Leaving from Avignon, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, and Apt, half-day tours offer opportunities to explore Luberon’s hilltop villages Oppède-le-Vieux, Roussillon, St. Rémy de Provence, and Gordes, with stops at the Marquis de Sade’s famous castle and the Senanque Abbey. Some combine driving with walking, others go by electric bike. If you have more time, take a full-day tour over the Sault plateau to admire the blooming fields along the Lavender Route and the views along the Ochre Path in Roussillon. Combine driving with walking, or take a more active adventure by electric bike. Gourmands have the chance to splurge on a multi-day tour through Provence led by a Michelin-star chef.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Sénanque Abbey is an ideal spot for nature lovers and photographers.
- Entry is free.
- A strict etiquette is observed: Knees and shoulders must be covered, and once inside, silence is mandatory.
- Non-guided tours allow you to visit otherwise restricted areas such as the monks’ cells at your leisure.
- There is little to no cell reception in the abbey.
- Hour-long guided tours need to be reserved in advance, and are available in French only.
How to Get There
Sénanque Abbey is about 31 miles (50 kilometers) from Avignon, with no direct public transportation in between. If possible, rent a car to explore the neighboring lavender fields. Be careful on the roads leading to the abbey’s lavender fields as they are very narrow. Parking is available on-site.
When to Get There
Guided and unguided tours are allowed Monday through Saturday, mornings and afternoons. Though the abbey is closed to visitors throughout the winter, the bookshop is open until the evenings throughout the year. Plan your trip when the lavender and sunflower fields are in bloom, mid-June through early August.
Coustellet Lavender Museum
Lavender junkies will want to continue on to this 200-acre (80-hectare) farm and museum nearby. Once there, you can learn how the aromatic plant is grown and processed in machines dating back to the 17th century, and its impressive medicinal benefits. You can watch the Lincelé family, who have run the farm for five generations, distill and process lavender essence into products for purchase in the boutique.
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- Lavender Museum (Musee de la Lavande)
- Les Halles Market
- Palace of the Popes (Palais des Papes)
- Rocher des Doms
- Little Palace Museum (Musée du Petit Palais)
- Rhône River
- Avignon Cathedral (Cathedrale Notre-Dame des Doms)
- St. Benezet Bridge (Pont d'Avignon)
- Les Baux-de-Provence
- Montmajour Abbey (Abbaye de Montmajour)
- Pont du Gard