Visiting Provence: Lavender Fields

One of my longtime dreams was to visit the lavender fields of Provence. In my mind, nothing could be more romantic; it was like a fairytale you could experience, something magical. And in 2015 I was lucky enough to finally be able to go. With surreal blue skies, cypress trees, castles, hills, Roman structures (some still in use so they can’t be called ruins), and, of course, lavender fields, Provence really is magical. When I was there my guide (Elodie of Provence Authentic) told me the fields are disappearing as farmers replace them with more profitable grapevines, which would be like Paris taking down the Eiffel tower to put up highrises. If you ever have a chance to visit the Luberon, the region where these fields were located, take it– while the lavender, and so much of the magic, is still there.

Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

By the way, the smell was incredible. Forget whatever you think lavender smells like– there’s nothing like an entire sun-warmed field of these flowers.

In the next photo, you can just make out a castle on the hill in the background. Apparently it once belonged to the Marquis de Sade. When I was there it was owned by designer Pierre Cardin, who was raising money to restore it. I wonder how that went…

Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
The flowers in this field haven’t quite opened yet. Lavender blooms in the Luberon from June until August, depending on location and type of lavender.
Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
The farm’s name, “La Savonnade” means soap. By the way, “lavender” comes from the French “lavendre,” meaning to wash.
Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Mallow flowers among the lavender.

Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Surrounded by lavender fields is the lush green garden of the world’s luckiest homeowner. I wonder how they feel about unexpected houseguests…

Some local wildlife…

Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence, Lavender Fields, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Before we left, we moved l’escargot off the road to more pleasant surroundings.

Have you visited any lavender fields, in France or anywhere else? Share in the comments…

Want to read more about France? Download my FREE story Tooth & Claw, set in early 1900s Marseille, and inspired by actual events (there aren’t any lavender fields, but there are vampires.)

Tooth & Claw, free short story by Aspasia S. Bissas

 Smashwords Barnes & Noble Kobo Apple Books

Further Reading

Visiting Provence: Carpentras

Vampire’s Garden: Lavender

Note: All photos in this post are © Aspasía S. Bissas. They were originally shared on my other blog Whimsy Bower (click to see more photos there).

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

 

Visiting Provence: Carpentras

Since travelling right now is difficult, if not impossible, for most of us, I’m sharing pictures of my past trip to Provence, France. Why not be inspired by where we’ve been while we dream about where we’d like to go?

In June 2015, after years of drooling over pictures and other people’s stories, I finally had the chance to visit Provence. While I was there I stayed in Carpentras, a town in the Vaucluse region of Provence with a fascinating history, a fantastic weekly marché (market), and a name that’s really difficult to pronounce if you’ve never heard it before! Why didn’t this video exist five years ago?

It’s also the centre of the truffle trade for the region (unfortunately I was there too late for truffle season). I think it would take many visits at all different times of the year to fully appreciate Carpentras. For now, here are a few shots I took during my brief time there. Enjoy…

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
The sign directs drivers to the paid parking ticket dispenser. Somehow it sounds better in French.

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
The mountain in the background is Mt. Ventoux, known for its white peaks, which are bare rock and not snow.

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Love the random plants growing on the side of the building.

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, provence, france, carpentras, vaucluse, architecture, travel, travelling, french tourism, avignon, whimsy bower, history, photography, aspasiasbissas.com

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
The other end of the fountain features a female head.

My favourite part of Carpentras was probably the Roman arch (located behind the Palais de Justice). Provence actually has many Romans ruins and structures (farmers still use Roman-built aqueducts to water non-edible crops like lavender!) If I ever get to go back, I’m going to take a tour of all things Roman 🙂

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
The side of the arch.

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, provence, france, carpentras, vaucluse, architecture, travel, travelling, french tourism, avignon, whimsy bower, history, photography, aspasiasbissas.com
Palais de Justice (back view). You can see the Roman arch at the bottom, right.

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Carpentras also produces a local specialty called Berlingots:

Visiting Provence: Carpentras, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

They were invented by a candy maker who wanted to find a way to use the syrup left over from making candied fruit. Now Carpentras is known for them– make sure to pick some up if you ever get the chance.

What’s a favourite place you’ve visited? Share in the comments…

Want to read more about France? Download my FREE story Tooth & Claw, set in early 1900s Marseille, and inspired by a true story (did I mention there are also vampires?)

Tooth & Claw, free short story by Aspasia S. Bissas

 Smashwords Barnes & Noble Kobo Apple Books

 

Note: All photos in this post (other than the one of the Berlingots) are © Aspasía S. Bissas. They were originally shared on my other blog Whimsy Bower (click to see more photos there).

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Welcome to Vancouver

0 welcome

Since travelling is off the table for the foreseeable future, I thought I’d share some photos from a past trip. I was lucky enough to visit beautiful Vancouver on Canada’s west coast back in April 2018. If you ever have the chance to go, I highly recommend it. Mountains, ocean, gorgeous gardens, good coffee, friendly people. Some take issue with all the rain Vancouver tends to get, but I found it cozy (I also noticed it tended to clear up by early afternoon on most days anyway). I hope I can go back again– there was so much I didn’t get to see last time (like whales!)

These were taken in the north end of downtown Vancouver and the Gastown neighbourhood. Vancouver has one of the only steam clocks in the world.

0 tower0 steam clock0 mountain0 building

I got these shots (and the “Welcome to Vancouver” sign) on the way to Stanley Park…  Continue reading “Welcome to Vancouver”

Did You Know…?

Did You Know...? Blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

The Canadian House of Commons Chamber (modelled after the British Chamber in Westminster) was built so that “The distance across the floor of the House between the government and opposition benches is 3.96 metres, said to be equivalent to two swords’ length.” The reasoning behind this was to prevent duels between members of opposing parties.

Distancing: saving lives since 1866*!

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

*Or, 1801, when the British House of Commons was originally built (Westminster itself has been around since 1016).