Traveling through the south of France during the height of lavender season is a feast for the eyes. Provence enthralled us with its lovely lavender fields, brilliant with color and scented with waves of luscious perfumed air. I didn’t realize the many varied hues of purple there could be until we saw them all, glorious and rich, throughout the countryside in Provence. We stopped to smell and photograph the flowers in two wonderful lavender destinations: the village of Grignan and Senanque Abbey near Gordes France.
On our way to Gordes in Provence we stumbled across the Abbey Notre-Dame de Sénanque, a lovely medieval Cistercian abbey located just north of Gordes. We discovered that the abbey was one of the best places to see Provence’s famed lavender fields, so, of course, we had to stop for a visit. We spent an afternoon wandering through the lovely monastery enjoying the beauty of the ancient buildings and the quiet loveliness of the gardens.
Founded in 1148, this peaceful abbey welcomes visitors daily and provides overnight retreats. The monks have opened a gift shop in the abbey offering handmade items as well as books on religion, Cistercian history, and the region of Provence.
Village of Grignan
Located about two hours south of Lyon, the fairytale town of Grignan boasts a large castle on top of a rockpeak and is surrounded by fields of purple lavender. With its origins going as far back as the 11th century, the village is one the most beautiful examples of Renaissance architecture in the south-east of France. It is also well known in France through the letters written by Madame de Sévigné to her daughter, Madame de Grignan, in the 17th century.
The magnificent Renaissance castle is the focal point of the village and the tiny twisty streets charm you into exploring all their nooks and crannies. The village boasts a large population of white cats who spend their days sunning and lounging on the warm, copper colored cobblestones throughout the village.
We stayed overnight at the lovely, lovely Le Clair de Plume hotel, and begged them to let us stay longer but, alas, they were completely booked for the week. Perhaps that’s a good thing, because I would have happily stayed there for my entire trip.