If it’s Friday, it must be France!
Friday again! It seems to come around faster every week. Ok, I got so caught up in the excitement of the literary history on the Côte D’Azur last Friday that I didn’t get to the other two subjects in my title.
So now it’s on to lavender! Last week we rented a car and drove 2-1/2 hours north to the Valensole area of Provence. We were a little late for the full lavender whammy as the harvest had begun the week before. However, as you can see from my photos, there were still many fields in bloom so we weren’t disappointed. But here’s my word of advice about that: if you want to see the incredibly beautiful effect of the lavender fields in their full glory, go the first week of July. When you open the car windows or step outside, to take way too many photos, the fragrance in the air is amazing!
Of course when you have lavender, you have bees (they’re not interested in you, by the way) and many farms have apiaries to make their own lavender honey. They also often craft their own soaps, candles, and dried lavender products. I have one word for lavender honey – DIVINE! When we popped into one small farm, they were just putting the fresh honey into jars and offered tastes with great pride. We stocked up!
I have to admit I was never a big lavender fan, although I always loved the look of the plant, but after this experience I’ve become a convert. The true fragrance is so pure and sweet. There are also the holistic and aromatherapy benefits to lavender which are many. I had a moment of wishing I still lived in a house with a garden so I could plant some myself. Maybe I’ll try a plant on my condo terrace next summer and see what happens. I did see lots of lavender in pots but suspect they had been there through many winters. Somehow I don’t think that will happen in Toronto!
When you google lavender, there’s a ton of information. You will find some really interesting sites. I’m including a video here that gives excellent information about growing your own lavender. Take a look!
Click here for the video which I couldn’t get to embed after a bizillion attempts!
And now on to lunch! We drove to the beautiful (it’s hard to find other words for these places …) village of Moustieres-Ste.-Marie which we have visited on previous trips.
In the past, we’ve had some fine meals at a small restaurant there and looked forward to another visit. Yikes! Not going to happen! There were tourists everywhere and the walk to the nearest available parking spot was better suited for a mountain goat. We drove straight through the village and tried to control our whining. Then, voila! Just a few minutes out of town we saw a most inviting sign and quickly pulled in to the Restaurant Ferme Ste.-Cecile. The setting was pastoral and the cuisine was “gastronomique”, specializing in local products and surprisingly reasonably priced. Between the main course and dessert, the chef sent out a serving of perfectly aged chèvre accompanied by a tiny bowl of lavender honey. Bonus! Don’t you love it when a disappointment turns into something unexpectedly wonderful?
Are you a fan of lavender? Do you grow it in your garden? Have you tasted lavender honey? If you have any tips to share with readers about lavender or about your own travel surprises, please add a comment. It’s always so rewarding to receive them!
Kate MacNicol says
I would love to visit the lavender fields. Thanks for taking me there today. Your pictures are wonderful. I have a lavender plant in my garden and I was surprised when it wintered over. Our weather is much like Toronto’s ( my parents live in Stratford) so perhaps you would have success with some plants in a pot. I haven’t had lavendar honey, it sounds divine. However, I did make lavendar sugar by drying the just opened flowers and mixing them in sugar. When you put the sugar in your tea the little buds open and it smells heavenly. Of course you have little flowers in the bottom of your cup but if you love lavender it doesn’t matter. LOL!
I’m glad you enjoyed your mini-virtual visit! Your lavender sugar idea sounds very sweet indeed. Thanks for sharing it and I’ll have to pass it on. A couple of my friends have lavender in their gardens in the Toronto area and it handles the winter well. That’s good news for your plant! I will try it in a pot next summer and let you know how it does. Did you grow up in Stratford?
Many thanks for your great comment.
Linda Burke says
Love your description of your trip into the countryside, the lavender, and your meal. I’ve never had any luck growing lavender, pot or ground, so I just enjoy it for the season.
In spite of the HOT, the hibiscus and geraniums are blooming abundantly. The holly bushes have berries in the trillions. Is that supposed to be a sign of a bad winter?
Thanks Linda! It sounds like your garden is growing very well. I’ll have to check on what the berries on the holly bushes signify. Plants are usually pretty good indicators of what is to come.
Kit Domino says
Lovely post and photographs. Your trips sounds delightful. I simply adore lavender and have several pots of it flanking my front path. There’s a beautiful lavender farm a short drive away from me and love it there. From shower gel to furniture polish, pot pourri and candles, everything in my house is lavender scented. I even like wearing purple! Didn’t like lavender honey but lavender ice-cream – mmmmmm delish! Such a wonderful plant with so many uses. Lavender has also featured in several of my paintings too! I suppose you could say I’m a lavender nut!
Thanks Kit – you do sound like a true fan of lavender!
jennifer tanner says
I’m finally getting around to looking at everyone else’s blogs. I’m a big lavender fan. Lavender honey sounds fabulous. I kept a lavender-filled pillow next to me after I had surgery a few years ago. It really helped with the nausea from the painkillers. Thanks for sharing your pics! It looks like you’re having a lovely holiday!
Hi Jennifer and thanks for stopping by! I’m hearing some great info about lavender from readers. It’s amazing how versatile a plant it is!
Megan Nafke says
Your photos are beautiful and your descriptions take me back to my own memories of France. I still have a lavender branch that I dried from my trip. I was surprised to find that lavender is used for so many things including inflammation. I just may have to try and grow them too. Can’t wait to see more pictures of your travels.
Thanks Megan. I’m delighted to have you join me in my travels.