Sénanque Abbey (Wikipedia / Official Website) (Occitan: abadiá de Senhanca, French: Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque) is a Cistercian abbey near the village of Gordes in the département of the Vaucluse in Provence, France.
It was founded in 1148 under the patronage of Alfant, bishop of Cavaillon, and Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona, Count of Provence, by Cistercian monks who came from Mazan Abbey in the Ardèche. Temporary huts housed the first community of impoverished monks. By 1152 the community already had so many members that Sénanque was able to found Chambons Abbey, in the diocese of Viviers.
If you Google a popular search phrase like “Lavender Provence” it is almost guaranteed that one of the first photos you will see will be of the lavender fields in front of this monastery. You can enjoy the lavender in the Summer months, which is the best time to visit.
Most of these photos are taken directly from the parking lot near the monastery, so you don’t have to climb a mountain or jump from an airplane in order to enjoy this view.
We were here in late October so no lavender for us, but it is still a good place to visit, especially if you are around Gordes.
2. A quick overview of the grounds and of the dress-code.
3. The short path to the monastery from the parking lot. The lavender is on the right over the fence.
4. The monastery is conveniently situated in a small valley surrounded by hills.
6. The building on the right is a bookstore and gift shop. Here you can buy books, souvenirs, chocolate and numerous things made out of lavender.
10. Under the wall on the left there is a table with some vegetables, I think they were put up for sale.
11. A very clean and minimalist interior.
This is a beautiful and relaxing place to visit. I would put aside 60-90 minutes for a complete visit. We were here in late October and there were a few tourist buses in the parking lot, as well as about ~30 cars. I think that during Summer the place is crawling with tourists.
These photos were taken on 22nd of October 2016.