Provence, the famous region of France that hosts the endless fields of lavender, invites you to a magical world where you can quietly admire a symphony of colors and enjoy sweet and delicious scents while strolling through the rows of lavender.
For lavender lovers, Provence is the destination not to be missed on a stay in France. During the summer months, the fields and hills in shades of purple in the area will offer you unforgettable views and will delight you with divine scents, outlining an idyllic, fairytale atmosphere.
Lavender cultivation in the Provence region is a true tradition that attracts thousands of tourists each year in the fields of Luberon in the south of the region. But if you want to avoid the curious crowds and enjoy the huge purple chains I invite you to read the full guide.
The French lavender fields from Provence, France
There are a lot of places in France that you can fall in love with within a second, and such an area is the most beautiful lavender fields in Provence, located in the southeast of France (between the Mediterranean Sea, the Rhône Valley, and Italy). The most important cities are Marseille, Nice, Toulon, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon.
If you have decided to spend your vacation in the Provence region and see the lavender fields, you will not regret your choice at all. Here you will find many tourist attractions:
- the old town of Avignon,
- Roman statues and monuments in Arles,
- the Roman amphitheater in Nimes,
- the city of Marseille (880,000 inhabitants),
- the Alpilles massif,
- the old capital of the province, Aix-en-Provence.
The sights listed above are definitely worth a visit, but once you arrive in the region you should not miss the Provence lavender fields, a real symbol. You will be greeted by endless fields of lavender, as you see with your eyes – only blue, purple, violet, lilac, etc. In addition, let’s not forget the scent that these plants emanate.
The name lavender comes from “washing” which means to purify, to clean; It is known that lavender and the oil extracted from it have this property in addition to many other health benefits.
Starting with June, lavender colors the hills of Provence. As I said, lavender is the “soul” of the region and you can find it from the Alps to Haute Provence. However, the best-known areas are the Vaucluse, Alpes de Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, and Drome Provencale.
Lavender is cultivated on an area of 20,000 hectares, with 2,000 individual producers and over 25,000 employees. We can say that a real industry has been created around this plant.
Lavender was brought to the Provence region 2.000 years ago by the Romans, and in the Middle Ages, it began to be used by the locals. Since the early 1900s, locals have started building distilleries, and today the Provence region can be proud to produce over 170 tons of lavender oil each year.
During the period when the lavender blooms, the landscape becomes a wonderful one, being the target of all photographers and tourists passionate about nature. In short, it becomes a place that will delight anyone.
When lavender is in bloom
I guess you don’t want to get to Provence until the atmosphere is full of the enchanting scent of the lavender flower when the hills are purple and the story frames. In order not to arrive before the lavender blooms or when it is already harvested, the best time to visit the Provence area is in mid-July.
Lavender is said to have been brought to Provence by the Romans, who used it to perfume their bath water and linen, but it was used in the Middle Ages for its medicinal and perfume properties.
With the need for raw materials for perfumeries in Grasse, in the nineteenth century, lavender plantations expanded, and today the town is visited by thousands of tourists annually, who want to explore the place of origin of French perfumery.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is one of the most precious in Provence, being quite difficult to grow because it is best grown at altitudes of over 1400 meters, is located in the mountains of Haute Provence.
Lavender essential oil is produced in over 284 municipalities, representing one of the most thriving “enterprises” in this area. However, there are few traditional distilleries, now the exploitation is mechanized and the varieties are more and more hybrid.
Lavender is also a good antiseptic and antibacterial, which can soothe insect bites. For the greedy, we recommend lavender ice cream that will surely delight the taste buds.
Where to establish your headquarters
Nature Cove Marseille
If you want to get to Provence to visit the lavender fields and you don’t know where to sleep, I recommend Marseille.
Marseille is the largest city and capital of the province and the distance from Marseille to the 2 regions Vaucluse and Valensole, is about 100-130 km on each route.
Accommodation at Hotel B&B Marseille Center in Timone is ok, except for the poor breakfast. The rooms are modern, equipped with air conditioning, and on the top floor, they also have balconies.
Price – 61 euro / night. The hotel did not have its own parking lot but you can park at a nearby Ibis. Parking cost – 12 euros / night. The location is a quiet area, close to the subway station.
Hotel address: 1-3 Chemin De l’Armee d’Afrique 13005 Marseille, tel. +33491297370
Another good option for accommodation is in Aix-en-Provence, a city located in the center of Provence and at a distance of 40 km from Marseille.
Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur
Is the region in SE France, between the Mediterranean Sea, the Rhône Valley and Italy. The region consists of 6 departments: Alpes de Haute Provence, Vaucluse, Var, Bouches du Rhone, Haute Alpes, Alpes Maritimes.
Alpes de Haute Provence
If you want to discover hills with lavender, as you see in the pictures on the internet, purple fields with distilleries, and small shops with lavender products, then you should not miss this area.
What you can see here?
- Verdun Natural Park with its canyon, Gorges du Verdon. The canyon is 25 km long and was formed by the river Verdon. At the end of the canyon, the river flows into the lake Sainte Croix du Verdon, a turquoise color you have rarely seen. The place is very popular with tourists arriving in the area, who can opt for car rides along the canyon, hike, cool off in the lake, or kayak. The terraces overlooking the lake, invite you to spend a few moments of relaxation in front of this idyllic setting. Honestly, it’s the greenest water I’ve ever seen.
- Moustiers Sainte Marie is at the top of preference if we talk about the most beautiful villages in Provence. Located hundreds of meters above the water, on a spectacular rock, with the church of Notre Dame de Beauvoir perched 300 steps away, a waterfall that passes through the houses, with dozens of boutiques selling lavender products and other souvenirs.
- L’Occitane cosmetics factory in Manosque. The visit is free but a reservation must be made in advance. Reservations can be made by phone at +330492703208 or at the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Vaucluse is home to the most beautiful villages in Provence. If you expect to find the lavender fields all the way to Avignon, well, I want to disappoint you because on your way you only find a purple patch here and there.
Further north, in the area of the city of Sault, also called the capital of lavender, purple fields reappear in the landscape. The charming Avignon host also the Avignon Festival, an open-air stage with plays, dance demonstrations, music, mascots, and animators.
What you can see here?
- The most beautiful towns and villages in Provence: the charming Gordes perched on the rock, with narrow cobbled streets
- Menerbes, the place where Picasso lived
- Lacoste with the castle of the Marquis de Sade, whose owner is now Pierre Cardin
- Lourmarin is the place where Albert Camus lived and is buried.
- Notre Dame de Senanque Abbey, near Gordes, an iconic image for Provence.
Bouches du Rhone
The department located in the SE part of Provence includes cities like Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, but especially, the Rhône Delta – Camargue, with the capital at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
Camargue, is one of the best-protected deltas in the world, being famous especially for the 3 species: black bulls, white Camargue horses, and flamingos. Over 50,000 flamingo birds live in this area.
Located in the south of France, the department includes the cities of Gap, Briancon, Embrun, Tallard, and others. Haute Alpes is rather known for its mountain resorts, but here you also can see the lavender fields in the Gap and Briancon.
Provence has inspired writers, painters, and millions of tourists who come here every year. This charming corner of the south of France is a combination of coastal cities full of energy and bizarre and very quiet villages, attracting both young people passionate about travel, but also people in retirement. In such a diverse region, planning an itinerary can be a risky mission: explore the delights of Provence from these landmarks in France and make your trip here an unforgettable experience.
Once in Provence, we recommend you to visit the farms and distilleries in the area, to see how lavender is transformed, buy souvenirs or lavender essential oils, and enjoy the view on a bike ride.
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