My Lavender-Scented Dream in Provence

I’d been waiting for this moment for years….


One of the great things about Provence is that you have a plethora of amazing towns within a short drive from each other. After discovering over a dozen of them, I’ve listed the best of the best below (and their distance from our hotel):

Lourmarin (40 min drive): Listed as “one of the most beautiful villages in France”, Lourmarin is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, and almond trees. If I could only live in one small town the rest of my life, this would be it! The village  is lively in the summer due to its numerous café terraces, restaurants and boutiques. In the village you will notice the beautiful Mediterranean architecture in its winding narrow streets, lovely old restored houses, and well shaded public squares where you can immerse yourself in the gentle Provençal ambience.

My Lavender-Scented Dream in Provence

A lavender field in Provence

Sault (40 min drive): Situated on an old fortified village on the border of a great wooded plateau, Sault is a town that’s loaded with lavender! It’s wonderful to smell lavender everywhere you go while driving through town. The esthetic features of the village have not gone unnoticed, for Sault is one of six lucky sites in France chosen for protection by UNESCO due to the historic value and beauty of the buildings. The “Pays de Sault” (the region) was an ancient Comté, ruled by a count. In the 18th and 19th centuries Sault was the center of an important glass industry. Today the glass works are gone, but the weekly market (Wednesdays) has remained — since 1515!

Aix en Provence (1h 15min drive): If you’re looking to step outside the cozy feel of the Luberon region without heading too far back into reality, Aix en Provence is the perfect solution. Situated in southern Provence, close to the mediterranean, Aix has the look of a city with the feel of a town. Aix was formed in 3rd century BC(!), so you can only imagine how stunning it is. The center of Aix is the old town (vieille ville), ringed by a circle of boulevards and squares. It’s a small-enough area to explore by foot, but there’s way too much to see in one or two days. Aix-en-Provence is also full of fountains, which I loved.

My Lavender-Scented Dream in Provence

Hanging in Aix-en-Provence

Bonnieux (20 min drive): Regardless of the route you take to Bonnieux, you will see the church tower well before you arrive. The tower dominates the countryside and the surroundings of this magnificent village, which while inside gives some of the most sweeping views in all of Provence. There are some charming homes here that date back to the 16th century, serving as a reminder that Bonnieux was a wealthy town back when it belonged to the Vatican.

Lacoste (20 min drive): The famous château belonging to the Marquis de Sade is located in Lacoste. In 1771 the Marquis fled from Paris to escape the scandals created by his erotic writing and naughty behaviour. The village has charming narrow streets paved in beautiful white stone. I really enjoyed aimlessly wandering around the town and sitting at a charming café to escape the strong sun. Drinking a delicious local rosé is a pleasant way to pass the time. You will also come across beautiful old stone houses, some of which are being restored. This charming gem of a town is definitely worth the trip to escape the modern world and slink back to a time long before modern civilization.

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Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 74 Comments

  1. Avatar of Jennifer Hartmann

    Jennifer Hartmann

    Curious about that biodynamic vineyard mentioned. But since it is quite a novel method, I assume there are not enough scientific studies or basis about that winemaking process yet. I’ll go for organic wines to be safe.

  2. Avatar of Ashley Thompson

    I love the short distances to the water and to beautiful vistas. I love the architecture and endless examples of it. I like the climate- most of the time! I like the old-fashioned feel and variety of the neighborhoods. I love the number of cultural things to do and see. I love the proximity of good medical care. I love the incredible history that is here. I like the number of natural settings and parks and hiking and birding trails. I like the lack of industry and relatively low level of air pollution. I really like the overall convenience of Providence on a daily basis.

    • Avatar of JUSTINE



  3. Avatar of Justin Carter

    Justin Carter

    Provence has so much to offer with breathtaking scenery, delicious cuisine, and the freshest produce. A rich cultural heritage, wonderful museums, and exhibitions, great shopping, without forgetting that lovely singing ‘provençal’ accent and a particularly addictive “art de Vivre”; all make the place so special.

  4. Avatar of Mary Jamieson

    Mary Jamieson

    Now I know what’s next on my travel bucket list – Provence!!!

  5. Avatar of Janet Day

    Wow! Written in detail yet very conversational. As If I was already transported to Provence while I was reading this article.

  6. Avatar of JURIK


    Provence, one of the places that made a mark during the French Revolution is somehow, we can regard as a historical beauty. As the setting in the movie “My Summer in Provence,” I can visualize the experience of Hilary in this idyllic location. If you want to indulge in tranquility at its best, Provence is the place to be.

  7. Avatar of Maria Rapier

    Maria Rapier

    Lacoste and Bonnieux is a favorite and I would have ranked it on my 1st and 2nd. I’m not sure why, I guess I like things different.

    • Avatar of Marjory Brooks

      Marjory Brooks

      All the places that were listed are great. I would have ranked it all #1. ?

  8. Avatar of Oxi Harger

    Oxi Harger

    If you go to Verdon, it’s where you discover that Provence is wilder than you suspected. It’s not just lavenders and good tasting wines. From sunlit vineyards and pine forests around Lorgues and Brignoles, it swings north to a rockier, rougher country of gorges, ravines and sinuous roads which want you dead. Plus, it’s vertigo-inducing too.

  9. Avatar of Gregory Arsenault

    Gregory Arsenault

    In Aix, the studio is also the second best visit in town. The very best is the St. Sauveur Cathedral! ?

  10. Avatar of Jenni Wilson

    Jenni Wilson

    Not only does this sound exciting, it seems to be one of the best places that you can go in your entire life!!

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