This morning, June 1st, we set off to discover more of the hill towns of Provence. Our first stop of the day was for a photo opp looking across at the town of Gordes. Apparently, all roads in the Luberon lead to Gordes. Having snapped the requisite photos, we moved on the hike and explore more of Provence.
Our next destination was on the hillside above the Abbaye de Senanque. If you’ve seen a picture of Provence featuring a church and lavender fields, the likelihood is that it was of the Abbaye. After centuries, the Abbaye still functions as a monastery, whose monks live a very spartan and silent life.
We hiked for about an hour to get down into the valley where the Abbaye rests. While we were glad for the exercise, the hike itself wasn’t particularly scenic. However, once we got down to the monastery grounds, the views were very picturesque. We also were able to go inside the chapel briefly, and then visited the monastery gift shop featuring all the products the monks make themselves. Think: lots and lots of lavender products! Sadly, the lavender plants on the grounds were just starting to bloom, but it was exciting to see the first hints of purple showing on the bushes.
After getting our fill of the Abbaye, our incredibly competent bus driver, Jacques, took us to the little town of Menerbes. This town was made famous by the author, Peter Mayles, as it was the town he and his wife settled into, and that starred in many of his stories. We had a lovely lunch at a small bistro called Le Veranda. We had some time to explore, and then it was off to the town of Roussillon.
This lovely town is known for its ochre-colored cliffs which we could see from our patio at Le Phebus hotel. I can assure you that the geologic formations were much more breath-taking and lovely up close! However, for the second time today, we had a very strenuous hike, so all concluded that it was now time to return to the comforts of Le Phebus.
Moreover, tonight’s dinner at Le Phebus was widely promised to be the best dinner of the trip. Considering the high caliber of the meals so far, we were clearly captivated by the possibilities! As you can see, our anticipation was fully gratified!