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Lavender Tours

By Viator, August 2015

4.5 311 Reviews | Add your review

It’s hard to believe, but there was a time not so long ago when visitors to Provence rarely ventured far from the Côte d’Azur. The inland was chiefly known as the center of France’s fragrance industry and apart from Avignon, was thought largely uninteresting for tourists.

How times change. The same lavender hills which provide the base ingredients for a multitude of different scents now welcome multitudes of visitors, all reveling in the sight and smell of purple blooms carpeting gently sloping hills. The landscape is only interrupted by historic villages where artisanal crafts are practiced much as they were 200 years ago.

If you’re staying on the coast, you can head out from Cannes or Nice on a private full day tour of the hinterlands, stopping at the beautiful village of St Paul de Vence, its narrow streets lined with galleries, as well as the perfume center of Grasse.

Otherwise, Avignon is the ideal starting point for a full- or half-day journey filled with stunning vistas and bewitching aromas. In summer, the roads are lined with rows of lavender under bright Provencal skies as you journey to such towns as Sault or Roussillon, where you can stock up on perfumes, soaps and other delightfully scented products, right at the source. And there’s a whole museum devoted to lavender in the village of Coustellet.

The stunning hill-top village of Gordes, with its distinctive dry-stone walls, is another favorite destination. Notable historic landmarks in the region include the beautiful 12th century Sénanque Abbey, which looks over its own lavender fields, and the miraculously preserved 1st century aqueduct Pont de Gard. There are more Roman traces in the village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, birthplace of Nostradamus and the subject of Van Gogh’s most famous painting, Starry Night. And all over Provence you’ll find charming antique stores where you can find your own piece of portable history to pack away with your perfume.

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