Where to go to see the lavender fields in the South of France? And when is the best time to visit Provence? Those are essential questions. Everyone dreams of seeing the lavender fields waving under the golden sun.
Lavender is the purple gold of Provence and one of the region’s most popular attractions. But where to find the most beautiful lavender fields? Here is my guide for a road trip through the flaming purple fields.
Lavender fields Provence best time to visit
The lavender fields of Provence begin to bloom in June. So by the end of the month, most of the region’s lavender will be in bloom. The fields peak in early to mid-July. The higher the field’s elevation, the later the lavender will bloom.
However, not all lavender fields in Provence bloom at the same time. That is why I recommend checking if the fields are really in bloom in the area, you will visit.
- The Luberon and the Rhone valley fields start to bloom around mid-June.
- The Provencal fields of the Drome and the Valensole plateau begin to bloom in early July.
- The fields in and around Sault begin to bloom in mid-July.
- They all have different flowering and harvesting periods. It all depends on the altitude, the climate, and the variety of lavender. If you come a little too early or too late in the season, don’t worry! Take a drive around the area, and you’re sure to find another field of this fascinating purple lavender.
Generally, the best time to visit Provence to discover this colorful and fragrant lavender is between late June and late July. If you don’t like crowds and prefer the feeling of being alone in the world, like me, go before mid-July.
Valensole lavender fields
Lavender farms and distilleries are scattered throughout the Valensole region and welcome you to visit their fields. Many sell their own lavender products from Provence such as essential oils, scented waters, soaps, and, if you are lucky, lavender ice cream!
One of my favorite fields is located along Route d’Oraison. Still, you can find many others between the villages of Riez, Valensole, and Forcalquier.
The plateau of Valensole is the most visited and most famous place to see the lavender fields, but it is not the only one. Here is the list of the most beautiful places to photograph the lavender fields:
- Gordes: the most beautiful spot is at the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sananque,
- Sault: on 5km at the foot of the Mont Ventoux, the lavender fields of Sault are more concentrated than those of Valensole,
- Rustrel: known for the famous Colorado Provençal
- Coustellet: it is in the Château du Bois that you can find the lavender fields.
What to do on the plateau of Valensole?
Take pictures! All tourists come to visit the plateau of Valensole to photograph the blue flower from all its angles. So, I even spent a good part of the day capturing each row of lavender and admiring the work of the bees. The smell of the flowers is incredible and makes the moment magical.
To reassure you: the bees are not supposed to sting you! They are too busy foraging to worry about us but don’t bother them.
Please respect the lavender fields and their owners: do not trample or pick the blue flowers. You can buy small bouquets in the distilleries. I purchased my in a small hypermarket on the road.
Best lavender fields Provence
- Vercors, Diois and Drôme Provençale. The first area extends from Crest to the Baronnies, passing through Die and Rosans. In Drôme Provençale, the lavender region goes from Montélimar to Nyons, including the beautiful villages of Dieulefit, Grignan and Valréas. The flowering of lavender begins in mid-June around Crest and in the Drôme provençale. It ends at the end of July – the beginning of August in the highest areas of the Diois.
- Hills and mountains (Drôme, Vaucluse, Alpes de Haute-Provence). Among the villages, we can mention Vaison-la-Romaine, Nyons, Buis-les-Baronnies, Orpierre and Rosans.
- Ventoux, Luberon and Lure mountain (Vaucluse, Alpes de Haute-Provence). Magnificent route that crosses Provence from Carpentras to Forcalquier, passing through Gordes, Apt, Simiane-la-Rotonde and Banon. It blooms at the end of June around Apt and until the beginning of August in the Pays de Forcalquier.
- From Valensole to the Grasse hinterland (Alpes de Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes). Also, the region includes the Valensole plateau, the Digne area (Mézel and Barrême). The Haut-Verdon around Castellane and the Grasse hinterland, around the perfume capital. Lavender blooms at the end of June in Valensole and until the beginning of August in the Haut-Verdon.
Lavender fields itinerary
Assuming that you will be driving from Paris, I suggest you start visiting the lovely village of Roussilon, considered one of the most beautiful towns in France. You can see the rock formations in the Ochre Valley, which made an incredible impression on me.
So, the next stop is Gordes, rising picturesquely on a rocky hill, surrounded by vineyards, lavender, and wheat fields. Just a few kilometers away is the Abbey of Sananque, surrounded by a beautiful field of lavender.
The monastery, built-in 1148, can be visited (inside, there is also an interesting souvenir store). But the lavender growing around it is fenced with a high wall, and access to the abbey grounds is forbidden. So you can take pictures of the abbey, but the chances are rather slim to photograph yourself here against the background of the purple fields.
The next town is Coustellet, where besides the purple fields, there is the Lavender Museum and Bonnieux. And the famous plateau de Boux – vast fields of lavender with a picturesque view of the mountains.
While visiting Provence, you cannot forget about Aix en Provence, the city of fountains – in many of them, you can drink water from hot springs. You can head to Valensole and prepare for the most beautiful lavender views.
Lavender and its varieties
Lavender has many varieties, which are characterized by different features. Thus, we distinguish between:
True lavender (Lavande fine) usually grows at an altitude of 700-800 m. It is a species resistant to the mountain climate changes of dry Provence. It is cultivated primarily for its essential oil (one hectare of lavender yields 15-20 kg of essential oil). Indeed, its fragrance is fresh, lively and much appreciated in the perfume and cosmetic industry. After drying, the flowers are still violet. So, it looks excellent in bouquets. The most popular varieties: are Lavendula Angustifolia, Lavendula Officinalis.
Lavandin (Lavandin) – a more spreading and faster-growing variety. These varieties are hybrids. They grow mainly on lowlands up to 600 m above sea level and make up 90% of all crops because they are less demanding. Besides, lavandin is used primarily in the cosmetic industry: to make soaps and washing-up liquids. Lavandin has a sharper and more intense scent, and when dried, the flowers fade and are more blue than purple.
A hectare of this variety yields as much as 60 to 150 pounds of essential oil because it has a richer inflorescence. When you look through all the beautiful pictures of lavender halves on the internet, it is mostly lavandin. Varieties: Lavendula intermedia or hybrida.
Every year in many towns of Provence, the so-called Festival of Lavender (Fête de la Lavande), or in other words, a harvest festival. This is an excellent opportunity to try and buy local lavender delicacies and products directly from the producers.
You can find honey, candies, cookies, sausages (also with lavender!), oils, soaps, and bags with dried lavender and lavender bouquets there. Besides, this event is accompanied by various additional attractions, from demonstrations of lavender cutting through multiple parades.
You can also learn about how the plant is grown and how it is used. The festival usually takes place at the end of the lavender season and is very popular. You can meet on it real crowds because every year attracts about 25 000 people! But for the prevailing climate, it is worth the trip.
There is no fixed date for this event, and each town celebrates it on different dates. This is related to the various times of the lavender harvest. Furthermore, in some places, the harvest begins in the first half of July, and in others, only in early August.
The most popular Lavender Festivals in Provence are:
The Lavender Festival in Valensole – is held on the third Sunday in July. Then in Valensole, there are parades in traditional folk costumes, parades of washerwomen, shows of lavender cutting, there is also a market where you can buy various local products, you can take a ride in a carriage
Lavender Festival in Salut – held every year on August 15th. It is celebrated every pompously in the capital of lavender as Salut is called. This event is accompanied by many attractions, such as painting exhibitions, a lavender market, a book fair, and a parade of old tractors.
French championship in cutting with a sickle, parades of Provencal folk groups, and performances of music bands, you can also buy regional products and souvenirs.
Lavender Festival in Ferrassières – held annually on the first Sunday in July. Lavender on the Albion plateau is in full bloom, and the festival does not mean the end of the lavender season.
This event is accompanied by the villagers’ demonstrations of lavender cutting with a sickle. A parade of old tractors, an exhibition of traditional agricultural equipment, a demonstration of lavender distillation, horse and carriage rides, guided tours of the lavender fields, and a market where local products can be purchased.
The village also organizes a national lavender essences and essential oils competition in the autumn.
Where to stay in Provence?
France is the most visited tourist destination in Europe and in the world. We can find there both budget hotels and accommodation and extremely luxurious hotels. In connection with this spread of prices is vast. However, we must remember that France is quite an expensive country.
I usually use the popular booking.com search engine during my travels. I chose Valensole as a base. I stayed in the guest house, which has affordable prices. The rooms were simply furnished and clean, and I didn’t need anything else.
You should also have no problem finding accommodation in one of the many towns in Provence, but the prices are not the lowest.
I hope I have helped you prepare for your trip. If you have any additional questions, feel free to write!
Have a great trip!
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