East of Bédoin


Lavender & The Drôme

Bédoin to Sault

The region to the east of Bédoin is the most wild and rugged and definitely the direction to head if you’re looking for tranquility and nature. The best route is via Flassan then Villes sur Auzon and then along the dramatic D942 known as the Gorges de la Nesque the dramatic road which clings to the hillside above the gorge and rises to a summit of 700m. Pause here to take in the views. The road then heads down into the village of Monieux and eventually into the lavender fields in the valley.

Viewing lavender

Glancing at any calendar or guide book from the region and you might be forgiven for thinking that the iconic mauve fields are an all year round display. Of course that’s not true. Depending on the season lavender viewing has quite a narrow window. I’m writing this in late June and after a very cold, wet Spring the flowers are only just beginning to appear. When they do the time from there to harvest is about eight weeks so, in reality, unless you’re here in July and August you’re going to miss it.


The village of Sault is the lavender capital of the region where naturally every other shop will sell you some kind of lavender derivitive. In point of fact the vast majority is bound for the aromatherapy industry mostly, so i am told, in the United States. The village itself is worth the trip up the hill. There’s a good public carpark and several excellent restaurants.

Lavender Field in the Drôme

The Drôme

The French department of the Drôme stretches to almost the hills of Beaujolais to the north, to Mt Ventoux in the south, the Ardêche to the west and the Alps to the east. This wild mountainous region is rather overlooked as a tourist destinations, playing second fiddle to areas such as the Auvergne, the Cevennes, the Pyrenees and, of course the Alps themselves. The advantage is that you tend ot have the place to yourself.

The region immediately to the east of Sault is known as the Drôme de Provence and is a great place to hike and bike and to spot local fauna and flora. My favourite route is from Sault to Sisteron via St Trinit, Ferrassières and Sederon. Along the way you will pass through the tight gorges of the river Méouges with the mountain peaks left and right and eagles soring above you. About 7kms beyond Barret-sur-Méouge there’s a great swimming spot at the Gorges de la Méouge. It’s quite easy to miss but you’ll see a layby/parking area. Park up and walk back up the road and through the gap in the wall which leads to a path to the river. There’s cascades and rock pools and lovely fresh mountain water.

If you have energy left, travel on to Sisteron and enjoy the spectacular citadelle above the river Durance.

The Drôme

The Drôme

Gorges de la Méouge