SUNDAY, 4th June
The second full day tour booked with Nicholas was to take us first to FONTAINE-DE-VAUCLUSE, a medieval village tucked in a “closed valley” at the south-western corner of the mountainous Plateau de Vaucluse, 25 km east of Avignon – it is ancient and it is interesting, especially the unique sight of a river gushing up out of the ground. At the base of high rocky cliffs a deep pool of seemingly still water is actually a fully fledged river gushing up out of the depths. A few metres from the pool the white water rapids crash down over black rocks. Below the rapids the river settles down to a wide expanse in front of dams and water wheels passing under the bridge at the centre of the village and then flowing on downstream.
The Lavender Museum is in Coustellet in the heart of the Luberon Regional Natural Park. The Museum is entirely dedicated to true lavender. Since 1991 it has been hosting visitors from all over the world. TheLavender Museum tells the story of the crop of true lavender, its history, its challenges and its future via display, video and headsets (in English for us). It is the iconic flower of Provence. There is another plant named Lavendin which is grown for perfuming basic products for laundry use etc.
Our visit to Provence is about 2 weeks too early to witness the full bloom of the lavender.
ABBAYE NOTRE-DAME DE SENANQUE
This is a lovely medieval Cistercian Abbey.It was founded in 1148 and is once again populated by Cistercian Monks. It provides overnight retreats. It is located in a wild valley just north of GORDES. In 1988 six monks re-established the monastic life at Senanque Abbey and remain there today following the medieval cycle of prayer, silence, study and work financed by the cultivation of lavender and honey, donations, entrance fees and sales in the gift shop.
To be continued……….