France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Notre-Dame de Sénanque, Gordes, France
Iconic photos of this abbey have become a symbol of Provence.




The beautiful Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque is just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Gordes, down a very narrow and windy road—the kind of road where you hope you won't meet someone coming from the other direction! But it's well worth the drive.

The abbey is surrounded by fields of lavender, and a picture of the abbey and its lavendar has become synonymous with Provence. Although we weren't able to visit in the morning, when the sun would be shining on the lavender, we could nonetheless appreciate the softer late afternoon light.

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, France  

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque and its fields of lavender.


The abbey attracts thousands of visitors, mostly armed with cameras to try to capture the iconic photo. The monks have posted signs asking people not to walk in the lavender, and we encourage you to honor their request.

The Cistercian Monastery dates from the 12th century and is still the home to a community of monks. The building includes dormitories, a church, a cloister, a warming room, and a chapter room.

Individual visits are offered (for a small fee) at certain limited hours. Proper attire is required, and visitors are asked to maintain silence. Guided visits (in French) should be booked ahead of time. The church is also open for silent prayer.

The lavender is usually harvested in late July, and the abbey sells a variety of products, including lavender oil, soap, and honey. They also have a bookstore that sells bibles, religious music, history books, etc. These sales and the visits help support the monks and maintain the abbey.

For specific information on the hours of visits, click here.


What to See & Do in Gordes

The Luberon

Hilltop Towns of the Luberon


About Provence



Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Notre-Dame de Sénanque, France

Above, Late afternoon sun on the tower of the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque.





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