Provence is enchanting year round. From the poppy fields of spring to the blooming lavender of summer, the vibrant colours of autumn and the serenity of winter, photographer Helen Leather captures the charms of Provence through the seasons and shares her favourite places…
Spring in Provence
The beautiful village of Murs is close to gorgeous Gordes and ravishing Roussillion. In spring the valleys around Murs are filled with flowers. Take a peek through the gates of the privately-owned Castle of Murs, built between the 12th and 6th century. And from the town, enjoy one of the numerous hiking trails, and in summer you will find many cyclists stopping for lunch at the Crillion Hotel.
The village of Goult is authentic and charming with a bustling center where you’ll find lots of restaurants and shops. After lunch, walk to the top of the village where you will find a fabulous old windmill.
Tarascon is a vibrant, colourful little town, close to Saint-Remy-de-Provence, it’s well worth a detour and has a beautifully preserved castle overlooking the River Rhone.
Summer in Provence
Bonnieux is one of my favourite villages in the Luberon. It has something for everyone: vineyards, old farm houses, antique shops, lavender fields in July, and great cycle routes around the village. From Bonnieux you can look across the valley to Lacoste, another magical village well worth visiting.
Fontaine de Vaucluse is beautiful year-round, but when the temperatures soar in the Vaucluse, it’s great to visit the springs and have a picnic. There are many beautiful spots to sit, relax, eat, drink, and read. The spring is the largest in France, and one of the largest in the world.
One of the treats in Fontaine de Vaulcluse is the traditional paper mill where you can watch paper being made using traditional methods.
The view from the old village of Bonnieux to the new church at the bottom of the hill. In summer, night-time classical music concerts take place at the magnificent old cathedral atop the village in the evenings.
Autumn in Provence
The Café de France is an iconic café in L’Isle sur la Sorgue, perfect for people watching or resting after a day in the market.
L’Isle sur la Sorgue, built around a series of waterways, is most famous for the number of antique shops (the most of anywhere in France outside of Paris). On Sundays the village centre is bustling with the weekly market where you will find traditional clothing and homewares as well as numerous raconteurs selling “antique” finds, not to be confused with the treasures in the antique shops.
I love to visit Saignon and to climb the “Rock of Saignon” to take in the panoramic view of the Lubeon and watch the sun set. It is truly amazing, I recommend you take a bottle of champagne and a couple of glasses and go up and enjoy the view. The climb up is not as bad as it looks! The village has several restaurants and many beautiful houses like this one on the village square. There’s also a lovely fountain in the centre of the village and a beautiful the 12th century Romanesque church.
Winter in Provence
The view from my window over the valley. Every day brings another magical view. The most beautiful time is in winter when the mornings are cloaked in mist – just magical.
See more of Helen’s amazing Provence photographs at: French Fascination on Instagram
More on Provence
Roman Provence – some of the best sites for roman history
5 beautiful hill top villages in Provence
How to spend one day in Provence