Provence is filled with incredible landscapes and spectacular aesthetic. Lavender fields stretch as far as the eyes can see, spreading heavenly their delicate fragrance. Hillside towns and villages boast an uninterrupted charm, rocky beaches bring a feeling of tranquility… All of this offering a simple yet stunning beauty. As much as I love visiting cities, it’s the countryside where I feel most at home and at ease.
Provence being such a picturesque region, photographers, artists and bloggers from all over the world visit the region from mid-June to mid-July. But if you’re lucky enough to go sightseeing to this part of France in summer, don’t miss a chance to see those beautiful and special places. I’m putting here the highlights of our weekend, in hopes that this Provence getaway itinerary would be an inspirational guide to your own French road trip!
As we only had two days there and wanted to spend time in the lavender fields, we decided to split our time between sunrise and sunset in the fields, relaxing in the pool of our B&B on the morning and exploring nearby towns on the afternoon.
The Valensole Plateau is the world’s premier location for lavender cropping. If you venture a bit off on a rocky road, you will discover the photogenic rolling hills between Valensole and Puimoisson. There are also an abundance of poppy, sage and sunflower fields in Provence. On our arrival near Oraison, where was located our B&B, we passed by beautiful sunflower fields while the sun was setting down on the horizon, bathing the fields with its vibrant orange glow. We eventually stopped as we couldn’t pass up this incredible photo opportunity. We also made a stop in a beautiful sage field. But despite we kept driving by the beautiful poppy fields, we sadly didn’t have enough time to stop.
On our first afternoon, we went to the Lac de St. Croix, which is a reservoir that damns the Verdon River, which flows down from the Gorges du Verdon. It’s a large lake with 4-5 towns along its shores. On this day, the lake was filled with activity. We watched paddleboat after paddleboat cruising around the area where the river meets the lake. Kids climbed the rocks along the cliff and jumped in one after another. The color of the water has a vibrant green hue, which during the middle of a summer day made the water look even more appealing. We rented a canoe and off to the Gorges we went!
(*the canoe costs 20€/1 hour, cash only)
Not too far from the Gorges is the charming village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. It is listed as one of the ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages’ (France’s most beautiful villages) and is one of the towns we were most excited to visit. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie was one of my favorite spots on the whole trip.
The town is built into the mountains with a stream and multiple waterfalls running right through the center. We also discovered an incredible pottery shop while there. According to the shop owner, this town and area were rich with history in fine china. She told us that for years, Europeans had been obsessed with porcelain from China and weren’t able to replicate it back home, not until the craft was perfected near Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Today, this shop called, Bondil, employs local potters to make this traditional china. We spent a lot of time in the shop, gazing at all those pieces of art.
On our second and last day, we visited Sénanque Abbay right next to Gordes. Gordes being one of the most famous and thus touristic hilltop towns in the Luberon area, the site was crowded with tourists when we arrived. All the big tourist buses gathered in this tiny place made it almost impossible to park our car. We decided to skip the visit of the abbey and just took a few photos in front of the small lavender field.
Throughout history, Gordes had been known for the value of its land, which led to constant invasions. To protect themselves, locals built a fortified city on the hilltop, which resulted in what is now known as one of the most beautiful villages in France. The castle, the stone houses, the stone paved streets, and the view on the valley make the village an endless source of inspiration for photographers.
As we only stayed there for two days, we didn’t have enough time to visit the whole region but here are some of the sites I’ll definitely visit next time! (Sites are listed from West to East)
- L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and its beautiful antique shops; Fontaine-de-Vaucluse; Vénasque
- Luberon’s hilltop towns: Gordes, Oppède, Menerbes, Lacoste and Bonnieux
- Roussillon; Apt, and its Saturday market; Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt
- Valensole; Moustiers-Sainte-Marie; Gorges du Verdon
How to get there
I suggest you arrive at Aix-en-Provence and rent a car there, which is the most convenient way to explore this part of France. In fact, although the region has become a notorious touristic attraction, nearby cities provide a very limited public transport services and there is simply no public transportation to lavender fields, except for organized tours. So, having a car is a necessity that can’t be neglected.
Where to stay
For this weekend, we stayed at the amazing B&B La Maison dans l’Olivette (get a 10% discount when booking through this link!) and no word could express how perfect this stay was! Our hosts Georges and Geneviève are friendly and welcomed us warmly, giving us a lot of advice regarding photo spots and places to see. The home-made breakfast was just amazing and the pool is heaven! A haven where I can’t wait to come back again!
Depending on the sites you’re planning to visit, consider having a “home base” rental home on your trip instead of spending time checking in and out hotels. You can split the region in two: one location near Valensole so you can explore the Gorges du Verdon as well as Moustiers-Sainte-Marie while enjoying the lavender fields, and another one near Oppède, so you can explore the Luberon area without spending too much time on the road (e.g., Gordes was an hour and half away from our B&B).
Those are the highlights from our trip (aka what I found to be the can’t-miss moments). But there is always something magical around every corner waiting to be discovered. And that’s why I love Provence! I hope this guide will be useful for you and if you need, feel free to reach out with any questions as there is SO much to do! And don’t forget to tag me in your stories and posts on Instagram if this article inspires you !
If you liked this post, pin it for later!