* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Weekend in Provence VII

Scenic Summer Solstice

Solstice 01The whole region making up Provence is quite picturesque, which is perhaps why there is such sentiment for it, both within France and internationally. 

We have the pleasure of driving back and forth through a particular section at least once a year, so we are getting a bit familiar with a few areas.  I don't take the same pictures every time, but I get a chance to perfect some I didn't like previously.  Sometimes I just don't catch them nicely, sometimes it's the wrong time of day.

Here's some of what we came across on our way home on the first day of summer.

Solstice 02
Lavender country in full bloom

Our route automatically goes through the Lavender capital, so the whole area is full of fields everywhere. 

For years, we apparently passed through either not quite in the right place or not the right season, but we've had several years recently of catching them in full bloom. 


Solstice 03
So pretty . . .
Solstice 04
. . . on the side of the road

Windmills are always fun.  I think this one might be a replica, but it is still worth taking note of.

France isn't known for windmills like Holland is, but they do have a history of them.

Solstice 05
Medieval village in the modern world

After nearly 25 years of driving around France, it is still awesome for this American to stumble across Medieval towns just scattered across the country. 

When they are just there next to the highway, up close and personal, I just have to take a picture!

This ruined castle is from the 12th century.

Solstice 06

Stepping back just a little, you get a totally different perspective of the setting.

Apparently, from the town you can get a lovely view of lavender fields dotting the countryside, the streets are really narrow, and the houses are really tall.

There is also a spa for the natural therapeutic springs. 

I think the next time we have a chance it might be worth a stop to actually explore a little.

Solstice 07
The monolith of Barret-de-Lioure
Besides man-made edifices standing up here and there, this region also has some amazing nature-created formations.

While this monolith is standing alone here, it's actually part of similar rock masses on the sides of the mountains.

Nearby is a smaller one with a house built into it somehow (I couldn't get close enough to see clearly).  I tried several ways to capture its essence; I hope you can see it yourselves.

Solstice 08
A smaller blade of rock ...
Solstice 09
... amidst the lavenders

Solstice 10
Romanesque Chapel of St. Donat, 1018 AD

I took a series of this 11th century church in the past, but I think the sun was all wrong at the time. 

I snapped this one through the windshield as we passed by, so the quality isn't great. 

It's still rather amazing how it just sits there on the hill. 

They've totally reworked the road since last time, so the overall setting isn't quite as quaint.

Solstice 11
The Penitents

I've had a terrible time trying to capture this rock group.  Either I'm never in the right place at the right time, or I'm not in the right place, but my results are always disappointing. 

This time, I managed to see it from a distance, but I couldn't get past the trees when it was the most perfect! 

The sun has blown it all out, too.

Solstice 12
Rising up 300 feet/100 meters behind Les Mées

I took this same view another time; I haven't compared the sun locations between the two yet to know which is the better one.  As a close-up, it's more picturesque. 

They are called the Penitents because they look like monks.

Solstice 13
The punished petrified monks

I wasn't able to take this really sunny (stitched) panorama last time; perhaps I finally captured how they actually look in reality. 

Totally impressive!

Solstice 14
The setting sun of summer and our weekend

As we got into the mountains necessary to go through on the northern route to home, I thought the sunset on this rock-faced mountain was really pretty. 

Being the longest day of the year, it was 9:00 p.m. when we passed by, with still a fair amount of daylight.

And thus the sun set on our very eventful weekend.  I hope you've enjoyed our journey with us.


  1. I've never managed to see the lavender fields in bloom in France. I love lavender and have seen fields here in bloom - not quite on the same scale, though!

  2. You are such a good photographer. The house inside the rock and the penitent monks are really great pictures and the lavender fields must be so fabulous to see... and smell! Another nice blog!


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