France Photo Diaries Provence Travel

Photo Diaries: Provence Road Trip

Last summer, my friend Cheryl and I jumped (literally- we both almost missed it) onto a train headed for Avignon to spend a few days exploring Provence. Those who have been around for awhile know I’m no stranger to the region, but my previous explorations had been much closer to the coast, and I wanted to see some of the villages I’d only read about- and of course, take as many photos in lavender fields as possible.

With me navigating and Cheryl in the driver’s seat, here are some of the places we got to see during those five days!

If you’re looking for more information about how to take a Provence road trip, check out my guide!

Along the route to Oppède-le-Vieux, we rounded a corner and immediately had only one thought: must stop! This was possibly the best lavender field we found- the clean lines, the mountains in the back, the little house. All so perfect! And we had it all to ourselves.

There’s not much in Oppède-le-Vieux, a 12th century village perched on a mountain, besides charming terrasses and cobblestone streets, but it’s definitely worth a stop.

On day 2, we got up at 5am to drive out to Gordes, but this sunrise was well worth it! This photo was taken around 6:30am, so arrive early for the best light and fewest tourists. We were still sharing this spot with a rather large group of middle-age folks and their photography teacher.

Simply captivated by the oranges and pinks in the village of Roussillon. I even color-coordinated my dress to the village! Pro tip: do not wear white sneakers, no matter how much they pop in photos. They will get ruined.

Provence has numerous former ochre mines that are now tourist sites. On the left is the Colorado provençal in Rustrel, which is much more rugged and less touristy than Roussillon on the right (but of course has clearly marked walking paths). It’s almost like being on another planet!

Provence or Mars?

We climbed up the hill to the former château for these views over Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt. The medieval ruins are nearly a thousand years old!

Definitely fell for the charm of Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt’s colorful streets. The door in the center (along with 2 others in town) is classified as a historical monument!

After arriving at Simiane-la-Rotonde for photos in the nearby lavender fields and discovering a fire in the village that was releasing huge plumes of white smoke, we decided to drive towards Sault for a little while to wait for the fire to be put out and for the sun to lower a bit. After a quick tour through the village, we stopped at a viewpoint, and I snapped this photo of the rolling fields of wheat and lavender, covered in a late afternoon haze.

One of the biggest surprises of our trip was how much we loved the gorgeous little village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where we stopped before heading to the nearby Gorges de Verdon. The village has long been known for its production of faïence pottery, and Cheryl was looking at having a custom sign made for her boyfriend’s mom’s house.

Did you know there are mountains in Provence? They make for a great backdrop to the lavender fields!

Obligatory photoshoot in the overgrown lavender field near our Airbnb on our first night. The light was just too good!

Another historical monument door in Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt. It makes me curious: does someone live here? What are they like?

Lavender fields make excellent backdrops for vineyards and sunflowers, don’t you think?

Have you done a Provence road trip? What are some of your favorite spots?

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