It’s on my way to a Wedding in Provence that I took some time off to explore Provence.
I’ve spent my teenage years in South of France, near Toulon and Hyères, but at that time, I didn’t have a car (because no driver’s licence yet !). So that’s quite later in my life that I finally get to explore this part of France, and more specifically the area in haut Var, and Alpes de Haute-Provence.
So here is, in photos, a few places that I’ve discovered and really enjoyed, while on this roadtrip.
Please fasten your seatbelt, and enjoy the ride !
Let’s gooooooooooooo !!!! 🙂
Lavander fields at Valensole !
This place, I’ve been dreaming of it for years, without even knowing where to look for it. Lavender fields everywhere you can look at. How and where did all this lavender, Provence is famous for, comes from ? Now I know.
That’s in Valensole that you’ll find it. This place is so famous that there even is roadsign to warn drivers from tourists walking all around and crossing the roads without any notice. Crazy ! 🙂
I woke up really early to be there hoping to be alone, but didn’t work… same for sunset : I’ve never be by myself there, there is always photographers (well, in July !) 🙂
I adored the intoxicating smell of lavender flowers, when driving and walking around, but also the red color of the ground, and the bzzzz bzzz sound of bees flying around, but also the fact that you could see, very far away ,the mountains, reminding you that this flat heavenly landscape is just a bit of rest before you keep exploring the area 🙂
Moustiers Ste Marie
Not that far from Valensole, there is Moustiers Ste Marie, honored to be among the prettiest village in France, this village smells the south, the sun (and tourists !). It was delightful to wander in its small paved streets, I specially loved the olds doors everywhere. All different but all very pretty, and its hiking paths that lead me on top of the village, with a breathtaking view on the village but also Saint Croix Lake.
Watch out, if you’re afraid of heights, or don’t like to drive on narrow and sinuous roads, this is not a place for you. I’ve been lucky to drive there very early in the morning, in early July, and so by the time I was done driving all around the gorge and enjoying the view, the crowd of tourists and drivers was just arriving in the other direction….
Roads are pretty, and there are little space here and there to park and stop to enjoy the scenic view, but parking space are limited, so avoid going there in crowded hours. 🙂 I’ve been there when I was really young and had forgotten how this aread is beautiful, wild and empty (no house anywhere, nothing !)
Bonus point, at the end of the scenic drive, you meet again Saint Croix lake, with its pretty green/turquoise color.
Next time I go there, I’ll rent a paddle boat, because that day there was a heatwave, and these people on the water seemed to have quite a good time, exploring the gorge from beneath the skyline 🙂
This village is also among the prettiest village in France and I really enjoyed wandering in its small streets, but also the very animated main square , with pretty terrasse and flowers and plants here and there everywhere in the village.
The road to get there is also pretty : lost in the middle of nature, you reach the village as if you wanted to reach the top of the clouds 🙂
Aups, on a market day, in summer, is the real spirit of my vision of Provence : joy all around, lovely yummy smells, and vacation flavour! Between the booth that sells baskets, the olive shop, bathing suits or soap maker, there are plenty of terrasse to enjoy “apéro”, and a all bunch of happy mood, colors smells, and laughter…
And then, walking a bit aside and find calm and quietness in pretty narrow paved streets 🙂
It was quite a pain to find a parking spot when arriving in Aups on a market day, but it was way worth the search, to stop there for a little walk at the marché, and a drink at a terrasse 🙂
A quick pause at Régusse, because there is an old windmill, and I havn’t seen that many in my life. A windmill is quite tough to photograph : between its massive size, its wings, but also the fences to protect the path that leads to it, and the bad weather… that was a tough mission. Not easy, but this windmill was pretty, and very old, so it’s worth a stop on your way elsewhere.
Aix en Provence !
I have lived a bit more than 2 years in Aix en Provence, and going back there was the icing on the cake of this roadtrip in Provence.
I had forgotten how pretty this city was, with its narrow old streets, so lovely to walk around. Aix en Provence has been for me the beginning of my addiction to USA (thanks to a cultural exchange programm, and later on I’ve worked for this company, based in Aix en Provence, before flying back to USA).
I feel like I’ve lived 12 000 lives since the time I’ve lived in Aix en Provence, and I was far from guessing I would become a wedding photographer, so being back there was like meeting myself again. 🙂
The challenge, that day, for me, was to try to take photos of the city without any people in it, when the city was very crowded in July, this was an interesting challenge.
So here’s the end of my roadtrip in Provence, and I hope you enjoyed it.
So please, now, tell me when we’re going back there !