Lavender Fields Forever: The Belles of Provence
If you like Paris in the springtime, you’ll love Provence in the summer. The region’s famous lavender fields burst into full flower at the end of June and last until the beginning of August in a good year. Don’t miss your chance to see–and smell–the fragrant herbs up close and personal this year. Here are three great places to stay while you’re there:
■ Les Remparts (Beaumes-de-Venise; from $219, including breakfast)
Built into the massive ramparts of a famous wine village in the Côtes du Rhône region, this snug retreat centers on a courtyard where the trickle of water from a bathing pool softly echoes against stone walls.
The five rooms include furnishings from exotic locales and views of the Rhône Valley, Mont Ventoux, and an undulating landscape where trails take guests past vineyards and olive groves.
■ Le Couvent des Minimes (Mane; from $275)
Sun-kissed lavender and verbena perfume the gardens of this former 17th-century convent, situated in a village overlooking the fields and mountains of central Provence. Architectural elements of stone appear in the 46 light-filled rooms.
After a day exploring the medieval lanes of nearby Forcalquier, the former capital of Haute-Provence, indulge in an essential oils massage at the spa run by L’Occitane.
■ Le Mas de l’Amarine (St.-Rémy-de-Provence; from $260, including breakfast)
This welcoming five-room inn with restaurant lies on the leafy outskirts of a an old Gallo-Roman town south of Avignon, where Vincent van Gogh painted “The Starry Night” and the produce and herbs of Provence spill from market stalls.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
At its heart is a bold mosaic floor created in the 1950s by French artist and sculptor Roger Bezombes when the stone farmhouse with terraced gardens was his home.
This piece, reported by Christopher Hall, first appeared in the May 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.