The second part of our journey discovering the beauty of Vaucluse takes us to the formidable Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque and the Vaison-la-Romaine. We also look at other great tourist attractions that you cannot possibly miss out on in this gorgeous area of Provence.
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque
The abbey exudes peace and tranquility and sits in the most picturesque valley imaginable. Just a breath away from the outstanding village of Gordes, the abbey is surrounded by fields of stunning lavender, the air scented correspondingly. Founded in 1148 this Cistercian monastery follows every edict that the Cistercians stood for, living in simplicity, seclusion, poverty, and physical labor. It is a testament to the builders that the monastery is completely intact, with a superb barrel shaped cloister that combines enchantingly with beautiful arcades that have pillars decorated with petals, leaves and water lilies.
Another of the Vaucluse’s incredible ancient towns that has fantastic Roman artifacts and buildings to explore. The ruins date back to the first century BC and Vaison-la-Romaine has not one but two stunning Roman excavation sites. After a challenging visit to the ruins, many tourists make their way to the stunning Cathedral Notre-Dame de Vaison-la-Romaine. The current building dates back to around the eleventh century although previously the Cathedral dates back to Merovingian era. There are other fantastic medieval churches and parks in this enchanting town, and a great place to spend a little time is the Garden of the Nine Damsels.
A medieval gem is the hilltop village of Grignan, which is encircled by some of the most stunning landscape that you can find in Provence. Lavender, oak trees, juniper bushes and scrubland are all in abundance snuggling up to the foothills of the mighty Alps. The unique wafts of scent and vibrant colors are quite unique to the area and tourists are taken back to another time entirely. The ambiance of this fortified medieval village is stunning, and the small hamlet of Grinan has been in existence since the turn of the eleventh century.
Must-see attractions are The Collegiale Saint-Sauveur and the Chateau de Grignan. Possibly the best time to visit this wonderful place is in summer when the flora is blooming, and there are more than 150 varieties of blooms to see.
The enchanting village of Nyons nestles among the rolling hills of the Vaucluse, with olive groves covering as far as the eye can see. Another medieval village that has been names as a Plus Beaux Detours de France, and justifiably so. Nyons is highly regarded for its excellent cuisine and part of its success is the remarkable olive oil produced locally. The town is surrounded by the remains of an old castle and intact ramparts, with a delightful arched stone bridge at its entrance. The village was originally built to shelter pilgrims on their pilgrimage, and the Eglise Saint-Vincent contains a splendid statue of the Virgin Mary.
Our journey to Nyons concludes the second part of our exploration of the best places to visit in the Vaucluse, part three takes us to Carpentras and Venasque.