After a little lay in (after visiting Séguret yesterday), we left Mazan around 9:30 am on our last day exploring Provence.
Even though it was our last day, I still planned to make it count with a few spots I’d been itching to see since we arrived.
With a big breakfast to start my day right (yeah, I totally gorged on almost every French cheese that I found here), we headed straight out through the mountains towards one of the most recognisable spots in Provence – Abbaye de Sénanque.
It’s likely you’ll have seen this spot many times before, it’s possibly one of Europe’s most picturesque and iconic spots that grow lavender in the summer months and has become a destination in itself.
That being said, visiting in October meant that I’d missed the lavender fields but the Abbey was still a lovely place to see. In fact, it was totally quiet when we visited, no one was around and we had the whole place to ourselves.
Now, I knew there would be no lavender in the fields before I visited, but seeing the fields and gorgeous landscape has made me want to return in the summer months when they’re in full bloom. Can you imagine how gorgeous this place in full bloom?
In fact, I’ve already been searching for flights next year! 🤣
With no one around, we decided to take a jaunt over towards Gordes.
With thousands of years of history (yes, the Romans called this home at one point), it’s a hilltop village that’s just so picturesque.
For the longest time, I’d always wanted to visit Gordes – a village that is easily one of the prettiest in the region.
As we drove closer, my excitement was building up like a child on the way to the fairground. Especially so as I wanted to see the views overlooking the hilltop commune.
But, the further we got, the lower the clouds came, right until a thick blanket of fog covered Gordes completely.
I couldn’t hide my disappointment, especially after waiting so long to see it. It was one of those moments where you just wanna big gust of wind to get rid of fog…
Alas, none came!
As we pulled up at the town viewpoint, Gordes was firmly covered in fog.
To the point that we couldn’t actually see it at all. My heart kinda sank a little more, but I always think that there are silver linings in things like this – the tricky part is finding it. So with that, we stumbled down to Gordes itself.
Wandering through the little streets, it was so easy to see what makes Gordes so pretty and I quickly realised that the fog itself hadn’t actually consumed Gordes as much as my over-exaggeration had made out. The streets were spared of the thick fog!
Now, if you haven’t been before, Gordes is the kind of place that feels like it’s totally stood still in time. Everything is so beautiful and preserved, it almost feels as though you’ve arrived 300 years ago in rural France.
After a little explore, the morning chill started to take hold, and with that, we came across the perfect little spot to warm our cockles.
With a roaring fire and charming snugs, the Bastide de Gordes was a welcome respite.
Better still, they served huge teapots filled with homemade hot chocolate that was (and still is) the perfect way to warm up. This is a win for me on any day, but especially so when it’s chilly outside.
After glugging a good three cups and warming up by the fireplace, it was time to give the viewpoint of Gordes one last shot before leaving the area.
As we drove out of the commune, suddenly, the fog began to disappear. So much so that by the time we’d reached the viewpoint (all of 2-minutes away), the fog had almost all gone. I was so happy!
I could finally see Gordes from afar… and it was beautiful.
I must have spent a good 30-minutes just staring and taking in the view, because, before I knew it, it was time to dash for our last stop of the trip.
After a small jaunt further through the mountains, we stopped off at Roussillon nestled within the Lubéron Valley.
Roussillon is one of those hilltop villages, with colourful little streets that are only made better by the striking Ochre Ridge that you can see.
Now, you might be wondering what colour the Ochre Ridge is?
Well, legend has it that the deep coloured cliffs were caused by a quarrel way back in the Middle Ages. Apparently, a beautiful young lady named Séramonde fell in love with a dashing troubadour. This didn’t go unnoticed by the Lord of Roussillon who (as you can imagine) was in love with Séramonde.
A big quarrel broke out and the Lord killed his love rival. Once Séramonde found out, she was so distraught that she threw herself off the cliffs. 🙁
Apparently, her blood now runs through the cliffs and gives the Ochre Ridge its deep colour that we can see today.
After hearing more about the cliffs (and the lovers’ tiff), I’d have loved to stroll through the Ochre Path and seen more of the landscape. It really is a beautiful place.
But, alas, it was time to leave Provence.
After four days of fun, adventure and mountains of food, it was time to leave for London.
Provence has always been firmly on my places to visit and a region of France and boy was I not disappointed.
That’s the thing, with such high expectations, it can sometimes lead to disappointment. In the case of Provence, it certainly didn’t. If anything, it’s spurred me on to visit again.
Especially in the summer months when the melons are juicy and the lavender is blooming.