From June to Provence put on a purple coat with a delicious scent. From Vercors to Verdon, the lavender fields are in bloom. The opportunity to admire sumptuous landscapes, but also to discover a culture, in every sense of the word: that of lavender, a long Provençal history. Happiness for the senses.
Lavender and Provence, a long history
In Provence, the deep blue of the Mediterranean echoes the violet ocean of the lavender fields of the hinterland. But lavender in Haute-Provence cannot be reduced to sumptuous postcard landscapes.
It is also of heritage that these plants speak to us, whose flowering only lasts a few weeks, from June to August. The memory of lavender and its 2 growers can be discovered along the roads that crisscross the region, from Vercors to Verdon, passing through the Baronnies and the Lubéron.
Cultivated at the time of the Romans to perfume the baths and the linen, lavender appeared in Provence in the Middle Ages for its olfactory and medicinal virtues. But it was in the XNUMXth century that the cultivation of this flower developed. The perfumeries of Grasse then use the essential oil of fine lavender to develop their elixirs.
Lavender for all
Difficult to cultivate, growing between 500 meters and 1 meters on the sunny slopes of the mountains of Haute-Provence, the fine lavender is the noblest of flowers. Its essential oil, the most refined, has obtained the AOC “Haute-Provence essential oil”. It is more and more supplanted by the washin, a hybrid between true lavender and asp lavender, a more voluminous plant with a higher essential oil yield, but of lower olfactory quality.
There are fewer and fewer traditional lavender distilleries, whose operation has become mechanized. However, there are still a few family businesses in the region, where lavender is marketed in many forms (sachets, essences, ice cream, cakes, honey, etc.).
Besides perfumery, lavender is used for its medicinal virtues : antiseptic and bactericidal, it calms insect bites. In infusion, it has an anxiolytic and relaxing effect. Gourmets will learn with pleasure that it is also available in the form of ice cream, cream, honey or small cookies.
The different regions and the blooms
When to admire the lavender fields?
Between flowering and June to July. A word of advice: call the local tourist offices to inquire about the state of flowering.
RéProvence, from the DrôMaritimes via Vaucluse and the Alpes de Haute-Provence. Let us point out the excellent ones route Vercors, Diois and Drôjuin around Crest and Drô dé Hills and mountains (DrôProvence) : among the villages repèla-Romaine, Nyons, Buis-les-Baronnies, Orpierre and Rosans. Lavender blooms at the end of June in the Buë Ventoux, LubéProvence) : magnificent course which crosses Provence from Carpentras to La-Rotonde and Banon. Flowering at From Valensole to Grasse (Alpes de Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes) : the réVerdon around Castellane and the backcountry of Grasse, around the capital of perfume. Lavender blooms in Verdon.
Our favorite: the Valensole plateau
On this vast plateau, between the valleys of the Verdon, the Bléone and the Durance, the lavender fields at the peak of flowering take on the appearance of vast purple seas, pierced here and there by an olive tree or cypress.
In the background, the foothills of the Alps, hilltop villages. Above your head, the clear blue of a cloudless sky. And, everywhere, the bewitching scent of flowers and, in the fields, the hum of bees. Watch out for bites!
Le Valensole plateau, sparsely populated, is a large French-style space, largely dedicated to the cultivation of lavender. The villages are the heirs of a long history, going back to the Middle Ages, even to antiquity.
Germany-in-Provence has a beautiful Renaissance castle with a park with centuries-old trees. Typical Provencal village, Valensole worth a stop for its pleasant cafes, its XNUMXth century church and its pretty XNUMXth century fountain.
Other gems are to discover: the charming hilltop village of Saint-Jurs, with its churches of another age, one enjoys a formidable panorama on the valley and the fields of lavender. laugh, founded by the Romans, aligns a beautiful set of patrician residences of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Finally, a few kilometers away, the Verdon Gorge, our national Grand Canyon that can be reached after a detour through the charming village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. In Provence, one wonder can hide another!
Read also our article Valensole, in the land of lavender
To prepare for your stay, consult our Provence and Ardèche-Drôme fact sheets.
Les Routes de la Lavande, a wealth of information from the GTA association
Provence regional tourism committee
52 favorites in Provence
Tourism in Vaucluse
Tourist development agency of the Alpes de Haute-Provence
Drôme Departmental Tourism Committee
Valensole Tourist Office
TGV to Montélimar, Avignon or Aix-en-Provence. Afterwards, car rental recommended to explore the region.
Where to sleep ?
Find your hotel in Drôme, Vaucluse and Alpes de Haute-Provence
Operations, distilleries, purchase of products
House of products from the Verdon region
L'Occitane factory in Manosque