24 May Essential Guide to the Lavender Fields in Provence
The region of Provence is the best place in France to see the lavender fields! I wrote this Essential Guide to the Lavender Fields in Provence to share with you all the essential tips you need to make the best out of your trip: where to find the fields, how to take photos in the fields, where to stay, where and what to eat, what to do in the region, and more!
You will enjoy your stay in Provence with all your senses! Wandering in the middle of lavender fields is really an amazing experience! Let me take you there virtually: close your eyes and picture gorgeous purple colors as far as your eyes can see, a bewitching smell of lavender, the sounds of the busy bees and the chirping birds… Here you are in Provence in France!
If you have read the introduction of this essential guide to the lavender fields in Provence, you already have a very good reason to visit this place: for the endless lavender fields of course! But let me add some more! Located in the South of France, Provence is part of the wider region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA). Starched between the Rhone Valley and the Mediterranean coast, this area is gifted with a very pleasant climate and beautiful landscapes.
Moreover, the coastline of the French Riviera is magnificent with the Calanques, one of France’s natural wonders!
But Provence is also a place full of amazing architecture, Roman ruins, art and museums. Many painters, writers, sculptors and musicians, have been inspired by this region: Cézanne, Matisse, Chagall, and Picasso for example.
And last but not least, I cannot talk about Provence without talking about the gastronomy! The local markets are providing the best products. There are plenty of excellent restaurants and the local specialties are delicious!
The best time to visit Provence for the lavender season
One of the first essential answer I will cover in this guide to the lavender fields in Provence: when is the best time to see them! In Provence the lavender fields are blooming from mid-June to mid-July. The full bloom with the intense purple tones is taking place in general at the end of June and the beginning of July, around the summer solstice. Therefore, the beginning of the summer is the best time to visit Provence.
But you have to take into account that the blooming of the lavender depends on the climatic conditions during the months preceding the flowering and the location. As a consequence, some years the lavender can bloom later or sooner. Mother Nature can be very unpredictable, so don’t be too upset if you do not get the full bloom at the moment of your trip. You will see that you can make the best out of it with everything that Provence has to offer! For example, when I visited in 2019, the lavender was in full bloom around the 5th-10th of July, a bit later than usual due to a very cold weather in May and June.
After the blooming, the fields are harvested, usually between mid-July and August.
My secret tips: I would like to point out some other things that you may want to take into account to organize your trip. Firstly, the French school holidays starts usually at the beginning of July. Therefore, from that time, there will be more French tourists wandering in the area. Secondly if you can visit during the week, it will be less busy than during the weekend. Indeed, the French people can also travel there just for the weekend.
Where to find the lavender fields
I guess what you are wondering next: where in Provence are those lavender fields? The lavender fields on the Valensole plateau are some of the most photogenic ones in the world! Once you drive to the village of Valensole you will see why the surrounding fields are so popular! The most famous field with a tree in the shape of a heart in the background is right close by a shop selling lavender named Lavandes Angelvin. My secret tip: here are the coordinates for this one 43.8220540, 5.9371070 (or 43°49’19.4″N 5°56’13.6″E).
In this area, named Haute-Provence and Verdon, you can find also find lavender fields around Riez, Puimoisson, Gréoux les Bains. Basically drive in between those cities and you will spot many fields!
You can also find lavender in the following parts of Provence
- Firstly in the Vercors and the Diois areas: between Crest, Baronnies, Die and Rosans
- Secondly in the Drôme Provençale and Haut-Vaucluse areas: between Montélimar and Nyons, including Dieulefit, Grignan et Valréas
- Thirdly in the Ventoux and the Luberon areas: around Sault, and close to the Abbaye de Sénanques near the village of Gordes, or around Apt
- Fourthly in the Luberon and Lure areas: around Forcalquier, Simiane-la-Rotonde and Banon
- Lastly in the Buëch area.
How to take pictures in the lavender fields
In this paragraph I am going to cover a few essentials about taking photos in the lavender fields in Provence. Because, let’s be honest, you cannot visit Provence without leaving with gazillions of pictures of the fields, with or without you in the frame 😉 ! I will answer the following questions: What is the best moment of the day to take your photos in the lavender fields, How to walk around in the fields to take your pictures, and – last but not least – What about the bees in the fields?!
The best moment of the day to take pictures in the lavender fields
The best moments of the day to take pictures in the lavender fields are sunrise and sunset. On the one hand, as I mentioned earlier, the climate in Provence is very warm in summer. Therefore, it’s better to take your photos at a time when the sun is not too hot. On the other hand, the light is also more beautiful at sunrise and sunset: the famous golden hour cherished by all the photographers! Oh, and I forgot to mention that the bees are less active when the sun is not there, because they need the sun to orient themselves.
My secret tip: because not everyone is able to wake up for sunrise, if you want to take photos with less people it’s better to go at sunrise!
How to walk around in the fields to take your pictures
The fields are organized in rows of lavender plants. There are alleys to walk in the middle, so it’s easy to move around. Please do NOT walk on the lavender because you would damage it. And also, do NOT pluck lavender directly in the field. My secret tip: if you want to use a cute bouquet of lavender as a prop in your photos, you can easily find some for sale in many lavender dedicated shops in the towns around the fields.
If there are a few people taking pictures in the fields at the same time as you, find some rows with no one inside and stick to your spot. The more you are polite with the other people taking pictures around you, the more chances you have that they will be polite and accommodating with you too!
About the bees in the lavender fields
I really do not like bugs in general! As I knew that a lot of bees would be foraging in the lavender fields, I was really worried before walking there for the first time. But after experiencing it a few times, I was not afraid anymore. Why? Because the bees are busy gathering pollen, they are not really paying attention to you. Unless of course you start to annoy them (just don’t)! Most of the time, as you are walking in the alleys, you are not in their way. There are some spiders too and you may have to walk through their web in the middle of the alleys, but I didn’t see that many.
To be honest, I felt less secure in the sunflower fields: as the flowers are higher, the bees were flying closer to me and it was scarier…
The other flower fields in Provence
You may wonder if there any other flower fields in Provence? The answer is yes: lavender is not the only flower you will find in Provence! Sunflowers, sage, and poppies are also growing in the area, and providing amazing backgrounds for your photos!
You can find pretty red poppy fields from end of April to mid-June. As I visited Provence at the end of June in 2019, I unfortunately arrived too late.
The sage is blooming in June. I had never seen a field of sage in bloom before coming to Provence and I was in awe! The sage plants measure from 40 cm to 1 meter, and have beautiful pink and purple hues! Apparently, Provence is the only region of France where you can see sage fields. It makes it even more special! My secret tip: there is a sage field located on the road between Valensole and Puimoisson.
The sunflowers start to bloom beginning of July and are in full bloom around mid-July. When I was in Provence at the end of June in 2019, I saw them blooming the very last day before leaving. My secret tip: there is a sunflower field located right close by the famous lavender field with the heart-shaped tree listed above.
Local farmers also grow wheat in Provence. Therefore, it’s possible to take some photos in a wheat field with a bunch of haystacks. Provence is definitely full of beautiful landscapes to capture!
How to get to Provence
You have some options to arrive in Provence, and of course I am giving them to you in this essential guide to the lavender fields in Provence!
The first option is to take the train. The closest train station is the one from Manosque – Gréoux-les-Bains. It’s a small train station therefore you will need to connect with another bigger city of the area like Marseille, Avignon or Aix-en-Provence. For example, from Paris you can do Paris to Marseille and then Marseille to Manosque – Gréoux-les-Bains.
The second option is to drive there by yourself and rent a car from the place of your arrival in France. Be aware that if you are arriving in Paris, this is a very long ride. The journey from Paris to Manosque is around 800 km and it takes 7h to drive there, without counting the necessary breaks. I wouldn’t recommend it, except if you want to do a road trip and visit some places on the way.
The last option is to fly to Marseille and then drive from Marseille to the area of the lavender fields.
How to go from one place to another in Provence
The best way to go from one place to another in Provence is definitely to rent a car. Indeed, all the fields are located close to small cities and villages that are not easily connected by public transport, or are in the middle of nowhere. Moreover, if you want to discover the beautiful region of Provence, the car will be your best friend!
You can rent a car in Manosque for example or in Marseille or Aix-en-Provence depending on where you are arriving with the train (or the flight).
Where to stay in Provence
Another essential info you will learn from this guide to the lavender fields in Provence: where to stay? You have a few options for places to stay in Provence to visit the lavender fields. Everything depends on how close you want to be from the lavender fields and what else you want to visit in the region.
Valensole is the closest city to the lavender fields but it’s rather small. It’s perfect if you want to stay in quiet place but you might lack of options for dining. Indeed, there are only very few restaurants in Valensole.
Riez, a little town located in Verdon Regional Nature Park (Parc Naturel Régional du Verdon) on Valensole plateau, can also be a nice place to stay. It’s around 20 min far from Valensole but there are lavender fields in between the 2 cities. It’s very charming!
Manosque is the bigger city in the area. It’s a bit further of the lavender fields, around 20 min far from Valensole. But it has the benefits of offering many places to stay for all budget, many cafes and restaurants and many shops and supermarkets.
When I visited Provence in 2019, I stayed in an AirBnb in Manosque and it was perfect!
As Provence is a very touristy region, you will have a lot of other possibilities in case you want to stay somewhere else. You can rent a villa for example and enjoy a pool, which can be quite pleasant in summer!
Where to eat in Provence
As a real foodie, I had to cover this question in the essential guide to the lavender field in Provence: where to eat? I am giving you some tips for places to eat in Valensole, as you will probably pass by, and in Manosque in case you will stay there. I also added an extra spot that might not be on your way but worth the detour (see below)!
Where to eat in Valensole
Here are some places to eat in Valensole:
- Le Palais d’Or: a small bakery to buy bread, pastries and also yummy lavender ice creams. Location: 4 Place Thiers 04210 Valensole.
- Brasserie du Plateau: a restaurant serving local food. They have a big terrace that is very popular in summer amongst the local and the tourists. Location: 2 Boulevard Frédéric Mistral, 04210 Valensole.
- Le Glacier de Valensole: an ice cream place with tasty and yummy ice creams. Location: 9 D6, 04210 Valensole.
- La Maison de Marius: a deli selling local products. You cannot eat there but you can buy some products (cheese for example) to take away. Location: 1 Avenue Segond 04210 Valensole.
- Le Jardin de Celina: a fine dining restaurant with a bed & breakfast. I didn’t have the opportunity to eat here unfortunately. Location: Ancien Chemin Ancien Chemin d’Allemagne, 04210 Valensole.
- Régal: an Italian restaurant. I ate there in 2019 but it seems that it’s closed now. Maybe another restaurant opened at the same place. Location: 3 Boulevard Frédéric Mistral, 04210 Valensole.
Where to eat in Manosque
Here are some places to eat in Manosque:
- Il Gusto restaurant: a great Italian restaurant. I ate there twice (pictured here). Location: 8 Place de l’Hôtel de ville 04100 Manosque.
- Le Café du Coin: a good value for money restaurant. I didn’t eat there but apparently the service is good. Location: 20 Rue du Soubeyran 04100 Manosque.
- Poon: a good place to get an ice cream. I loved it and they have many different flavors. Location: 59 Rue Grande 04100 Manosque.
- Le Bouchon Catalan: a fine dining French restaurant. I didn’t have the opportunity to eat here unfortunately. Location: 21 Place du Terreau 04100 Manosque.
- Le Petit Lauragais: a charming restaurant serving French refined cuisine for an affordable price. I didn’t have the opportunity to eat here unfortunately. Location: 6 Place du Terreau 04100 Manosque
- Kinda Sushi Bar: a good sushi restaurant. Location: 30 Avenue Jean Giono 04100 Manosque
- Boulangerie Patisserie Rouger: a good bakery. The perfect place to buy bread, pastries or desserts. Location: 27 Avenue Jean Giono 04100 Manosque.
Where to eat the best ice creams in Provence
This is my secret spot that worth to visit even if you have to make a detour! My secret tip: treat yourself in Scaramouche in Céreste! Scaramouche is an ice cream place serving delicious ice creams with a lot of original and local flavors. It worth the drive just to taste the ice-creams! Location: Cours Aristide Briand 04280 Céreste.
What to eat and drink in Provence
I will keep my foodie hat to give you some info about what you should eat and drink while you are visiting Provence. The local gastronomy is exceptional in Provence! Here are some of the specialties that you should try!
Tapas and starters
Here are some of the tasty tapas and starters you should try in Provence:
- Olives: there are a lot of different varieties of olives and they are very tasty
- Aïoli: a sort of mayonnaise sauce made with crushed garlic and olive oil. You can serve it with bread or as a dish with salt cod, boiled potatoes and carrots.
- Tapenade: an olive dip mixed with capers, olive oil, spices and lemon juice or garlic served on toasted bread. There are a few different recipes featuring black or green olives or sun-dried tomatoes, sometimes
- Anchoïade: purée of anchovies, mixed with olive oil and capers.
Here are some of the delicious meals you should try in Provence:
- Ratatouille: a vegetable casserole made of tomatoes, eggplants (aubergines), zucchini (courgettes), onions, peppers, cooked in olive oil and flavoured with herbs and garlic.
- Pissaladière: a sort of caramelized onions and anchovy tart topped with black olives.
- Salade Niçoise: a salad made of tomatoes, lettuce and hard-boiled eggs, olives and anchovies or tuna and dressed with olive oil. You can also find it mixed with extra cooked vegetables such as beans and potatoes, or raw vegetables such as green peppers and corn.
Goat cheese (Fromage de chèvre in French) is very good in Provence. It comes either frais = fresh, with a mild creamy taste, demi-sec = semi-dry, or sec = dry.
Sweets and desserts
Here are some of the yummy sweets and desserts you should try in Provence:
- Lavender and honey ice cream: this is THE ice cream that you have to try in Provence. It’s a real delight!
- Nougat: you have the nougat blanc = white nougat, a confectionary made with sugar/honey, roasted almonds and egg whites. It’s coming in a lot of different flavors. And you also have the nougat noir or nougatine (which doesn’t contain eggs). It’s very sweet and eating a little piece is a real treat!
- Calissons, a speciality of Aix-en-Provence: slices of almond paste topped with a sugary covering in a shape of almond with a 3,5 cm length (2 inches). They have a texture similar to that of marzipan, but with a fruitier flavour.
- Candied fruits: named fruits confits in French. There are produced by traditional methods in the region.
- Tropézienne: a dessert pastry consisting of a brioche filled unctuous creams and a sprinkled with grains of sugar.
Here are some of the amazing drinks you should try in Provence:
- Provence is famous for its red and rosé wines. Here are some of the wines you should try: the most famous of Provence’s “appellation contrôlée” wines is Châteauneuf du Pape, all the wines from the “Côtes du Rhône” designated area, and the wine from Bandol, produced in one of the oldest wine-growing areas of France.
- Pastis, an aniseed-flavoured liqueur, the best for the apéritif hour in the south of France.
What to visit in Provence except the lavender fields
Aside on wandering in the lavender fields, there are a lot of things to do in Provence! I have listed them here and will give a bit more details about some of the villages in the next paragraphs.
What to do around the lavender fields and/or if you stay only for a few days
If you come to Provence to see the lavender fields but just for a few days, here are some of the cool things you can do:
- Explore the beautiful villages in the area: Valensole, Riez, Moustier Sainte Marie, Gordes, and Roussillon to give only a few. I am giving more info about a few of them below.
- Visit Notre-Dame de Sénanque: a Cistercian abbey near the village of Gordes. It’s located in a pretty valley and surrounded by lavender fields. It was founded in 1148.
- For those who like the outdoor, go to the Gorges du Verdon and the Lac de Sainte Croix: one of Europe’s most beautiful river canyon. You can rent kayaks to travel on the river and the lake, or hike.
What to do in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur if you have more time
If you come to Provence for a week or more, you will have the time to see much more. Here are some of the fantastic things you can do:
- Visit the well-known cities of the region:
- Marseille, the capital city of the region.
- St Tropez, with its beaches and fancy beach clubs. The market also worth the visit.
- Cannes, famous for the film festival.
- Nice, with beautiful beaches and coastline, and an amazing architecture
- Aix-en-Provence, with a nice pedestrian city center. It used to be the home of the painter Cézanne.
- Admire the Palais des Papes in Avignon: the largest gothic structure in Europe.
- See the Pont du Gard: an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge built in the first century AD.
- Walk in the Calanques: a series of rocky cliffs and bays between the city of Marseille and the town of Cassis.
Those are just ideas as this region is very big and very touristy!
More info about the most charming towns in Provence
Visit the village of Valensole
Valensole is a pretty medieval village of Provence ideally located in the middle of a plateau of lavender and almond trees. Its name means Valley of Sun: lovely right?!
I have listed a few things to do in Valensole:
- See the famous fountain Place Thiers dating from 1681 (here in the photo) and refresh yourself if needed.
- Buy some lavender products and some souvenirs.
- Eat a lavender and honey ice cream. Seriously, you cannot leave Valensole without having eaten this ice cream!
- Look at the beautiful old houses in the colors of Provence.
- Relax on the terrace of one of the friendly restaurants or cafés.
Walk around the village of Roussillon
If you drive 1h30 to the West from Valensole, you will find the unique village of Roussillon: this place is one of the “most beautiful villages of France”!
It’s located in the very heart of the biggest ochre deposits in the world and all the facades have this beautiful ochre color. I enjoyed getting lost in the streets looking at all the colors of the houses around me! The town hall of Roussillon is charming. My secret tip: I also felt in love with a painted door at the entrance of the village in the street named “rue de la Fontaine”.
Admire the village of Gordes
Gordes is another village high on the list of the “most beautiful villages of France”. As it’s located on top of a hill, it has a privileged position. Adding to this its charm and its typical architecture with white and grey stones and you will understand why it worth the visit!
There is a great viewpoint to capture the village and the valley. My secret tip: if you look for “Town Viewpoint Gordes” on Google maps you will find it. There is even a parking lot! FYI do not park on the side of the road outside of the parking lot or you will get fined, I learned this the hard way 🙁 .
Discover the town of Riez, aka Riez-la-Romaine
Riez is a little town located in Verdon Regional Nature Park (Parc Naturel Régional du Verdon) on Valensole plateau. It was founded in the 1st century and therefore is the most ancient city in the area. Hence is nickname: “Riez-la-Romaine” – which means the Roman in French. You can still find some Roman ruins on the edge of the city center. There are four Corinthian columns, remains of a Roman temple to Apollo (the ‘Temple of Riez’) and an ancient baptistery, remains of a cathedral. My secret tip: those Roman ruins are located close to a parking area. There is a dedicated space for picnic there and it’s really nice!
There is a local market in the city center every Wednesday and Saturday mornings where you can buy a lot of fresh local products (meat and fish, cheese, vegetables and fruits…), flowers and other things. You can also enjoy the medieval architecture of Riez. This traditional city is very pleasant!
The best souvenirs to buy in Provence
The last essential I want to share with you in this guide to the lavender fields in Provence is the souvenirs you can buy here. Lavender being the hero of the region of Provence and the reason of your trip, I highly recommend that you bring back home some lavender products! You can buy a bouquet of lavender and let it dry at home. Lavender soap and toiletries are also good ideas. The lavender essential oil has a lot of virtues in aromatherapy: it’s relaxing and can treat anxiety, fungal infections, allergies, depression, insomnia, eczema, nausea, and menstrual cramps. It also has a lot of other properties like anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifying, hypotensive, and sedative effects. Lastly, it has the ability to lessen acne, help lighten skin, and reduce wrinkles. It can even be used to treat other things, like improving hair health and digestion. There are many beauty products made with lavender. Those would also be great souvenirs to buy.
I mentioned the local gastronomy in a previous paragraph: for sure nougat and calissons would be perfect to offer or to treat yourself! They have a rather long expiry date which makes them easy to transport.
As you may have realized after reading this article, Provence is an amazing region that worth the visit! The lavender fields will blow you away and there is a ton of other natural and cultural attractions in the area! You will want to visit more than once! I hope I gave you all the essentials you need in this guide to the lavender fields in Provence. If you need more info, do not hesitate to contact me, I will do my best to help you! I also found this official website full of info: Les Routes de la Lavande.
Save it for later on Pinterest!