Venture into the rugged hills east of Avignon on this private half-day trip to the spectacular Luberon region, marked by cliff-top castles, tucked-away villages and stunning lavender fields. With your private guide, visit the picturesque villages of Oppède-le-Vieux, Roussillon or Gordes, and tour the Lavender Museum (Musée de la Lavande) to learn about this enduring symbol of Provence.
In the morning or afternoon, you’ll be picked up from your Avignon hotel and taken by air-conditioned mini-coach to the Luberon region, located about 1.5 hours away. Stretching 30 miles (48 km) along a ridge of rugged hills east of Avignon, Luberon is home to some of France's most appealing hill towns and lush landscapes.
From your private vehicle, admire views of villages and castles perched on cliffs that cascade down to sprawling lavender fields. Stop in the 12th-century village of Oppède-le-Vieux, whose old buildings cling to a rocky hill. Explore the shadowy narrow streets as your knowledgeable guide points out the remains of city ramparts and a medieval castle.
Continue to the colorful village of Roussillon, which lies within the borders of the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon and is noted for its large ochre ridge. You’ll be struck by the unique yellow, orange and red clay formations as you walk through a former quarry, the Sentier des Ocres (Ochre Path).
Your next stop is Gordes, another beautiful old village that’s perched on the southern edge of the high Plateau de Vaucluse. Admire the picture-perfect stone buildings, including the 12th-century castle, nestled on the hill overlooking the fields and forests of the Luberon Valley.
Depending on the day you visit, you'll also stop by the markets of Gordes (Tuesdays) or Roussillon (Thursdays).
Travel 15 minutes south to Coustellet to visit the Lavender Museum. Learn how those beautiful, vast fields of lavender flowers — a symbol of Provence — are cultivated and used to make fragrant essential oils and cosmetic products.
Then, relax on the drive back to your Avignon hotel.
The tour will include a visit to three of the four sites listed. The Lavender Museum and Sentier des Ocres are both closed in January.
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