The Abbey Notre-Dame de Senanque was tucked into the Luberon hills.
Driving around winding roads through the countryside we began to
wonder if we were going to ever arrive. Then around a curve we spotted the abbey surrounded by a field of lavender.
Quoting from Rick Steves travel book:
"This still-functioning and beautifully situated Cistercian abbey was built in 1148 as a back-to-basics reaction to the excesses of Benedictine abbeys. The Cistercians strove to be separate from the world, and to recapture the simplicity, solitude, and poverty of the early Church. To succeed required industrious self-sufficiency-a skill that these monks had. Their movement spread and colonized Europe with a new form of Christianity. By 1200, there were more than 500 such monasteries and abbeys in Europe."
The industrious monks today make lavender products from their surrounding fields. It was past the time of lavender production and the plants had been trimmed into round balls waiting to again produce beautiful lavender next year.
Walking around the grounds was very peaceful.
I did happen upon vespers being sung in the chapel and enjoyed some moments of quiet listening.