cs / en
cs / en
PROVENCE
France

PROVENCE

  • 5 days
  • couples
  • spring, summer, fall

When you say Provence, probably the first thing that comes to mind is lavender. But consider exploring this region in spring or autumn, otherwise you will often be crowded by other tourists. We went on this trip in late March, and it was great. Five days of packed programme await you. You will get to know the beautiful ancient villages and towns, take a peek into the local nature and taste the local gastronomy. If you're craving the scent and colour of lavender, you'll have to travel here in late June and early July, but be prepared to be in the company of many other travellers everywhere at all times. In contrast, in the off-season you can explore all the parts and corners of the region mostly on your own, only ocassionally running into tourists.

4.8 / 5 User reviews
2
Day

The beauty of Provence

Sightseeing tour of the town of Gordes. Visit the monuments of Le Village des Bories and Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque. The village of Roussillon with its ochre mines. Walk in The Provençal Colorado. Visit to the town of Sault.

If you want to manage the full programme for the day, you must leave your accommodation by 9am. First, take the car to Gordes. On the way, stop at the Gordes Lookout Parking, where you can get a great view of the town of Gordes. The route is here. There is a large car park in Gordes where you can easily park and pay via a machine – it's easy to pay by card. If you are lucky and are here on a Tuesday, there is a market in the city centre during the morning. But even without the market, it's nice to walk around the town, sit for a coffee and just soak up the atmosphere.

Then drive just a short distance to Le Village des Bories (route). You'll drive up practically to the entrance of the site, where there are two fairly large car parks. Don't be fooled, when you get off the main road, by the large car park and a sign saying that the walk to Le Village des Bories is only about 2km. It is better to drive right up to the site, as the 2km walking route is not great (you won't see much on the way). The whole area impressed us – there are several ancient buildings that have been beautifully preserved!

Then there is a short drive to the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque (route). It's true that this particular spot must be much prettier with the lavender in bloom, but it's also true that it will be incredibly crowded at that time. To this day, the abbey is home to a group of Cistercian monks. You can take a look inside the abbey. Book a tour online on their website. Unfortunately, the abbey was not accessible during our visit. Only the local shop was open. Still, it was a very nice place and definitely worth a visit!

Next stop is the charming little town of Roussillon. The route is here. The houses here are a beautiful ochre colour – the reason is that they are on the site of one of the largest ochre deposits in the world. The quarries in the area were mined until 1958. Then the ochre powder was replaced by synthetic paints. Walk through all the streets of the town and don't miss the beautiful views. The ochre trail Le Sentier des Ocres was closed during our visit. The little town is full of restaurants, but many are strictly touristy. Great views and excellent food can be had at David restaurant. Also check out the local sundial, you'll find it on the way to the cemetery.

A very nice place to take a walk after lunch awaits you a short distance away (route). The Provençal Colorado is an ochre quarry that opened in 1871. There are two walking circuits: the shorter, Le Sahara, is 2.1 km long, and the longer one, with beautiful views of Belvédére, is just under 4 km long. The sandy paths are not ideal for pushchairs or wheelchairs. There are also two restaurants on site (both closed in the low season) and a simple snack bar in the car park which was open and had great coffee.

After the walk there is another crossing and that will take you to the viewpoint of Les Gorges de la Nesque (route). The viewpoint is directly overlooking a wild deep canyon. The local gorges here were classified by UNESCO as the "Mont Ventoux Biosphere Reserve" in 1998. The depth of the canyon is up to 400 metres. If I'm not mistaken, this is a regular route for the Tour de France. The view here is great! At the viewpoint you can turn around and drive to the town of Sault (route). It's a small village protected by UNESCO. Wander a few of the local streets, take a peek into the Notre Dame de la Tour church and enjoy the views of the surrounding area. Sault lies among hundreds of lavender fields.

The return journey to your accommodation is not too long (route). If you're here in the low season, you can make your journey more interesting by finding an open restaurant for dinner. We ended up driving around for a bit and eventually we found Les Cigales restaurant – route from Sault here. At first glance, we weren't entirely impressed by the restaurant, but the food was actually great! And very reasonably priced. So, go give it a chance!

TIP – If you don't feel like travelling far after seeing Roussillon, you can drive just a short distance to see the ochre mines at Mines Bruoux. It's not far (route). And then finish the day at the excellent Vignoble Chasson Château Blanc winery (except on Sundays, they're always open until 6:30pm). You'll start with a tasting and end with a purchase – it couldn't be any other way here, as their wines are really great. The route from the mines is here. Then it's only 8 km to your accommodation. You can drive in France with up to 0.5 of alcohol level.

ATTENTION – The programme of the second day is very time consuming. In order to manage everything, we left our accommodation at 8:15am and returned after dark.

What will you visit?

Customise your route
Morning

Gordes Lookout Parking

From here you will see the town of Gordes in all its glory. If you like photography, this is the place for you. Parking is free as long as you are here for just a few minutes. The best view is a few dozen meters above the parking lot along the road.

0,2-0,4 hours

Gordes

A beautiful small town nestled on a rocky hill. It is full of beautiful narrow streets and views. Cultural events are often held here in the summer. On Tuesday mornings there is a market with local produce.

Le Village des Bories

Stone buildings from the 17th-18th centuries, built by peasants near their fields and pastures. There are several well-preserved buildings on display, and you can take a peek inside. We were all alone here in March and it gave the impression that the inhabitants just popped out somewhere for a moment and they will be right back. It is possible to drive up to the site by car, there are two small car parks.

101-199
1-1,5 hours

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

It is one of the most photographed places in Provence. Especially when the lavender is blooming. But even out of lavender season, it's a beautiful place. The abbey is beautifully integrated into the local landscape. You don't even need to tour the interiors. Anyway, if you want a tour, be sure to book in advance through their website. It takes an hour, is guided and at specific times. There is also a shop on site with lavender products.

101-199
0,75-1,5 hours
Afternoon

Roussillon

4,8Roussillon is located in the heart of the largest ochre deposits in the world, and you can see this at first glance at the strange colour of the facades. Take a walk through the entire historic centre, the tangle of streets is magical. Walk up to the sundial – it's on the way to the cemetery – and you'll get some great views.

David restaurant

Very nice restaurant with a great view. The food was very good, the service was professional. The prices are a bit higher, however, they correspond to the local quality. We would love to come here again.

1-1,5 hours

Le Sentier des Ocres

There are two routes (of different lengths) through a landscape co-created by nature and man. The contrasts of colours are really beautiful. There are information boards along the way.

101-199
0,75-1,15 hours

The Provençal Colorado

Beautiful scenery, impressive colours. There are two hiking circuits of 2.1 and about 4 km. The path is not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs. Dogs are only allowed on a short leash. A great place for a comfortable walk. There are 2 restaurants on site (everywhere was closed in March when we visited), and a stand with basic refreshments in the car park. Choose the longer route here, you will be rewarded with some great views.

101-199
1-1,5 hours
  • Association du Colorado de Rustrel entrée: RD22, Quartier le Logis Neuf, D22, 84400 Rustrel, Francie
    43.9200344N, 5.4990672E
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  • +33490750487
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Les Gorges de la Nesque

The view is directly overlooking a wild, deep canyon. The local gorges were classified by UNESCO as the "Mont Ventoux Biosphere Reserve" in 1998. The canyon is up to 400 metres deep. Cyclists must have a greater experience here. This viewpoint is great!

0,5-0,75 hours

Sault

The village is situated on a rocky promontory with a panoramic view of the surroundings. When the lavender blooms in the surrounding fields, it must be a beautiful sight. The Sault can also be a good starting point for a hike among the lavender fields.

0,5-1 hours
Evening

Notre Dame de la Tour

A simple old church. We were there in the late afternoon and the sun was casting an incredible light inside. A beautiful place to stop for a while.

0,15-0,2 hours

Les Cigales

Roadside inn – that's the best way I can describe it. Tablecloths covered with washable plastic, everything a little dingy and remembering better times. But the food was very good, the gentleman who served us was extremely nice. Plus, the prices were low. So, for us, totally fine!

1-1,5 hours

Mas Val-Chênaie Gordes

Really great accommodation. Beautiful garden with seating area and swimming pool. Several types of well-equipped rooms. Easy parking in the garden. Very good breakfast made with local products. Extremely friendly hosts. The location is perfect for exploring Provence.

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