Summer in Provence

PROVENCE, FRANCE - PHOTOGRAPHER IN VIENNA

"When the Good Lord begins to doubt the world, he remembers that he created Provence." (Frederic Mistral)

So much truth in these words. I am in love with Provence. Not only because of the perfumed, vast fields of lavender. But also because of the small villages, the quiet and slow life of the rural South of France. The food, the wine, the art, and history - they all blend perfectly to create one of the most beautiful places in Europe.

 

We started our small road-trip in Nice and made our way to Valensole plateau, one of the most famous lavender regions of the world. Since the sunrise photos were a must, we have decided to spend our night in the region. And what better place to stay in this region than an old castle: Château du Grand Jardin. The place is still run by the family who owns the castle and it's filled with family photos and a lot of history that we could only discover on its surface, in such a short time. Our lavender photo shooting started the night before, when George tried to explain the owners, in French, why we would like to keys to the main gates, so we can go out with our car at 5 am, to take photos. I don't know how successful that conversation was, but we found the gates opened in the morning, to our delight. And the lavender did not disappoint us. The perfume, all around us. The sublime light of the summer sunrise. The stillness and the emptiness of the fields. Everything was "photo-perfect".

 

Our tip: If you plan to photograph the lavender fields, we recommend you to wake up early and try to catch the sunrise. Usually, the fields become quite crowded at around 8 am and it will be very difficult to find the best spot.

 

With one of the main goals achieved, we have continued our road-trip through the beautiful hills and valleys of Provence. We have explored the art galleries in Saint Paul de Vence. We had lunch in one of the most peaceful villages in Provence - Villecroze. We took a boat and spent some time on the turquoise waters in Gorges du Verdon. We had lavender ice cream in the charming Lourmarin and wandered around the orange hills around Roussillon. And last, but not least, we spent the afternoons at two of the most iconic villages in the region: Gordes and Les Baux-de-Provence.

 

Our tip: For another iconic photo location, stop at Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, preferably at the beginning of July, when the lavender is in bloom.

 

The region is very famous for its wine, so a visit to a local winery is a must. The choice is vast and with some small research, you can find a great place. We stopped at Chateau du Seuil, where we had the whole domain for our self to explore.

 

After a short visit in Aix-en-Provence, we continued our trip South, to the village that points the start of Cote d'Azur - Cassis. A beautiful, charming village, with a colorful promenade along the sea. And a good place for George to try one of his favorite desserts, Tarte Tatin. We spent the night in Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer, in our favorite accommodation on the whole trip. We had a small summer house for ourselves and we shared a big terrace with our host, who was celebrating her birthday with family and friends. In order not to feel excluded, they offered us food and a bottle of house rose that we have enjoyed with the best view of the whole trip.

 

Our tip: If you are ever in the region, we recommend you to check the place that we have mentioned before.

 

We finished our vacation in Monaco, with a chance for George to have his La Duree macaroons. If you already checked our post from Paris, you know that he is hunting them wherever we go. And I have to admit that I understand why.

 

Here is a list of some additional places we have enjoyed during our road trip and we can highly recommend:

  • Les Grottes de Villecroze - a large complex of caves, inhabited since prehistoric times
  • L'Occitane factory, in Manosque
  • The castle in Lourmarin
  • Fontaine-de-Vaucluse - a small, beautiful village at the foot of  Vaucluse Mountains
  • L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue - a small town, full of antique shops and waterwheels along the Sorgue river
  • Château des Baux, in Les Baux-de-Provence; if you can visit at sunset, even better
  • La Terrasse des Baux - our pancake stop, in Les Baux-de-Provence
  • Steve Ghirardo Créateur de Macarons - great sweet spot, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence
  • Visit the local food markets