It’s time to farewell the lovely Lyon and resume our lavender quest.
Our journey south takes us along the Rhone river and the vineyards of the Cote de Rhone, Provence bound.
It’s clear this is a very popular region – we pass endless motorhomes along the river.
We’re driving through France’s fruit bowl: cherry season has begun. The trees are literally groaning with fruit and picking is underway. There’s a greater variety of cherry here and trees often line village streets. I’ll bet the kids strip those clean as soon as they can!
Also in season are apricots. Not the sad, rock hard, sour versions we get at home, but soft, juicy and blush pink, straight off the tree from farm vendors. I haven’t had an apricot this good since my father’s tree.
It’s Sunday so virtually everything is closed – even finding a baugette is a challenge. Luck outs eventually though at a very busy patisserie/boulangerie. I pick up a flan in honour of my friend Tracy. In her words “she’d want me to have it”.
We’re on the way to Le Poet-Laval, a village with history set in the time of the crusades. Along the way, we see our first lavender – very, very exciting. It’s gloriously bright and fragrant.
Overlooking the Jabron valley, Le Poet-Laval is topped by a 12th century keep. It was warded by soldier monks, the Kights of Hospitaller, watching over the roads to Jerusalem. The keep was rebuilt twice, once in the 13th, then again in the 15th centuries, then finally topped with a dovecote.
The village and keep were almost lost to time – is only the work of a dedicated team that they’re preserved today.
It’s oh so very hot to be clambering up hills, but the views are well worth it.
It’s late in the afternoon by the time we descend. We settle at the foot of the village in a peaceful, green spot and wait for the heat to pass.