From the end of June til early August, France’s Provence region is brimming with row upon row of lavender fields, enhancing the already-picturesque rural landscape. Traveling through the region in late summer will treat you to this medieval tradition. Of course, you’ll also visit the charming villages for which Provence is known.
On this 3-day tour, you’ll get to experience the best things to do in Provence, from hilltop villages to lush lavender fields. We dare say these fragrant flowers are as much a treat for the senses as a French Wine Tour! With Daytrip you stop at can’t-miss sights while traveling through Provence! And your local driver will share their knowledge and insights you pass through the fragrant countryside!
Lavender Season in Provence Itinerary
- Day 1: Avignon to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie (Stop in: Abbey of Senanque, Gordes)
- Day 2: Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to Aix-en-Provence (Stop in: Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, Valensole, Lavandes Angelvin)
- Day 3: Aix-en-Provence – Avignon (Stop in: Domaine de la Citadelle, Lavender Museum, Les Baux)
Day 1: Avignon to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
The ancient city of Avignon is the perfect place to get a taste of Provence’s proud history. In 1309 Pope Clement V selected the Avignon as his residence, and for the next several decades it would be the capital of all of Christendom. His presence bestowed Avignon with a bounty of rich architecture. Most impressive being the Palace of the Popes – the largest Gothic palace in Europe. Now a UNESCO site, within the castle’s 18-foot-thick walls, you can enjoy exploring staterooms, chapels, cloisters, and frescoed papal apartments.
The city’s other UNESCO monument is the remains of the 14th century “Pont d’Avignon”, of nursery-rhyme fame. On top of the UNESCO sites, there’s the city’s bounty of opulent churches, majestic palaces, and scenic streets.
After taking in the olde-worlde charm of Avignon’s historical centre, hit the road from Avignon to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie!
Abbey of Senanque
Founded in 1148 by a group of Cistercian monks, the Abbey of Senanque is an outstanding example of Romanesque architecture. Today, the small community of monks tend their fragrant fields of lavender. To preserve the harvest, the monks don’t allow visitors into the fields. But that shouldn’t dissuade you! Stop for 90 minutes to admire the historic buildings surrounded by purple lavender, and pick up some of the monks’ products!
A rocky outcrop covered with quaint stone houses and crowned by a Renaissance castle – it’s easy to see why Gordes is one of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages in France’. On your 60-minute visit, wander the cobbled streets leading up to the mountaintop chateau. Once inside the 16th century fort, you’ll find exhibitions and the Gordes Tourist Office.
Arrival in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Home to only 700 people, the tiny village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is ‘Most Beautiful Villages in France’. Additionally, it’s famous for its faience and earthenware, so head to Musée de la Faïence to see a fine collection from local potters.
The town’s main landmark is the Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir chapel. After a 20 minute climb up 262 stone steps, you’ll be rewarded with a great view over the village and the surrounding valley.
Duration: 5h 34min
Book a car from Avignon to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Day 2: Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to Aix-en-Provence
After a peaceful night of village living, head from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to Aix-en-Provence.
Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon transformed from medieval village to lakeside resort after a dam was built in the 1970s. On your 60 minute visit, get to enjoy historic buildings including a 16th century church and the ruins of a medieval castle. But head downhill to the shores of Lake of Sainte-Croix, and you can enjoy Riviera-esque beaches without the crowds.
Type “Valensole” into Google and you’ll be presented with images of the lush purple fields. Perhaps the most famous (and photographed) lavender fields globally, Valensole is the beating heart of lavender tourism in Provence. Wander the Valensole Plateau for 90 minutes, for the colorful fields and pretty pastel houses that line the narrow, winding streets. Then stop at a cafe for lavender-infused delicacies, such as lavender honey, ice cream and other sweet treats.
Bordered by stunning sunflowers Lavandes Angelvin might be the most spectacular lavender field in Provence. Wander the fragrant rows of flowers for an hour in search of the perfect shot. The perfectly positioned tree is an ideal subject as the interruption between the flowers and sky.
Arrival in Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence, the former Provencal capital, is a university city packed with leafy boulevards, dozens of fountains and public squares lined with Romantic mansions. Its former statues has blessed Aix-en-Provence with a number of world-class art museums. Check out the Art Centre housed in a palatial 18th century hotel, or the Musee Granet, where there’s work from Picasso and Cezanne. Meanwhile, the Musée Estienne de Saint Jean shifts focus to the traditions in Aix – perfect for getting to know Provencal culture better.
Duration: 5h 22min
Book a car from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to Aix-en-Provence
Day 3: Aix-en-Provence to Avignon
For last day on your Lavender Season tour, travel back from Aix-en-Provence to Avignon.
Domaine de la Citadelle
What better treat on a drive through rural France than a stop at a vineyard in one of the country’s famous wine regions? Domaine de la Citadelle sits on 39 hectares of vineyards and is a modern, state-of-the-art winery. Its winemaking tradition, however dates back centuries – even Nostradamus loved seeing the fortified town of Ménerbes rising above the vineyards. Stop for an hour to visit the unique wine-making cellar, enjoy a tasting and explore the Corkscrew Museum. But if you really want to stretch your legs, extend your visit and wander the 6 terraces of the on-site Botanical Garden.
No Provence lavender tour would be complete without a trip to the Lavender Museum in the heart of Luberon! Part of Le Château du Bois, a family-owned lavender growing estate, the museum was created in 1991 by passionate growers and distillers to educate visitors about all things lavender. Stop for 90 minutes and join a tour to learn about botany, history, tradition and cultivation. Workshops allow guests to make their own lavender products. After your tour, you can smell and taste the wonderful lavender products that are made on-site, and there’s a retail store so you can even take some back home.
Set atop a rocky outcrop in the Alpilles mountains, Les Beaux is one of the most beautiful villages in France. The narrow cobblestone streets, lined with historic homes lead to the ruins of a medieval citadel. Truly, the Chateau-Fortress on the rocky pinnacle stands as the highlight of your 60-minute. Here you’ll get stupendous panoramic views from its rock-carved bastions.
Arrival in Avignon
Back in Avignon you’ll have the chance to visit the two UNESCO monuments if you haven’t already. The UNESCO-listed Palace of the Popes is the largest Gothic palace in Europe, so you might want to visit a second time! And of course the Pont d’Avignon UNESCO World Heritage Site is something we wouldn’t mind seeing daily.
If you’ve checked off the UNESCO sites, there’s still plenty left to do in Avignon. Start in the historical centre at the Place de l’Horloge, where you’ll find the City Hall and Municipal Theatre. From there, follow one of the cobbled streets shooting off from square.
Duration: 6h 19min
Book a car from Aix-en-Provence to Avignon
Ready to experience lavender season in Provence?
Here’s each leg so you can experience French culture in bloom!