The first day of Nathan’s summer vacation took us to the picturesque Luberon region where John had planned a bike trip with the three of us. Luberon is a large mountain range in Haute Provence, ideal for Lavender cultivation which needs at least an altitude of 300m. So was the plan, but as usual, one has to have a plan B as well. Plan A – by train to Avignon, by bus to the village Apt, and a second bus trip to higher located Bonnieux to rent bikes.
Bonnieux is a refined historical village with steep narrow streets and plenty of panoramic views. The 12th century church peaks out above the village, whereas a second church dating to the 19th century is the one for daily use as it is on lower ground. People who live here must have an excellent physical condition as not many of the streets are horizontal, but wind steep-up or steep-down. So it is for visitors, exploring this lovely place is a real workout and .. truly rewarding for body and mind.
The centre of the village gives a full panoramic view of Luberon and we discovered several purple-colored patches that indicated lavender fields, with one on walking distance. Intending to use bikes to explore the area, we noticed that the bike shop was closed, and we turned to plan B – to walk to the nearest lavender field we had seen from high up. In spite of the hot sun, this was easily done. We took it all in – the view of the lucid purple flowers complemented by the dark green foliage of the tall Cypresses and the silver-green of the small Olive trees.
The lavender fields have a magical presence in the landscape. Lavender is grown for the flowers and for the oil that is extracted from the flower spikes, having a calming effect on one’s skin and on one’s mood. Typically here in Luberon, tall Cypress trees border the lavender fields, both plant and tree are native to the “Old World” symbolising good health, long life and the power of adaptation … the same qualities required for living in the third millennium!