Tantalize your senses… Visit the Lavender Fields of Provence

Lavender Fields of Provence - Provence Lavender Season

Lavender has always grown wild in Provence…

Every year thousands flock to the hills and valleys of Provence to visit the famed lavender fields.  There are several different lavender routes (six official itineraries to be exact), choose depending on the time of year and your interests…

Provence Lavender Season

The most important thing I can advise you is to make sure your timing is right – check the Lavender Flowering Calendar for your chosen area before setting out (Calendar in PDF format).  There is nothing more disappointing than a field “almost” in bloom! I’ve been there and it’s a definite let down albeit still a beautiful drive (no scent and the colors are dull in comparison). July usually is the best time to go in general, but do still check the calendar for the best areas to visit for the week you are arriving. In mid to late August, it’s harvest time.

Provence Lavender Season

 Just a tip

Although you might be tempted to also visit the small perched villages in the area, I recommend that you keep it for another day.  Take your time to savor the lavender fields using the gift of all your five senses: savor your picnic lunch (you did stop to pick up lunch in Sault?), admire the vibrant purple colors, enjoy the intoxicating scents, feel the sun beating on your back, and hear the buzz of the bees, the chant of the Cicadas, and the crunch of the rocks underfoot…

So where do I go to visit the lavender fields of Provence ?

Chemin des Lavandes - Provence Lavender Season

Le Chemin des Lavandes, 84390 Sault, France

  • The route that goes through Sault ending in Carpentras is lovely and one of the largest and most well-known. The “Festival de la Lavande” in Sault (among others) is a lot of fun if you get your timing right. If you do go through Sault, pick up cheese, salami and wine at Yves et Virginie’s Epicerie Fine in the center of town. VERY tasty!

Brownie points if you understand and laugh like I did at the name of this local cheese… The pig shaped saucisson makes a great gift if you want to take your chances sneaking it back in your suitcase (I deny ever suggesting such an act).

  • I also particularly like the “Drôme Provençale” itinerary as it takes you through some really beautiful countryside, but it’s not necessarily the most popular or well-known.
  •  My girlfriend native to the area prefers the Digne-les-Bains to Castellane leg that goes by Lake Castillon (bring your bathing suit). If you take that route, I highly recommend that you extend your trip to include the Valensole Plateau.
  • Another recommended choice is the Crest to Die route which I have not yet traveled during the lavender season.  It is, however, extraordinarily picturesque at any time of the year and I highly recommend the trip.

For more ideas check out the Provence Guide Website (in English).

Itineraries Details

It’s pretty hard to go wrong with any itinerary as it’s all very beautiful. Remember the most important aspect is that the fields are actually BLOOMING ! So check that calendar!!!

Official Lavender Routes

  • GTA’s Lavender Routes Maps (simplified PDF format):

Crest – Die – Rosans

Digne – Saint André les Alpes – Castellane

Ferrassières – Sault – Apt – Banon – Forcalquier – Carpentras

Montélimar – Dieulefit – Grignan – Nyons

  • Luberon Gite Itinerary Route Suggestion:

Itinerary 1

Itinerary 2

Luberon Gite’s Routes de la lavande (PDF map)

  • Chemin des Lavandes (free with interpretive signage)

Sault 4km Walking Route Itinerary

Sault Walking Route PDF Map (allow 2 very leisurely hours)

Don’t forget to check out the Lavender Museum in Cousellet on your way back and pick up a few goodies while learning all about the history and cultivation of lavender.

Lavender Drying Tips

If you have some lavender you would like to try drying, just bunch them loosely and hang upside down until completely dry. It’s best if the blooms are just starting to open when you harvest. Try adding a few of those dried buds to your Earl Grey tea for a delicious blend. For a calming effect (both on your nerves and your digestive system) try adding a large tablespoon of dried buds to a cup of hot water with a touch of honey.

Questions ?

If you have any questions or want clarification, just drop me a note (see my contact page) and I will do my best to answer you.

Happy Travels!
Girl Gone Gallic

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PS –  Watch out for the horseflies which will take a big stinging bite out of you at will > Ouch!!! Advice given to you from personal experience.

 

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  15 comments for “Tantalize your senses… Visit the Lavender Fields of Provence

  1. cloudandsea
    March 29, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Hi! Thank you for your post. I am planning to stay at Nice for 3 nights and then stay in Cannes for 2 nights (and making a trip to Valensole). Do you think it is feasible?

    My sis is generally not comfortable with driving so I was wondering if there are any guided tours from Cannes/Nice. Thank you!

    • March 29, 2016 at 9:45 am

      What are your approx dates ? The lavender fields are best seen in full bloom. I would only stay in Cannes one day, there isn’t that much to do actually. What about Monaco instead for the extra day – easily accessible by train from Nice.

  2. candice
    June 9, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks for the beautiful blog. I will be staying at Montbrun les Bain for a couple of nights July 12/13. Which route would you recommend? I know distance around that part of the country can be misleading. This is my first time in Provence. I’ll be traveling with my 21 and 11 year old daughters. I will be renting a car. I also plan to drive to St. Remy area for one day, hoping it’s not too prohibitedly far. Staying last night in Vence before flying out from Nice. Thanks in advance for your advice.
    Candice
    Ps. Love to eat but allergic to alcohol unfortunately.

  3. lisaabsalom
    April 15, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Thanks Gallic Girl – this is now on my “to do list” from here in Villefranche sur Mer. I shall make sure I plan my trip using your info. I have been in that area but not at Lavender time.

    • May 10, 2015 at 8:30 am

      It’s definitely worth going during the lavender season, but I must say your hometown isn’t too shabby either ! If you have any questions about the lavender routes just drop me a quick note…

  4. April 8, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Great tips – I am just pinning this for future reference and I love the colours and the smells and so want to visit!

    • April 8, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      If you have any questions about the area, don’t hesistate to ask !

  5. April 8, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Gorgeous!

  6. April 8, 2015 at 12:07 am

    This is a great resource with your PDFs and calendar links. I’ve visited around Valensole which is day-tripable from Lou Messugo and was totally awed by the experience. This summer I’d like to try another of the routes. LOVE the name of the chèvre (yes I get it!) Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance

  7. April 4, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Love this – I always bring some lavender home to keep on my bedpost, reminding me of Provence & to keep me going until my next visit (5 weeks 6 days not that I’m counting)

  8. April 4, 2015 at 1:27 am

    great post, I visited some of the lavender routes last July, it was fabulous a photographers dream! good to be linked up on #AllAboutFrance

    • April 4, 2015 at 10:33 am

      I’m already lookin forward to visiting again next year !

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