The 12th-century Sénanque Abbey, which to this day is the home and worshiping place of Cistercian monks, has no great history. There are no iconic frescoes or statues to see, and while pretty, it isn't especially notable architecturally. So why is it on every visitor's must-see list when visiting Provence?
One word: lavender. The monks here grow, harvest and process lavender from the surrounding fields, which means that come June visitors have a front-row seat to one of the most gorgeous photo ops of all time. Whether passing by in a car or stopping to smell the flowers, the Sénanque Abbey, near Gordes, is a summertime treat.
Because Sénanque is a working abbey, there are strict requirements for entry. Knees and shoulders must be covered, and once inside, silence is mandatory. Visiting times are only from 9:45 to 11 a.m., but not in winter, on Sundays or on religious holidays. Entrance is also barred during the many services throughout the day. However, the bookshop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m., also in winter and on religious holidays.