There are three things that come to mind when I think of Provence: 1) quaint French villages, 2) Rosé, and 3) endless fields of lavender. So when Emily and I were planning our trip to Provence, we made sure to include all of the above.
At the top of our must-do list was to see and frolic through the famous fields of lavender. Lavender blooms from June to August in the Luberon region of Provence. Our trip was perfectly timed and we attempted to see as much as possible by planning a road trip through the region.
We both did a ton of internet sleuthing to decide which towns to include on our road trip. We finally settled on four little towns and one abbey that would ensure we saw the most beautiful fields -- the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque, Gordes, Sault, Banon, and Valensole. This route is definitely long and requires a full day, but the towns are perfection and the fields are like a dream.
Emily and I stayed in the most perfect little B&B in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It was the perfect mix of rustic French charm and modern conveniences. From our hotel we headed north east to our first stop of the day, the magical Abbey of Sénanque. You definitely want to get to the abbey as early as possible. It fills up quickly with bus loads of tourists as the morning progresses.
From the abbey we headed to Gordes. Gordes was my favorite of the little towns and it was where we decided to have lunch. Sault and Banon are also charming little country towns, but we didn't spend too much time there. Both are on the itinerary for the gorgeous fields and vistas that surround them.
Our final stop of the day was Valensole. The fields around Valensole are especially picturesque (and, thus, more well known and crowded). And in many places you will find fields of sunflowers next to the lavender. The contrast is gorgeous!
You can see the map of our itinerary here.
And finally some tips:
1) You definitely have to rent a car to truly enjoy the countryside of Provence. It is not pricey and you can rent from the near-by city of Avignon.
2) Beware of the bees. The lavender and sunflower fields are a buzz with bees. I am not allergic and they don't bother me, but be warned there are a ton of them. Emily even found one in her dress hours later in the car!
3) Make sure you have lots of water and sunscreen. The fields are hot and the summer sun blazing!