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  • Lavender and sunflower fields in Provence

    Senanque Abbey

    Sunflowers in Provence

    Lavender in Provence

    La Bastide de Tourtour

    La Bastide de Tourtour

    La Bastide de Tourtour

    La Bastide de Tourtour

    Hotel Crillon Le Brave

    Hotel Crillon le Brace

    Hotel Crillon le Brave

    Hotel Crillon le Brave

    Le Mas des Herbes Blanches

    Le Mas des Herbes Blanches

    Discover the lavender and sunflower fields of Provence

    7 nights and 8 days
    Summer in Provence is a time when the region’s fields are bursting with colour and fragrance, as perfumed lavender and dazzling sunflowers are in full bloom. An iconic symbol of Provence, violet-coloured lavender fields are usually in flower from the end of June to mid August, with the peak time being in early July. After the lavender harvest, watch as the plants are crushed into essential oils at distilleries, or visit one of the many Lavender Festivals in Sault, Digne-les-Bains, and Valréas. Meanwhile, the bright yellow sunflowers that line the roadsides on this tour, and famously inspired the likes of Van Gogh, also bloom in July and August, giving you the chance to view vast fields of these two eye-catching flowers side by side.
    Click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested French touring holidays.

    Fly from London to Nice, where you pick up a hire car. Drive one and a half hours to La Bastide de Tourtour , an elegant hotel which is located in a thoroughly tranquil setting between mountains and sea. Spend one night here before driving northwest to Crillon-le-Brave. Enjoy the sight of the numerous sunflower fields which line the roads along the route, particularly between Avignon and Carpentras. Spend three nights at Hôtel Crillon le Brave, a boutique property which is set in a hilltop hamlet, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. From Crillon-le-Brave, travel approximately one hour south into the heart of the Luberon, to Le Mas des Herbes Blanches  which is your base for the next two nights. Le Mas des Herbes Blanches is a supremely comfortable, cosy and relaxing hotel which is built in the style of a Provençal farmhouse. Many places of interest are within easy reach of both these hotels, such as Senanque Abbey, home to a much-photographed lavender field, Sault, known as the Lavender Capital of Provence, Arles, the city where Van Gogh painted some of his famous ‘Sunflowers’ paintings, and the Camargue National Park with its diverse flora and fauna. Leave Le Mas des Herbes Blanches and return to La Bastide de Tourtour for your final night. Pass through the Valensole Plateau, a vast area where rows of lavender sway alongside fields of sunflowers and golden wheat, with charming villages scattered throughout. On your final day, return to Nice for your flight back to the UK.

    PRICES from £1500 per person based on two people sharing.

    What's included:
    · Two nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at La Bastide de Tourtour
    · Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Hôtel Crillon le Brave
    · Two nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic Room at Le Mas des Herbes Blanches
    · Scheduled flights with British Airways (London Gatwick to Nice return)
    · Type A car-hire for the duration of your stay

    Discover the lavender and sunflower fields of Provence

    Day-by-Day Itinerary

    DAY ONE
    Arrive in Nice and drive to Tourtour

    The quaint cobble-stoned, terracotta-roofed hilltop village of Tourtour awaits you upon your entry into Provence. Surrounded by extensive beautiful grasslands and meadows, it is the ideal point from which to explore the best of the Provençal landscape. Dotted around its winding, undulating streets are eight village fountains and a number of pretty cafés perfect for a morning coffee or light snack. Small as the village is, it has two medieval castles, around which the village was built, an austere, domed 11th century Church of St Denis, and one of the few olive oil mills that still functions in the traditional manner. This mill is often open for public tours. The local fossil museum was founded by Victor Zaneboni, a carpenter who moved to the Tourtour area from Corsica, whose archaeological finds are all on display, some dating back to 65 million years ago. The lavender festivals of Digne-les-Bains are one and a half hours north of Tourtour, or almost two hours northeast of Joucas, so can be visited on either stop. In the evening, perhaps dine at your hotel, La Bastide de Tourtour, or at Tourtour’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Les Chênes Vertes.

    DAYS TWO TO FOUR
    Leave Tourtour northwest-bound for Crillon-le-Brave, where you will stay for three nights

    The next stop on this tour of Provence is Crillon-le-Brave, another hilltop village with spectacular views over the colourful Provençal countryside. The Hôtel Crillon le Brave, your hotel for three nights, is an intriguing collection of buildings that stand on multiple levels; once a number of houses, a school, a stable, and a presbytery, this hotel has an abundance of attractive character. Make the most of the hilly landscape, beautiful views, and warm weather by relaxing by the terrace pool, or indulge in some of the spa treatments available. Truffle hunting excursions can be booked through the hotel’s concierge, preferably before arrival, or simply explore on foot, or by bicycle, the surrounding vineyards and olive groves. Provence is known for the huge variety of grapes that flourish in its heat and the fertility of its soil, but make sure to specifically try the local Rosé wines at local restaurants or wine estates to really taste the best of the Aix-en-Provence and Côtes –de-Provence regions. Excursions can be organised to the prestigious Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Vacqueyras vineyards, among others. To accompany the wine, try the local pork and trout in one of the nearby market towns, or Crillon-le-Brave itself. For the more adventurous visitor, cycle up the winding path to the summit of Mont Ventoux, at the base of which the village sit, to look down from the rocky, chalky mountain top over the lush green fields below. Crillon-le-Brave is less than an hour’s drive from Sault and also from Valréas, both sites of more famous lavender festivals, with an opportunity for a tour around some botanical gardens in Sault.

    DAYS FIVE AND SIX
    Head south for Joucas, where you will stay for two nights

    Situated just east of the sunflower fields that link Carpentras to Avignon, Le Mas des Herbes Blanches in Joucas is the stop on this touring holiday best suited for viewing those surreal golden fields that fascinated Van Gogh. Joucas is a picturesque stone village with paved streets that bloom with colourful flowers, overlooking the ochre cliffs of Roussillon. Various hiking and horse-riding trails are available around the village for the active tourer, or remain in the village for the festival at the end of August. Drive just over an hour southwest to Arles to see the seat of Van Gogh’s inspiration, or south to Aix-en-Provence and Cézanne’s beloved Sainte-Victoire Mountain. His atelier and the point from which he painted the mountain are still open to the public today. Avignon itself is worth at least an afternoon’s visit, with its impressive Palais des Papes, combination of ancient and medieval architecture, and the numerous hidden gardens around the town centre. The Avignon Theatre Festival, founded in 1947 by Jean Vilar, is believed to be one of the greatest in the world, featuring a colourful explosion of dance, theatre, and various readings. For something a little more off-the-beaten-track, visit the small village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, built around a subterranean spring from which flows exquisitely clear turquoise water, filtered by the local rock. Or, between Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and Joucas, sits Gordes, an old town brought up to date by its associations with film stars and artists, and the home of the Senanque Abbey and its famous lavender field.

    DAY SEVEN
    Return to Tourtour for your final night in France

    Consider detouring to Forcalquier on your drive back to La Bastide de Tourtour in order to spend part of your final full day on a balloon ride, witnessing the vibrant colour of the lavender fields from the sky. Or picnic amidst the lavender perfume in Mane after a tour of the modern and traditional distilleries in the 12th century priory. South of Tourtour is Draguignan, where traditional French markets are held every Saturday and Wednesday, and on the third Sunday of every month. Draguignan market is teeming with excellent local produce, and therefore the perfect place to pick up some edible souvenirs. Just a short drive away, of less than hour, are the lakes and mountains of Parc Naturel Régional du Verdon, attracting ramblers, hikers, and leisurely sight-seers.

    DAY EIGHT
    Drive back to Nice for your return flight

    Make the most of your last few hours in Tourtour by walking around the village, or having a leisurely coffee in another of its cafés before heading back to Nice for your return flight to the UK. Perhaps stop off for a few hours in the Riviera resort of Cannes to soak up the sun by the harbour, in the old fortified town of Antibes, or in the perfume capital of the world, Grasse.

    Driving times for this touring holiday:
    Nice to Tourtour: 1 hour 30 minutes
    Tourtour to Crillon-le-Brave: 2 hours 20 minutes
    Crillon-le-Brave to Joucas: 50 minutes
    Joucas to Tourtour: 2 hours 15 minutes
    Tourtour to Nice: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Lavender and Sunflower Fields of Provence v2

    Hotel Information

    Below is some information regarding each of the hotels featured in this touring itinerary. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.

    La Bastide de Tourtour
    Tourtour
    La Bastide de Tourtour is set amidst oleander, lavender, pine and olive trees in a tranquil and serene four-hectare park at 650 metres above sea level, allowing for unrivalled panoramic views stretching some 180km over the picturesque hills and villages of Provence in one direction and the seaside resorts of the Côte d’Azur in the other. This stunning setting makes for the most heavenly and atmospheric culinary experiences, featuring the very best of Provençal cuisine. Dinner is served on the vast terrace in the cooling shade of mulberry and plane trees during the warmer months or in the intimate vaulted restaurant if you prefer. La Bastide de Tourtour offers 25 beautifully appointed rooms, each with pre-requisite stunning views. Individual in style and decoration, the rooms have a comfort, elegance and sophistication that lends them naturally to longer stays, with a wide range of amenities including complimentary WiFi, flat screen television, mini-bar and safe. Superior and Prestige Luxe rooms at La Bastide de Tourtour are more spacious, the latter also boasting a panoramic terrace from which to take in the magnificent vistas.
    Find out more here.

    Hôtel Crillon le Brave
    Crillon-le-Brave
    Hôtel Crillon le Brave near Avignon in Provence is named after its hilltop hamlet setting in the foothills of Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail. Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, this Relais & Châteaux property symbolises the essence of boutique luxury in an authentic and charming environment. Comprising seven village buildings – former houses, stables, a school and presbytery - this unique hotel offers 32 beautifully and individually-appointed rooms and suites, each connected by secret courtyards and quiet alleyways, which add to the charming atmosphere and character. Most rooms overlook Mont Ventoux or the Rhône Valley and feature high-quality amenities such as Bose Wave sound systems, Italian linens and luxurious bathrooms. Just a stone’s throw from some of the greatest names in wine – Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Châteauneuf-du-Pape to name but a very special few – Crillon-le-Brave provides the perfect base for those looking to spend their days touring the excellent vineyards of this rich wine-growing region. Naturally, the restaurant features a wine list bearing the names of the finest Rhône vintages to accompany an elegant and refined menu, packed full of locally-sourced, regional cuisine. Al fresco dining on the terrace in the warmer months exploits the magnificent Mont Ventoux backdrop. The Hôtel Crillon Le Brave has an inviting outdoor pool, mini-spa, boules court and guests can explore the area by bike.
    Find out more here.

    Le Mas des Herbes Blanches
    Joucas
    On a slight hill a couple of miles outside the hill top village of Joucas in the Vaucluse between Ventoux and the Luberon, the Le Mas des Herbes Blanches enjoys privileged views over the Luberon and the village of Roussillon. Built of local stone in the style of a low, Provençal 'mas' or farmhouse, Le Mas des Herbes Blanches is a supremely comfortable, 4-star, Relais and Châteaux hotel. Yet, for all its quality of surroundings and service, Le Mas des Herbes Blanches is unpretentious, cosy, and relaxing: a divine holiday hotel, thoroughly deserving of a stay. In its own grounds of olives and sycamores, with clumps of lavender and vineyards just below, Le Mas des Herbes Blanches offers comfortable lounges, a stylish, rustic modern bar, a sun terrace and open air swimming pool with panoramas of the greeny grey Luberon hills and, of course, the restaurant with its modern fire place, views and elegant and calm atmosphere. The food is outstanding and the quality of flavours, presentation, and taste, superb. The bedrooms all have telephone, television and mini bar and vary in size. All have balcony or terrace, bath and wc and air conditioning, but the Standards tend to be north facing, whilst the Superiors are larger with terraces and spacious bathrooms. The decoration is simple in a stylish way, but fitting for the climate with white-washed walls complementing sands and ochres in material and furnishings, and comfortable. We cannot recommend Le Mas des Herbes Blanches highly enough either for a long, relaxing stay in this delicious region or for just a couple of nights if you want to tour Provence and the south of France.
    Find out more here.

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