June 30, 2007

Exploring Provence

Free days between groups are frequently spent exploring new places. In June, we took advantage of one of these days to head up into lavender country. The lavender was just beginning to open, the poppies were finishing their season and the backroads were calling us.....the route touristique was not yet busy and one could enjoy the scenery without the hassle of traffic. This route through the gorge du Nesque is very popular with cyclists.....they definitely outnumbered cars and once at the top we see that the village is indeed full of bicycles. Hadn't been here in 7 years but nothing has changed....a favorite nougatier is still here....the artisanal butcher shop hasn't changed....there are just more cyclists.....the Gorge du Nesque is beautiful but doesn't quite match the Verdon on the other side. From here, our loop takes us to a small village above Apt where we visit a local lavender grower who produces his own lavender oil......we stock up....quarts of lavender oil....did I say 100 kilos of blossoms to produce a liter....WOW...we just bought 4 liters....

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