The tour started out as an excursion to see lavender, but what we got in the surrounding villages of Provence was something else entirely.
The small village of Roussillon sits 48 kilometers outside of Avignon. This particular village is nothing more than a tourist stop, but what a stop it is!
Perched high above the surrounding countryside, Roussillon has panoramic views of Provence at every turn. While the continual onslaught of tourist shops is a bit overwhelming, every so often you'll come across an ancient church, a tiny square, or a quiet place that the other travelers who are visiting have not stumbled upon yet in their explorations.
Even in a touristy city, being alone in this much beauty is worth it. After getting such incredible photos, we can see why everyone likes to go there.
The medieval town of Gordes is widely considered to be the most beautiful in all of France. At first glance the town is setup in similar manner to Roussillon in that it is perched high upon a hill with stellar views of Provence. But only in getting closer do you find out that Gordes has more to it than meets the eye.
The secret that the city of Gordes keeps is that all of their buildings are unique. Rather than being made of modern materials, or even limestone like the ancient cities, every single building within the town is made of stacked stones. This unique and expensive to maintain building style gives Gordes its stunning appearance and attracts visitors from all over the world.
During our brief walk around Gordes, we were curious on how much one of these houses cost and found no shortage of realtors advertising houses for sale. For a modern, 200 sq.meter house (2,152 sqft) with pool, prices easily exceeded $1,000,000 to start, and that was the base price. What one would do all day if they lived in Gordes, well, that is a different question.
Our guess is probably appreciate the view every chance you had.
Lavender Fields Forever
We cannot forget about the lavender fields that inspired us to visit Provence in the first place. Like in our tour, the highlight is always best kept for last. Not only did the previous few hours delight our eyes, we were not even sure the lavender would be blooming yet. We just had to wait and find out.
Our arrival into Avignon happened just a few days before peak bloom, a delay resulting from the cold and rainy weather that Provence had this year. While the fields weren't at their maximum state of beauty, they were orders of magnitudes better than just a few days prior; something fellow travelers we spoke to missed out on by being just a bit early.
Still, there is something to be said about fields of purple flowers that go on along the rolling plains. We've seen farms of grapes, olives, cherries, bananas, and just about every vegetable imaginable in our travels, but the lavender is different. It is simple, charming, and everything we hoped it to be.
We will definitely have to come back for peak bloom.