In early summer, from June to August, the Provence landscape transforms into a remarkable sea of purple. Fragrant lavender fields can be seen popping up everywhere in the region. Picture it: rows upon rows of purple forming mosaics across the stunning countryside. And their relaxing, earthy scents delicately mix and float within the salty Mediterranean Sea air. Being one of the flowers that undoubtedly represents Provence, it truly is a sight to see, and scent to behold! From your Parc du Cap residence, the fields can be explored as part of a day trip with the family. So, what else do you need to know about this splendid flora?
A historic Provençal fragrance
The calming flower has a long history starting with the Romans who used lavender to store linens and perfume baths. Since then, and due to favourable climatic conditions, growth of the plant accelerated, and soon distilleries appeared. Almost overnight, an industry began. As a result, it has become one of the most famous crops of the region, along with poppies and sunflowers. However, lavender not only holds significant importance for the people of Provence, but also attracts international visitors. Many come here to enjoy the festivals and to purchase lavender products such as oils, perfumes, soaps and honey. These are perfect to fill your Parc du Cap homes with calming scented aromas.
There are three main areas to appreciate the vibrant displays of lavender across the region: Luberon, Sault and Valensole Plateau. The differing altitude of the regions will dictate at what point the flowers bloom. So, throughout the summer months you can always find different locations to visit in the various impressive lavender growing regions.
The expansive Valensole Plateau
Just over a two-hour drive north of Antibes will take you to the picturesque Plateau de Valensole. To clarify, this is one of the most famous lavender growing areas of the area. This is also known as the lavender capital of the region. Located high in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, at an altitude of 500m, Plateau de Valensole covers a vast area of 800km². Here, expect dozens of purple popping fields, framed by sunflowers, gently unfurling down the hills.
A great spot to visit is Lavandes Angelvin, a working lavender farm, distillery and shop. The uninterrupted views of lavender against perfectly placed trees, deep blue lakes and quaint villages. After that, why not explore the pretty village of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon and the charming 11th century St Blaise church?
Celebrating at Sault’s lavender festival
The next stop on the tour of Provence’s lavender fields could take you to Sault. Perched on a hilltop ridge, with forest on one side and rolling valley on the other, Sault is a spectacle. In fact, the medieval village holds the region’s most popular lavender festival which falls on the 15th August each year. Further, around this village, built into the hills of the Vaucluse region, there is a 5km path through the finest fields. Following these guided routes by foot or bike, you can easily enjoy some of the best lavender fields in Provence. That is to say, seemingly endless lines of uniformed purple shades and delicate fragrances – one after the other.
While here, why not visit the department’s well-known vineyard, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, to enjoy a delicious glass of local wine! And perhaps to take a few bottles home.
Violet vistas at Luberon Valley
The Luberon mountains are the ideal backdrop for fields punctuated with purple, golden wheat or vibrant sunflowers. The area is a favourite amongst locals, with its hilltop villages and beautiful scenery. Exploring the lavender fields here will also allow you to visit some magical medieval villages at the same time. Their narrow, cobbled streets will no doubt be decorated in the calming scented lavender flower. Between the picturesque lavender fields here, you will most certainly find vineyards and olive groves. In fact, the area is famed for its rosé wines.
A highlight you will come across whilst driving the lavender routes is The Abbey of Sénanque. The 12th century monastery provides a unique backdrop to the rows of perfected purple lavender. In addition, The Châteaux du Bois is absolutely worth visiting. This lavender estate is a flourishing 350-hectare estate, with 110 hectares of vibrant lavender fields. It is situated at a height of 1100 meters and grows some of the finest lavender. Moreover, the estate is also known for producing quality organic cosmetics using the fragrant flowers.
To sum up, this time of year presents a fantastic opportunity to explore the winding scenic routes leading to farmlands painted in vibrant violet blooms. Whilst some of the lavender festivals may still be postponed until 2022, witnessing the magnificent purple flower is highly recommended. For more information, please contact our concierge who will be happy to assist.
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