A picture discovered on the Internet many years ago made me put Provence area as a priority on my TO SEE in a lifetime list.
Notre Dame de Senanque is an iconic image of Provence, France. The old Cistercian abbey was one of the main objectives to visit during the four days spent in this area. I saw so many pictures with this majestic building, beige, surrounded by lavender fields that I just waited for the day when we plan to visit the Vaucluse region, looking for the most beautiful villages in Provence.
We left Gordes and just 4 km away, we would discover from above, the wonderful construction. God, what a picture! We stayed for a few minutes to admire it from the point where we parked the car and walked down the alley that led to the abbey, placed in the middle of the forest. The location is impressive and from above, it looks more interesting, like a perfect picture, a wonderful “Landscape of Provence”.
Unfortunately, because the home plan does not always match with the one at the fair, the access to the back yard was closed. We walked beside the outer walls from where we could admire the whole complex, the building with impressive arches, but also the lavender yard where I always dreamed to walk in. Inside the church, I was fascinated by the simplicity of the building, a romantic architectural masterpiece.
About Notre Dame de Senanque Abbey
It was founded under the patronage of Alfamt, bishop of Cavaillon and Ramon Bergenguer II, Count of Provence, in 1148, by the Cistercian monks who arrived from the Mazan martyr in Ardeche.
The abbey was made according to the rules of the Cistercian order, as simple and sober as possible, without adornments and decorations, with arches and columns in simple forms. Nothing that could have distract them from obedience was added to the construction.
Today, the monks living here cultivate lavender and grow bees. Those in search of spiritual retreat can arrange a stay at the monastery. You can stay there maximum 8 days and the nightly cost is 30 euros. Certain rules must be respected, including:
- The meal is served in peace
- The personal car cannot be used during the stay to visit the surroundings
- The monks are open to spiritual discussions with their guests.
Contact: 00 33 (0) 188.8.131.52.92 (between 9:00 and 11:30, 14:00 and 17:00)
More details, here
How do you get here?
From Coustellet, take the direction of Gordes, D900. After entering Gordes, on the left side, follow Venasque on D177. The abbey is 4 km away.
GPS Coordinates: 43.931533, 5.189041
Access Ticket Prices
7.5 euros – adults
3,5 euro for children between 6 and 17 years old
Free for children under 6 years old