|'Along the Lavender Road' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
We came for the lavender and we weren't disappointed! We came away with so much more but it was the lavender that we wanted to see first. So our first excursion after our day of rest and jet lag recovery was to take one of the suggested routes to see the lavender fields. There are several suggested routes and bloom times depend on altitude and location. Here is a good website to get an overview of some of the routes.
We had rented a car so that we would be free to take excursions around our home base. We found out quickly that the roads are very narrow and the drivers are fearless (and fast) We had a few hairy moments but our driver Sharon was magnifique! Sharon also planned out our lavender route and it was a perfect day of lavender immersion.
|Planning the route for the best chance of seeing lavender in bloom!|
We began out tour with a stop at the Abbaye de Senanque. This is the place of the iconic lavender in Provence photo. It was a very good thing we got an early start. We parked and walked down to the Abbey and took our photos. As we wandered around the place was filling with cars and people very rapidly. It was no longer a peaceful place. It was a madhouse. Back in the parking lot tour buses fought for a place to unload and cars lined up to grab newly vacated spots. It was time to move on!
|Beautiful Abbaye de Senanque before the hordes of tourists arrive|
We drove all day making stops whenever we saw something that made us say OOOOOHHHHH and AHHHHHHH. That means we made many many stops! At the first lavender field we saw we stopped. It was amazingly beautiful. It was also loaded with bees. The sound of the bees and the cigales (cicadas) was almost deafening. And the scent of the lavender was intoxicating. I LOVE lavender!
I really wasn't sure what to expect as far as what the lavender fields would look like. Somehow I had imaged that they stretched for as far as the eye could see like a giant sea of lavender. We did find a few spots like this but most of the fields we saw were contained and bordered by trees. We noticed that the lavender varied in color with some being quite dark and some being almost pink. Of course the light and time of day changed the color of the lavender. Unfortunately most of the fields we saw were in the flat light of midday. Later in the trip we would visit the fields during the magic hours!
|A field with poppies and Queen Anne's Lace....perfection!|
Half way through our drive it was time to stop for lunch. This stop and lunch was to be one of our most favorite stops! The village was Saint Saturnin-des-Apts. We sat outdoors at the village cafe and had the most delicious lunch. I had the first of many tomato mozzarella sandwiches on a fresh baguette. It was a wonderful stop.
|Saint Saturnin-des-Apts was the perfect stop for a lunch break|
Below is a photo from one of the hilltop villages. You can see the patchwork of purple in the distance. We would see these lavender fields up close at the end of our drive.
You can see the paintings I did on the trip in my Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/karenmargulisfineart