Lavender in Provence

"Lavender is the soul of Provence"Jean Giono

The colour, the texture, and the scent of a lavender field encapsulate for many the essence of Provence. You can enjoy the lavender fields by car, by bike or on foot. The map indicates where around the Luberon you will find concentrations of lavender fields: on the high plateaux around Sault, at the foot of the Mont Ventoux, and around Apt and Gordes.

lavender

The lavender in the Luberon blooms from around the last week of June to the beginning of August when it is harvested. It is usually at its peak in early July, but this depends on the rainfall in the year.

If you want to see sunflowers and lavender together, sunflowers are in full colour in July-August. You may also find lavender fields that contain a stone borie, which makes a more interesting photo than just the lavender.

On the way to Sault you will pass the village of Simiane la Rotonde, which is a picture-perfect, perched village with fields of lavender at its base – an ideal spot to dabble in photographing the swathes of blue and purple.

Perhaps the most famous lavender shot in Provence is of the field in front of Senanque Abbey near Gordes. It is almost impossible not to get a memorable photo here. The best time to come is early because the light is in the right position in the morning, and it will be less crowded – a lot of people want to get this shot.

lavenderAbbaye de Senanque (Senanque Abbey) near Gordes.

Apart from gazing at lavender fields, you can also visit lavender farms and distilleries, attend lavender festivals at Sault and Valreas, and buy lavender products like oil, essences, perfumes, soap, etc. In Coustellet there is even a Lavender Museum exploring the history of the cultivation of lavender in Provence.

The map below shows the prime routes for finding lavender fields. These roads are a pleasure to drive or cycle along anyway, taking you through some of Provence's best scenery - the lavender is the icing on the cake.

 

Lavender Routes of Provence


View Lavender Routes in Provence in a larger map


The Uses of Lavender

Lavender is said to heal insect bites and burns as well as repel insects. It can soothe headaches if you apply it to the temples and it helps you sleep if you have the flowers by your pillow. Dried lavender is used to repel moths in clothes closets. Lavender oil is also said to cure acne. The essential oil has antiseptic properties, it was used in hospitals in the 1st world war to disinfect wards. And of course it’s quite nice in the bath, for aromatherapy, and can be found in household products like room fresheners.

 

Lavender in Cooking

Lavender is not traditionally used in cooking in France but some chefs are experimenting with it. You would tend to use the buds/flowers for cooking rather than the leaves, as the buds contain the essential oil.



Lavender Farms

La Ferme de Gerbaud

A farm where you can discover the aromatic plants of Provence, their use and history. The farm also has horses, donkeys and other animals. Guided tour from April to October on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 5pm, and November to March on Saturdays at 3pm. Tour lasts 90 minutes, in French or English.
La Ferme de Gerbaud, Lourmarin 84160
France
Tel: 04 90 68 11 83

Ho! Bouquet de lavande

Guided farm visit and sale of essential oils and lavender products. Open end-April to mid-November.
Ferrassieres 26570
France
0475288752

Les Lavandes du Gaec Champelle

Organic lavender farm, with group visits by appointment. Small shop selling lavender products open April to October.
Sault
France
04 90 64 01 50

Lavender Distilleries



GAEC Aroma'Plantes

An organic, sustainable farm growing plants with aromatic and medicinal qualities since 1978. They produce and distil their own plants. They sell plants, essential oils, scented water and syrups. Open year-round, free distillery visits and walks on the farm year-round.
GAEC Aroma'Plantes
Route du Ventoux "La Parente"
Sault 84390
France
Tel: 04 90 64 04 02 / 04 90 64 14 73

Distillerie les Coulets

Traditional lavender distillery, open year-round for sale of lavender products. Distillery visits in July-August from 9-12 and 2-6pm, free.
Distillerie les Coulets
Hameau les Coulets Route de Rustrel
Apt 84400
France
Tel: 04 90 74 07 55

Distillerie du Vallon

Free visits of the lavender distillery from July 25 to August 25.
Distillerie du Vallon
Le Vallon Route des Michouilles
Sault 84390
France
Tel: 04 90 64 14 83

Distillerie Les Agnels

Lavender distillery open all year, sale of organic essential oils. Indoor therapeutic pool with lavender water.
route de Buoux
Apt
France
04 90 04 77 00

Lavender Museum

Musée de la Lavande

With a collection of copper stills from the 16th century to today, video presentations and a visitor shop, the lavender museum tells you everything you probably wanted to know about lavender. Not that gripping if you are not into lavender.
Musée de la Lavande
Route de Gordes
Coustellet 84220
France
Tel: 04 90 76 91 23