Saturday, July 07, 2012

Abbaye de Senanque and the Lavender Fields

While in Provence last year Sarah WimperisRobyn Sinclair and I visited the Abbaye de Sénanque which is very famous for its lavender fields.  I exited the gift shop weighed down with lavender products!

Abbaye de Senanque and the Lavender Fields (19th June 2011)
11.5" x 16", pen and ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook
© Katherine Tyrrell
We knew we might be too early for the lavender and so we were.

Below you can see a view of what the abbey looks like from the road up above - as we travelled there from Gordes.  It was just beginning to bloom in the field further away from the Abbey carrying blooms but the lavender right next to the abbey was yet to bloom.

Abbaye de Senanque and the Lavender Fields
Abbaye de Senanque and the Lavender Fields from above - Sunday 19th June 2011
Here also is a photo of Robyn hard at work on her watercolour painting of the abbey.  She and I nabbed the only shady spot we could find.  This gives you an idea of what I was sketching.

Robin Sinclair and "the red chair" at Senanque
We went back a week later to see how the lavender had progressed and this is what we found.  The colour of brand new lavender is quite something!

Lavender in flower
Lavender at Senanque - 6 days later on June 25th
The Abbaye de Sénanque

The Abbey of Our Lady of Sénanque is a good example of early Cistercian architecture.  It was founded in 1148 and is remarkably intact for a church which is very nearly a 1,000 years old.

It comprises the twelfth century abbey church, cloister, chapter house, the heating and the old dormitory. This is a link to a Romanesque website which provides a gallery of images of the abbey.

It is also home to an active community of Cistercian monks. Seven times a day, the community of Cistercian monks gather in the church to pray - this is called The Liturgy of the Hours.

The monks grow lavender and produce lavender honey by keeping honey bees in order to generate income for their church and their livelihood.


This is a link to the location of Sénanque Abbey on Google Maps


If you want to visit the Abbaye, beware it is down steep winding roads and can be very busy with tourists.  I'd very much recommend visiting at the beginning or the end of the day.  I didn't visit the church because it was so busy and because I wanted to sketch it.

Guided tours for individuals are available but they are in french and last about an hour - and you cannot leave before the end.  It's possible to go round as an individual but only when it's not crowded - which is not often.

The timing for guided tours at different times of the year is available on the abbey website.

1 comment:

  1. This looked such a lovely place to visit and paint...bliss.


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