sharp rocks peeking behind the houses and right opposite the village you can find an old Roman church. We believe that the best time to visit this village is at sunset when all the colours create a perfect symphony!
These were just a few examples of the places in Provence that are worth visiting. You could spend a month exploring this breathtaking region and you would almost certainly across more romantic villages and photogenic lavender fields. If you know about a place like that, let us know in the comments.