Provence: Abbey de Senanque worth visiting outside of Lavender season

I'l be going to Provence in late May and am wondering if its worth detouring to see the Abbey de Senanque (north of Gordes) outside of the prime bloom time. I've visited countless abbeys in my travels so I'm not really interested in touring the abbey itself, but I'm wondering if its scenic nonetheless.

Posted by Jean
Mill Creek, WA, USA
84 posts

Hi Marcus, We would say skip it. We actually enjoyed the small hilltowns around the area more than stopping at the abbey.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
963 posts

I went there in July when the lavender was in bloom to get that classic photo you see everywhere. However, I was there at midday and the brutal Provencal sun pretty much washed all the color out of that lavender so photos were a little drab. I was glad that I went and I think it's in a pretty scenic setting even without the lavender. I would say if you're going to drive from Gordes to Sault (which is a stunning drive) I would definitely go that way and stop for a few minutes but I wouldn't go out of my way just to see the abbey. I enjoyed the drive up the mountain to Sault, it's a nice hill town.

Posted by Denny
Columbus, OH, USA
733 posts

I would agree I guess with the other posters. We were there when the lavender was clipped mounds of stubble, but found it interesting. It was on the way to somewhere. They had a nice gift shop where I bought bags of lavender and herbs...my good deed for the day. We also liked the Abbey at Fontenay, also Cistercian. Neither one would need take a great deal of time if you chose to visit. But, we have not visited as many as you have. Their historical and architectural significance were big draws for us. Have a great time.

Posted by Marcus
Kansas City, United States
206 posts

Thanks for the feedback everyone. We'll be visiting before the peak time, so the lavender should be fairly close to full height and a nice grey/green color. I'm a photographer so a nice image of neat rows with the abbey in the background might be interesting. Has anyone visited in in late May?

Posted by Carol
Santa Cruz
128 posts

Yes, Marcus. We were there on June 1. Even without the lavender in bloom,
the plants were full and green. Very picturesque against the abbey!

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

Yes, I have been there in May...am a professional photographer and have the images of that abbey as my current screen saver image. There was still a hint of lavender on the tips of the lavender, and as a photographer, with a little photoshop you can turn that green into purple (I didn't, but someone who traveled with me did) We loved the drive as well as the surrounding hill towns, so I think it was well worth the trip...as a matter of fact, I have gone more than once, both times during May.