France

South of France: Carcassonne & Provence

After 4 days in bustling Barcelona, things seemed to slow down a little as we arrived in the South of France, which was well away from the urban areas.

I was kind of glad we did that instead of doing the conventional route of visiting Paris. I just found it nice to go where the locals holidayed and enjoy the summer sights in the countryside and along the Riveria.

So here are my snapshots of the first part of our route along the South of France, starting off from the medieval town of Carcassonne, moving on to the town of Avignon where we took a day trip to the lavender fields in Provence 🙂

Our train ride from Barcelona to Carcassonne
Our train ride from Barcelona to Carcassonne, with the sun setting
We arrived past 9pm, and decided to take a walk down to the medieval town to find dinner and see the night scenery
We arrived past 9pm, and decided to take a walk down to the medieval town to find dinner and see the night scenery.. you can imagine how tired we were at this point!
But we were rewarded by this view! The medieval town lit up at night :)
But we were rewarded by this view! The medieval town lit up at night 🙂
Getting closer to the medieval city.. see how bright the moon is?
Getting closer to the medieval city.. see how bright the moon is?
The town at night... looks gloomy and ominous doesn't it?
The town at night… looks gloomy and ominous doesn’t it?
But inside, it was quite lively, with the restaurants open and locals driving in to have a late-night meal
But inside, it was quite lively! With the restaurants open and locals driving in to have a late-night meal
The town of Carcassonne in the morning
The town of Carcassonne in the morning
The medieval city in the day!
The medieval city in the day!
Just outside the city walls
Just outside the city walls
Birds-eye view of Carcassonne
Birds-eye view of Carcassonne from the top of a local church.. we had to climb 200+ steps to get this view!
Our next stop: Avignon!
Our next stop: Avignon!
Palais des Papes which we just saw from the outside
Palais des Papes which we just saw from the outside
We were there during the Avignon Festival so there were alot of artist acts going on
We were there during the Avignon Festival so there were alot of artist acts going on
On the lavender tour!
Off to find some lavender!
We stopped by to overlook the village of Gordes first
We stopped by to overlook the village of Gordes first.. the view was breathtaking (you should click to enlarge!)
Our 1st glimpse! These are actually lavindin flowers, as our guide told us
Our 1st glimpse! These are actually lavandin flowers, as our guide told us
Bunches of dried lavender at the lavender oil factory
Bunches of dried lavender at the lavender oil factory
The biggest lavender field in Sault, Provence
The biggest lavender field in Sault, Provence
Walking through the lavender fields
Walking through the lavender fields
As you can see, the petals of the lavender is different from the lavindin and the laveders tend to grow closer together. The shade of purple is also different
The lavender flowers. As you can see, the petals of the lavender is different from the lavandin and the lavenders tend to grow closer together. The shade of purple is also different
Our last stop for the day! (that may have been a tad posed hehe)
Our last stop for the day! (that may have been a tad posed hehe)
With some flowers that I plucked.. can you tell if this is lavindin or lavender?
With some flowers that I plucked.. can you tell if this is lavandin or lavender?

And that is pretty much the 1st half of our France leg!

I’ve to admit I was a tad disappointed that we didn’t get to go to the more famous lavender fields like Sénanque Abbey or Valensole Plateau. These places are usually accessed by self-drives and Ms Gan didn’t have her driving license at that time. It was too expensive to rent a car at that time too, as we didn’t book ahead.

I was also a little sad that we didn’t see some sunflower fields along the way as they seem to be harder to find. So anyway, a tip if you are planning to see the lavender fields in the future – it might be worth it planning ahead and doing a self-drive. You’ll have more time to appreciate the scenery (tours are usually rushed), choose your route and stop by the more famous lavender fields, and along the way, you can probably spy some sunflower fields too!

Anyhow, I was still delighted to finally see the lavender fields, because that was what I was dreaming about from the time we decided to include South of France in our itinerary. It did feel surreal, walking through the field of violet, taking in the fresh air and smell of lavender, and viewing the French countryside in the background. Ah, if I could go back there and do it again, I would!

So from here, we went on to Pont Du Gard, Nice & Monaco as part of our South of France journey… so stay tuned!

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