Lavender Route

Explore the lavender fields in summer, picturesque villages and even a lavender distillery. You will discover this unique and aromatic experience as you will learn about the passion for this amazing purple flower.

The Amazing Provence Lavender Fields

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Explore the lavender fields in summer, picturesque villages and even a lavender distillery. You will discover this unique and aromatic experience as you will learn about the passion for this amazing purple flower.

You day will be customized and you can count of plenty of  picture stops in the lavender fields and free time in Sault on market day (Wednesday). After you enjoy lunch in the area, you will learn all the benefits of lavender at a local lavender distillery (harvest season only) or visit a Lavender Museum. It is also possible to enjoy a taste of lavender honey or some home-made nougat.

Lavender Season: June 15 – August 15

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By Rick Steves and Steve Smith

So much to see, so little time. How to choose? To help you get started, I’ve listed my top picks for where to go in Provence & the French Riviera, my plan for your best two-week trip, and tips on when to go.

Depending on the length of your trip, and taking geographic proximity into account, here are my recommended priorities:

  • 6 days: Arles and day trips to Pont du Gard and Les Baux, a night in a Côtes du Rhône village, and Nice with a day trip to Monaco
  • 9 days, add: Avignon and Cassis
  • 12 days, add: Luberon, Grand Canyon du Verdon, and Antibes
  • 14 days, add: Nîmes, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, and the Camargue

Provence and the French Riviera’s Best Two-Week Trip by Car

Day 1:  Fly into Nice. Settle in at your hotel, then take a walk along the Promenade des Anglais up to Castle Hill (sleep in or near Nice)

Day 2:  All Day in Nice. Start the morning with my guidebook’s self-guided walk through Vieux Nice (take time to smell the fougasse and sample un café); spend your afternoon at one or more of Nice’s fine museums, then have dinner on the beach (sleep in or near Nice)

Day 3:  Coastal Route to Monaco. Take the train or bus to nearby Villefranche-sur-Mer, explore, and have lunch. Consider my guidebook’s seaside walks in Cap Ferrat, or take the one-hour boat cruise from Nice’s port. Spend the afternoon or evening in almost-neighboring Monaco (sleep in or near Nice);

Day 4:  Inland Riviera. Pick up your rental car as early as possible in Nice. Drive north to Vence or Grasse (you choose), then continue on to the Gorges du Verdon (sleep in tiny Aiguines or Moustiers-Ste-Marie)

Day 5:  Drive to Provence. Continue west into the Luberon and explore the villages ofthe Provençal heartland — la Provence profonde (sleep in or near Roussillon)

Day 6:  Luberon Hill Towns. Spend your day sampling hill towns in the Luberon — taste a village market, then drive over the hills to the valley of the Côtes du Rhône. From late June to late July, when the lavender blooms, the drive to Vaison-la-Romaine via Sault is a must (sleep in or near Vaison-la-Romaine; Monday arrival is ideal because market day is Tuesday)

Day 7:  Côtes du Rhône Villages. Explore Vaison-la-Romaine’s upper medieval village and lower Roman city, then set sail along the Côtes du Rhône wine road and visit a winery or wine cooperative. Tour little Crestet and take a walk above Gigondas (sleep in or near Vaison-la-Romaine)

Day 8:  Orange and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Start your day touring the Roman theater in Orange and consider a quick stop in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Continue south and set up in Avignon. In the afternoon, take my self-guided Avignon walks and enjoy dinner on one of the town’s many atmospheric squares (sleep in Avignon)

Day 9:  Nîmes and the Pont du Gard. Spend the day visiting Nîmes (Roman amphitheater) and the Pont du Gard (Nîmes works better first). If the weather’s good, bring your swimsuit and float on your back for views of the 2,000-year-old aqueduct (sleep in Avignon)

Day 10:  The Camargue. Take a joyride through the Camargue (but if it’s summer, when flamingos are scarce and mosquitoes aren’t, skip it and visit Les Baux instead). Wind up in Arles (sleep in Arles; big Saturday-morning market)

Day 11:  All Day in and near Arles. Spend most of your day in Arles, then drive to Les Baux for late afternoon sightseeing and dinner (sleep in Arles)

Day 12:  Aix-en-Provence or Marseille. Drive to Cassis, stopping for lunch and a midday visit to Aix-en-Provence or Marseille, then set up in Cassis and watch the sun set from the old port while you savor a bouillabaisse dinner (sleep in Cassis)

Day 13:  All Day in Cassis. Spend all day in Cassis enjoying la vie douce. Take a boat trip or hike to the calanques, watch the pétanque balls fly, and end your day with a drive up Cap Canaille (sleep in Cassis)

Day 14:  Fly Away. Fly out of Marseille today or, if leaving from Nice, drive to Antibes and spend your final day and evening there (sleep in Antibes)

Day 15:  Trip over