We thought we had missed the lavender season in Provence and were slightly disappointed to see cropped fields of what once used to be lavender, until we found these fields close to Sault and Gordes. Seeing these gorgeous purple fields makes us do dangerous things, like pulling up recklessly by the side of the road, narrowly missing ditches and shoving our noses in the lavender bushes despite bees buzzing precariously close to our faces. Oh the joy of traveling and discovering new things. It brings out the kid in us.
Lourmarin and Bonnieux are two Provençal villages located within a 15 minute drive from each other. These villages sing to my heart. Can you blame me for wanting to take a million photos of every door, window and building I see? These villages are some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen in my life. The moment you think you’ve seen the cutest town ever, along comes another to knock your socks off. I am in love with these French villages. I could wander the alleyways and narrow lanes for hours, finding treasure at every corner. It warms my heart to see the locals preserve the charm of their village, simply by putting in a little effort.
(Bottom 3 photos of Bonnieux, the rest are of Lourmarin)
These sunflower fields screamed out to us from afar. You can not miss them. You can’t just pass them by. You have to stop, take them in all its glory and bask in the yellow glow. You have to walk amongst them. Smell them. Touch them. Jump amongst them. Lie amongst them. Feel them. See them up close. Watch them sway in the wind. Like little human faces that call out to you. Mesmerized.
Gordes is so distinctively different from Roussillon, with its white-washed stone walls and facades, yet both villages are only 11km apart from each other. How varied can one French village be from another? We’ve come to learn that this is only the beginning of a whole lot of pleasant surprises we’ll uncover in this country.
While I expected to see beautiful fields of lavender and sunflowers in Provence, I certainly did not know much about the hilltop villages that would take my breath away. One of my favourites was Roussillon, a village with a distinctive orange hue attributed to the prominent ochre deposits in the earth (akin to the ones you see in Colorado). This village in fact lies in an area of Provence known as Provençal Colorado because of its similarities to the more famous and “original” Colorado.
Roussillon reminded me of what Italian villages I imagined would look like. Warm tones, colourful shutters and doors, picture perfect corners and contrasting clear blue skies. It ticks all the right boxes if you ask me!
The key attractions were easily nailed in a day; Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes), Pont St Bénézet and parts of the city wall, Avignon was chosen to be our gateway to the region of Provence. And Provence feels like a whole different country already with it’s charming hilltop towns, medieval villages and of course, the famous lavender and sunflower fields. More posts to come!