A Guide to Visiting the Lavender Fields in Provence
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A Guide to Visiting the Lavender Fields in Provence

All You Need to know about why lavender is so special beyond the insta photo– as well as when, where and how experience it while visiting Provence.

For travelers seeking an immersive experience with nature’s poetry, there’s no better way to indulge the senses than by exploring Provence’s mesmerizing landscape where lavender reigns supreme. From June to August, the countryside bursts into a kaleidoscope of purple hues as lavender fields stretch as far as the eye can see, gently swaying in the Provencal breeze. Click here to read our article on “Provence in Bloom – When to Visit.”

With the refreshing recent focus on health and wellness we are now sensing a growing desire on behalf of our rental clients to go beyond just snapping that perfect instagram photo. Visitors to Provence want to understand the true secrets of this magical flower through immersive custom made tours and experiences. As an agency passionate about sharing all we know about Provence, we wanted to help you have the most authentic experience with lavender on your next visit.

The Therapeutic Gifts of Lavender…it’s almost endless

Let’s start with the basics– what what makes lavender so special? Beyond its picturesque appeal, lavender boasts a rich history and a myriad of therapeutic properties, making lavender essential oil now one of the most popular and versatile essential oils on the market. Known for its calming aroma and medicinal benefits, it has been cherished for centuries as a symbol of purity and relaxation.  But beyond its aid for stress, anxiety, and depression, lavender also boasts anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties.  And with it’s captivating scent, it has been a staple in perfumes and soaps, creams and cosmetic products.  Let’s just say that this little flower isn’t just pretty to look at–she’s a powerhouse of traits to behold.

Lavandin vs Lavender – there’s a difference. Without going too deep down a rabbit hole here, know that there are while lavandin and true lavender share similarities in appearance and fragrance, they are distinct botanical species with differences in cultivation, fragrance profile, and applications. Lavandin is often preferred for commercial cultivation due to its higher yield and hardier nature. It is commonly grown for its essential oil, which is used in perfumery, aromatherapy, and household products. True lavender, on the other hand, is cultivated primarily for its essential oil and for culinary and medicinal purposes.

Go Deeper – Custom Lavender Tours

One of the best ways to learn about all of these beneficial elements of this plant is to witness the traditional distillation process firsthand at a local distillery.

Our favorite distillery in the region is one that oozes authenticity. Les Agnels Lavender Distillerie & Boutique – (Route de Buoux, Apt 84400) is one of the oldest, family-run producers in Provence and we urge you to visit as it takes you back in time. Enjoy a short informative tour and shop in the boutique boutique or we can arrange private custom tours that include both an in-depth overview of all things lavender plus a trip over the hill to relax and enjoy the sunset with picnic basket complete with wine and nibbles. Does it get better than this?

Book your Lavender Tours from our Experience Page. We can arrange half or full day tours focused on lavender, weaving in other elements such as hiking, biking or cooking classes.

When and Where to See Lavender Fields: Exploring Provence’s Lavender Routes

Lavender blooms between June and early August, but like anything in nature, each year can vary slightly.

In general, the areas around Sault, Valensole, and the Luberon are covered in shades of purple and are a must-visit for their iconic landscapes and the soothing scent of lavender in the air.

Here are some of the best places to see lavender fields in Provence:

Valensole Plateau: Perhaps the most iconic lavender destination in Provence, the Valensole Plateau is vast and offers endless rows of lavender that stretch as far as the eye can see. The area is dotted with picturesque farmhouses and sunflower fields, providing perfect photo opportunities.

Sault: Located at the base of Mont Ventoux, Sault is known as the “Lavender Capital” and offers a more elevated perspective of lavender fields, which cascade down the slopes of the surrounding hills. The area celebrates its lavender heritage with an annual festival around August 15th.

Luberon Valley: The Luberon, with its charming hilltop villages like BonnieuxGordes and Roussillon, offers a patchwork of lavender fields set against a backdrop of medieval villages and rugged landscapes.  The valley down below the village of 

Bonnieux heading towards Goult is a well-known spot for picture taking. The Claparèdes plateau between Bonnieux and Saignon is also known for its vibrant display.  Stop in and visit the Lavender Distillery in “Les Agnels” to learn about the distillation process.  The Abbaye de Senanque, a 12th-century Cistercian abbey near Gordes, is also particularly famous for its picturesque lavender fields.

Plateau d’Albion: This area, less crowded than Valensole, is known for its vast expanses of lavender. It’s ideal for those seeking tranquility away from the main tourist spots.

Coussoul de Simiane-la-Rotonde: This area is known for its wild lavender fields. Simiane-la-Rotonde itself is a picturesque village worth exploring.

Vintage linen lavender filled cushions

The Culinary Delights of Lavender

Lavender isn’t just a feast for the senses in the fields of Provence; it also tantalizes the taste buds in the kitchen. Culinary enthusiasts delight in the subtle floral notes and herbal undertones of lavender, which add depth and complexity to a variety of dishes. 

From lavender-infused honey and syrups to lavender-infused salts and sugars, you will find a wide range of artisanal products that showcase this fragrant herb’s versatility, from lavender shortbread cookies or lavender-infused ice cream. For those seeking savory delights, lavender-infused oils and vinegars add a sophisticated twist to dressings, marinades, and sauces, elevating dishes with a touch of Provencal charm. Whether you’re exploring the local markets of Provence or browsing the smaller boutiques and épiceries while here, you’ll find an array of lavender-inspired culinary treasures.

Quick Tips for your Lavender-Filled Adventure

Before embarking on your lavender-filled adventure in Provence, here are a few tips to enhance your experience:

Timing is Key: Plan your visit between late June and early August to catch the lavender in full bloom.  When planning a visit to these areas, it’s a good idea to check local resources or contact local tourism offices for the exact timing of the lavender bloom, as it can vary slightly from year to year based on weather conditions. Also, consider exploring the region in the early morning or late afternoon when the light is most photogenic and the temperatures are cooler.

Be conscious of Bees:  Lavender and bees are very good friends so be aware when exploring.

Pack Essentials: Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable walking shoes for exploring the fields.  

Respect For the Fields and the Farmers: While capturing the beauty of lavender, tread lightly and remember that lavender fields are not public parks.  The fields are owned by local  farmers who harvest the flower for their livelihood.  While most do not mind visitors taking pictures, please refrain from cutting  / taking bouquets of the flower– you can get them easily at the market.

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Jumping the Picket Fence Light Through the Cracks

Only Provence co-founder Lydia Dean writes about their experiences raising a family, building a business in Provence, and later combining the love of travel with giving back in "Jumping the Picket Fence”. In 2021, she published “Light Through the Cracks,” a continuation of her journey, much of which has been based in Provence. Both books are available Amazon, Amazon.uk, and Amazon.Fr.