There’s no mystery about it – the reason the Lavender Museum has become a Provence must-see is that it offers visitors something new every year, and we can only congratulate it! This year there are themed activities, such as the gourmet trail giving visitors the chance to finally taste the lavender (yes, really!) and a ‘tour for the nose’ giving an unforgettable sensory experience. And there’s more!
This project has been a work in progress for the past 2 years and has just opened. Its 5 ancient dry-stone wall terraces contain different types of plant: aromatic, medicinal, wild, magical… all with a stunning view over the village of Ménerbes up to the Monts de Vaucluse, encompassing the Luberon plain and Mont Ventoux. The Citadelle is already known for its ultra-modern wine-tasting cellar with a vaulted ceiling, lined with barrels and casks, the quirky Musée du Tire-Bouchon and its light-filled boutique. Now, you can also wander through the garden.
Stroll through Gordes with a guide, visit a melon farm in Cavaillon, find out about the Vaudois’ tragic destiny in South Luberon, learn the story of the ‘Pope’s Jews’, or take in the Mediterranean flora and fauna on the borders of the Durance River with a naturalist bird-loving guide. The Luberon-Monts de Vaucluse Tourist Information Office lays on themed tours all year round for individuals and groups. A great way of getting to know this famous mountain and Nature Park better.
Some places are quite simply unique. The Palais St. Firmin, in the centre of Gordes, in Luberon, stands over a complex carved out in the rock, listed as a Historic Monument. These cellars, on several levels, are an underground mirror image of the village dating from the Middle Ages and were essentially dedicated to the manufacture of olive oil. You can visit the place, including –on request- the terraced gardens, with the owner, or you can hire the entire place to organise a cocktail party.
For some years now, the town of Sérignan-du-Comtat, north of Orange, has been earning a reputation as a village attached to natural gardens and rich provençal ecosystems. There you can visit the “Harmas de Fabre” the overgrown garden and home of famous entomologist, Jean-Henri Fabre, and just around the corner is the ultra-green Naturoptère building devoted to insects and their environment, and its garden. Not to mention the Rare Plants and Natural Gardens annual event –held for the sixteenth time in April 2014- with more outings throughout the year and the development of nature trails from the village.
In the foothills of Mont Ventoux, 750 metres above sea level, Aroma Plantes is a family-run organic farm specialised in the production of aromatic and medicinal plants.
The Liardet family grows true lavender (lavande fine), Lavandin, common sage, savory, helichrysum and dozens of plants to discover on foot on two marked trails along their fields. The distillery, which is open to the public, transforms the production onsite so essential oils and floral waters can be offered as well as dried plants. New since 1 July 2013: an Aromatic’ Bar!
Imagine a perched village in the Southern Luberon Mountains, with a castle overlooking the Durance Valley, terraced gardens cascading down the hill and a panoramic view from the Alpilles Hills to Montagne Sainte-Victoire… This is Lauris, home for the past twelve years to Le Jardin de Plantes Tinctoriales (Natural Dye Garden) and the Couleur Garance Association. Tours with the gardener, plant-dye workshops, botanical outings: these specialists of colour can captivate all audiences, those who love botany, natural dyes, the industrial heritage or simply glorious landscapes.
At the hamlet of Les Agnels, amid lavender fields and orchards on the slopes of the Luberon, lavender and herbs of Provence have been distilled for four generations! They are now distilled in all four seasons!
Two gardens – listed “Jardins remarquables” by the Ministry of Culture – an immersion in organic growing of aromatic plants, lunch with the flavours of Provence on the estate… what better moment for such a day?!
In Sérignan-du-Comtat, near – and perfectly complementary to – the naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre’s L’Harmas, Le Naturoptère opens its doors: a fascinating ambitious educational and ecological new project.