“Lavender is the soul of Provence” ~ Jean Giono, author of The Man Who Planted Trees (A quick 4000 word short story you will enjoy.)
It’s that time of year again in France! Lavender season is at its peak. I was never an avid fan of the scent until my husband and I drove up through the lavender fields a number of years ago so … no surprise here … I could take photos. When we opened the car door and stepped out, we were enveloped in a calming fragrance that was both intense and delicate. I wish I could add that to these photos, but I hope somehow the magic of it comes through.
Small growers and private gardens create patchwork quilt views through the countryside.
Where there is lavender, there will be bees. Delicious honey is one of the many offshoots of lavender production. Try it with goat cheese or in a salade de chèvre chaud. Yum!
Explore the back roads and stop in to buy from local producers.
The Cistercian monks of the 12th century Abbaye de Sénanque continue the ancient tradition in an isolated valley near Gordes. It’s a “must” stop on the lavender trail.
Visit early in the morning to avoid tour buses and find the best light for your photos.This photo was taken early in the season, about two weeks before the peak of glorious color.
And other times, the fields seem to go as far as the eye can see. It’s almost hypnotizing.
A visit to the Musée de la Lavande in the hameau de Coustellet, near Avignon, is advised and guided tours are available in seven languages. Learn the difference between lavender and lavandin and the way they are grown and used. Discover the natural benefits of the essential oil produced and be sure to inspect the collection of stills dating back to the 16th century.
Of course, if you aren’t in the neighbourhood at this time of year, local markets will always have plenty of lavender products to tempt you year round.
Are you a lavender fan? Do you grow it in your garden? To see more information about the plant’s history, what to do with it and where to find it in France, including maps, click here.