Luberon’s lavender landscape

This is lavender-land – visit at the right time of year and an enormous purple carpet is rolled out across this stretch of the Luberon. At other times, wildflowers and poppies, olive trees and orchards all bathe in a light that in late afternoon seems distilled from honey. Evening brings a lingering copper sun, serenaded by cicadas. It’s easy to see why this landscape has inspired generations of artists – and it inspired locals to rival the natural scenery with splendid hilltop villages, some of France’s finest. Bonnieux and Gordes both contend for Provence’s most picturesque spot, the fairy-tale aspect on approach only bettered by the meandering medieval streets that cosset you, encouraging exploration and a trigger-happy approach to photography. Time glides smoothly along here, the rhythm of local life as seductive as the countryside. Take time to slow down, right down, to appreciate it.

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