Tuesday morning my cousins and I woke up with a long lavender filled day ahead of us. We were driving from Grasse to Arles. We made a quick stop at the Monoprix for driving snacks and headed out.
There are so many lavender fields that we decided where we wanted to go before we even made it to France. We wanted to go to a spot where the lavender and the sunflowers grow next to each other. After that we planned on stopping by the Abbaye Notra-Dame de Senanque, the Lavender Museum and having lunch in the town of Gordes.
With help from the wonderful blog Le Long Weekend we had GPS coordinates for the lavender field. We created a drive that made sense for us. https://www.lelongweekend.com/best-lavender-fields-of-provence-france/
Our first stop was the lavender and sunflower field. It was a bit rainy this day so there weren’t a lot of other people around. There were a lot of signs though, telling us to watch out for tourists crossing the road.
This field turned out to be right near a farm and rest stop. They had an olive grove, almond trees and lavender.
The people working there explained the different types of olives and olive oil and we got to taste a handful of things. We made it out with olive oil and some lavender oils.
From here we headed to Gordes for lunch. It’s such a cute little town and I wish we had more time to explore it. We had something similar to quiche with local goat cheese medallions.
One of the best parts of Gordes is the view or the surrounding area. The best view of Gordes itself is from a road across from the town it was easier to get to then I originally thought. There were tons of people walking on the road for the view.
From Gordes we headed to the Abbey Notre-Dame de Senanque. You have to make a reservation in advance. This is a working Abbey and has the possibility of being closed to the public due to the monks needing full access. There are no tours in English so we read about it before we went.
They did distribute iPads which gave a tour. They are called histo-pads. These allow you to have a tour in your language. While in the Abbey (or museum) there are short pedestals around the site where you point the camera of the iPad and it will tell you about the room and even let you see what the room would have looked like back in it’s early days of use.
One of the ways the Abbey makes money besides visitors is by growing lavender and selling lavender products. I bought some delicious lavender honey.
Many times when you look up Provence this Abbey is what shows up in pictures, with a blooming lavender field in front. Unfortunately the lavender wasn’t in bloom in front of the building but it was in the field across the driveway.
We headed out from the Abbey to the Lavender Museum. Make sure to check the website before you go for the times since the museum closes for lunch all but three months of the year.
We opted for the audio guides which walked us through the museum and different types of distillers and ways they made lavender over the years. The museum is run by Chateau de Bois which has high altitude lavender. This is supposed to be more intense and pure than lavenders of a lower altitude. Their gift shop is filled with high altitude lavender products.
By this point we had fit as much lavender as possible into all of our senses and it was time to head to Arles and check into our hotel.