26 January, 2023
With love from le Midi: Five charming villages to visit in the South of France
11 April, 2023
9 May, 2023
Few European places offer a more enchanting (or aromatic) photo backdrop than the Provence lavender fields. If you venture to this region just north of the Côte D'Azur in the summer, you're almost guaranteed to be greeted by lush blankets of purple-hued lavender.
Wandering around the region's eye-catching hills, it may seem like these beautiful blooms have been a part of the landscape for eternity. In fact, the Romans brought this fragrant flower to the South of France around 2000 years ago. Thanks to Provence's wonderfully balmy climate and perfect soil conditions, the plant thrived and became one of the key flowers used in Grasse's prestigious perfumes, along with sweet-smelling roses and aromatic jasmine.
Today, the lavender in Provence attracts people from around the globe with its intoxicating scent and effortlessly photogenic appearance. If you like the sound of soaking up these exquisite scenes, a lavender tour can be enjoyed as part of your villa getaway in Provence.
Visiting the French lavender farms is a truly unmissable experience. You'll find them scattered around the region's charming countryside, with many nestled close to quaint medieval villages which seem frozen in time.
You can get up close to these blooms in dozens of places on a self-guided driving tour. You could also plan your trip to coincide with one of the Provence lavender festivals. These unique events allow you to delve deeper into the history of this extraordinary plant and even pick up some artisan goods made from its delightful petals.
The region is vast, so it's worth picking out a few specific spots to visit. From well-known locales to lesser-known gems, here we shine a light on a handful of places you can visit individually or as part of a lavender tour of Provence, France.
The Luberon Valley at the heart of Provence is a brilliant place to explore if you're after a more traditional lavender field experience. The area is authentically rustic, with countless chocolate box villages interspersed with vibrant fields brimming with blooms.
Drive through the valley and look for lavender fields to visit, which sit alongside olive groves and ancient vineyards. Luberon is also where you'll find the Notre-Dame de Senanque: a 12th-century Cistercian monastery that's tucked away among several acres of stunning French lavender farms.
If you're visiting in July, ask your dedicated concierge to arrange places on the lavender tour at Chateaux du Bois. The impressive 16th-century castle is situated within its lavender fields and has a boutique store selling a range of soaps, beauty products and edible treats (including lavender honey).
The Valensole lavender fields are among the most photographed in the South of France. This vast region stretches out for over 100 square kilometres and has one of the highest concentrations of French lavender fields, so you'll come across plenty of great photo opportunities.
With so much surface area to cover, you might be wondering which fields in Valensole to head for first. The town of Valensole is a beautiful place to begin a lavender tour. The picturesque town is surrounded by countless lush farms (including those featuring other picture-perfect crops) and is also the location of one of the best Provence lavender festivals.
The nearby village of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon is another scenic spot to view the lavender. For a particularly romantic experience, arrive at dusk to watch the sunset dramatically over thefine lavender fields. The kaleidoscope of colour from the sky and the flowers is breathtaking.
For a late summer lavender tour of Provence, you're best off making a beeline for the Sault Plateau. It sits just east of the medieval city of Avignon and is home to some of the highest-altitude lavender farms in Provence.
Due to its cooler climate, the fields are generally harvested in mid or late August, giving you a few extra weeks to enjoy the verdant landscape. A charming way to admire it is by walking along the dedicated Lavender Trail (or Chemin des Lavandes), which weaves around the fields for just over five kilometres, starting from the car park at Vallon Des Lavandes distillery.
The town of Sault is a classic example of a traditional Provençal settlement and sits right in the centre of the fields. Stop off for lunch at one of the countryside bistros or detour into Avignon to stroll across its landmark bridge stretching over the meandering River Rhône.
For a French lavender experience off the beaten path, make your way to Ventoux on the northern border of Provence. At the centre of the area is the towering Mont Ventoux which becomes enveloped in a cloud of purple during the peak summer months.
While you could visit a local lavender farm to immerse yourself in the area's blooms, hiking up the peak is also a hugely rewarding experience. You don't even need to climb too far up to be able to soak up sweeping views of patchwork fields as far as the eye can see. Ventoux sits a short hop away from the Sault Plateau, meaning you can tick off both destinations on the same day.
The Provence French lavender season is relatively fleeting, lasting for just a few weeks in the summer. Book your Provence villa vacation between late June and early August for the best chance of seeing – and smelling – these fabulous flowers.
Most of thelavender farms in Provence begin harvesting by mid to late August, so you'll most likely have missed the boat if you plan a trip in September. Nevertheless, this is still a splendid month to visit: with fewer crowds and cooler, yet still balmy, weather this is the perfect time to relax and enjoy the local culture. You can spend a week leisurely hopping between picture-perfect villages featuring gourmet French restaurants and some of Europe's top vineyards.
One of the most atmospheric ways to experience the lavender fields in Provence is to attend a festival. There are several of these to pick from, including the Valensole Lavender Festival.
Perhaps the largest in the region, Valensole Lavender Festival typically takes place on the third Sunday of July each year. Throughout the day, you'll have the chance to wander around the town's lavender and sunflower fields. The town's distilleries (where they turn the petals into oils) also open their doors to offer free tours and sell their sensational products.
Elsewhere, the town of Ferrassières, not far from the Luberon Plateau, hosts a lively festival in early July to celebrate the start of the Provence lavender season. Rather attend an event in August? The Sault Lavender Festival allows you to walk through the town's fields, meet the locals, and sample delicious culinary treats. For the full experience, you can even savour a gourmet lunch beneath the ancient oak trees in the Bois du Defends located on the edge of the lavender farms.
As well as fields upon fields of flowers, you'll find Provence awash with farms and specialist distilleries where you can buy all kinds of luxury, lavender-scented treats. From high-quality essential oils to infused soaps and even edible delicacies, plenty of divine products are on offer.
Some of the best Provence lavender farms with shops include the organic Distillerie des Agnels and La Ferme de Gerbaud near Sault. You'll find that many farms are also open all year round, meaning you could pick up some lovely local lavender products outside of the peak visiting season.
To get to grips with the history of lavender growing in the region, it's worth attending a lavender tour. Many farms in Provence offer guided tours of their grounds, where you'll learn more about growing, harvesting and processing the blooms.
A particularly great spot for tours is the Museum of Lavender in Cabrières-d'Avignon. As well as housing exhibits on Provence's centuries-old farming history, they also offer tours of the surrounding farms and have a fantastic gift shop where you can buy lots of lavender-infused souvenirs.
Inhaling the sweet scent of lavender is simple when you book one of our splendid villas in Provence. In addition to providing a gorgeous base for exploring this picturesque region, you'll also benefit from our personalised concierge service. Whether you want to book a private chef for a special dinner in your villa or you'd like us to organise a private tour of the best lavender fields in Provence, we'll ensure your experience of this superb destination is as memorable as possible. All you need to remember is to pack your camera.
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