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And Now for the Lavender

July 20, 2022

Rising at dawn on Bastille Day, Thursday, we caravanned to the famous Abbaye de Senanque, the subject of every photo you’ve ever seen of Provence and its lavender, looking for the shot no one else has ever taken — hah!

In most photos I recall, the abbey is a weathered grey, but it must have recently been power-washed, as its stones are now a pale golden hue. The challenge is that in the dawn light the abbey is so bright, and the lavender fields are still in shadow, so getting the proper exposure is difficult. But it’s a magical place, with hardly anyone else there. The calming smell of the lavender floats on the light breezes, and bees are humming happily as they scoot from flower to flower. The buzzing is constant and quite intense.

The abbey was built by Cistercian monks in the 12th century, and has been nearly continuously occupied, except for about sixty years during and after the French Revolution. Monks still live there today, and take a vow of silence.

This serene place is very near the bustling town of Gordes, which perches atop a limestone hill and enjoys spectacular views in all directions. It’s a chichi destination for well-heeled international travelers and those who can afford to buy real estate here.

To protect the vulnerable in our group, Cheri and I moved on the next day to Sault (pronounced So) and the Val de Sault resort, about an hour’s drive away.

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One Comment
  1. Your pictures are lovely! I thought I caught a whiff of the lavender.

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