Summer is slowly drawing ever closer. And for one region in France, the arrival summer means something very special indeed – an explosion of colour and scent. Join me on a little journey to beautiful Provence to learn more about one of Europe’s most beautiful shows of colour.
No matter where you’ll look, you’ll find almost endless swathes of lavender swaying gently in the wind. Once the buds open and the purple flowers start to blossom, whole regions in the south of France are almost transformed into living works of art. Provence is always worth visiting no matter what time of year, not least because of its picturesque villages, rolling countryside and pleasant climates, but if you could only go once in your life, then go during the lavender season. It’s a true feast for the senses!
As soon as temperatures in Provence start rising, you’ll start noticing that the bees are buzzing around – and the unmissable purple flowers are starting to reveal themselves. Seeing the lavender fields is almost magical – once you’re there, you won’t want to leave in a hurry. Lavender is the symbol of Provence and it pulls lots of tourists to this picturesque region every year.
Provence has long and proud tradition in cultivating lavender. Since ancient times, lavender has been coveted for its medicinal properties and essential oils – indeed, the word lavender derives from the Latin verb to wash, lavare. When French universities began to promote the plant’s beneficial properties in the Middle Ages, France of course needed to cater for the demand. And thus began a huge introduction of lavender plants, with the first samples being brought over from Persia. The warm, mild climates of Provence meant that the plants have been able to thrive, and this age-old tradition of lavender cultivation still continues today.
Granted, the lavender isn’t really used for medicine anymore, but the plant’s essential oils are harvested for use in all sorts of beauty and skincare products.
Provence during lavender season
I’m sure many of you are asking when is the best time to admire the lavender fields in Provence. Depending on the weather conditions, the best time to travel there is between mid- or late June to the beginning or mid-August. Obviously, the weather isn’t quite the same every year so these are just estimates. The flowering season is largely weather dependent but, in this time period, you have the best chances of seeing the lavender at its best. The lavender fields in Vaucluse and on the Valensole plateau in Haute-Provence are especially popular.
The best time to travel:
Mid- to late June and the beginning to mid-August depending on the weather conditions.
The lavender doesn’t just look pretty and smell gorgeous. You can also buy these unique flowers in all sorts of different variations, whether it’s honey, a perfumed sachet, soap or as a spice. A small souvenir is almost compulsory here if you ask me! Real lavender experts claim that the plants also have positive, healing properties. I’d recommend a visit to the Musée de la Lavande for all of you who’d like to learn more about these flowers. The museum is situated in the heart of the Luberon Natural Regional Park, in the beautiful village of Coustellet. It really brings the history, future influence and qualities of lavender to life.
Off to Provence!
Can you smell the seductive scent of the lavender fields too, or am I just imagining it? One thing’s for sure, though: you have to see these enchanting, purple-blue carpets of flowers at least once in your life with your own eyes. Combine your holiday in the South of France with a small tour of Provence and catch a glimpse of the flowering fields of lavender and other breath-taking features in the landscape. Here and there, you’ll stumble across a delightful harbour town or an idyllic vineyard, which will invite you in for a welcome rest. Well, it’s time to clear your diary and head off on your next holiday! ;)