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Provence Lavender Season & Best Lavender Fields in Provence, France01/09/2021
Visiting Provence in the summer? Then there is a big chance that you want to see the stunning lavender fields in Provence. Nicknamed ‘the blue gold,’ the lavender fields of Provence in Southern France are one of the region’s highlights.
The lavender blooming period is, for us, the best time to visit Provence, but this is a trip that cannot be improvised because the flowering season only lasts a few weeks, and it is different depending on the location.
For a trip to see the lavender fields in Provence, France, you must prepare it carefully! It is important to figure out when is the lavender season in Provence, the best lavender fields in Provence, and the flowering period for each spot. Because the tour around the Provence’s lavender fields is a very seasonal activity, you also need to book transportation, car hire, and accommodation well in advance.
For a total Provençal experience, you may also want to know the most charming places to stay and other interesting things to see and do nearby.
There are many ways to enjoy Provence’s lavender fields, and this quick guide gives information on types of lavender in Provence, the Provence lavender season, top photo spots, and our best tips to plan a memorable trip to Provence. From the must-see Plateau of Valensole to Vaucluse and the Drôme Provençale, follow our guide!
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Different Types of Lavender in Provence
There are three lavender types: fine lavender, spike lavender, and lavandine. However, there are only two different types of lavender in Provence: fine lavender and lavandine.
Fine lavender (lavandula angustifolia) is the typical lavender of Provence, you won’t find fine lavender anywhere else in the world!. It grows above an altitude of 800 m and it is a small plant with a single flower per stem.
Used for medicinal properties, the fine lavender became the ‘blue gold’ of the region when Provence’s great perfume makers started using it for their best perfumes.
You need 130 kg of fine lavender to obtain 1 liter of essential oil by distilling process. A 1 Ha plantation of fine lavender can produce up to 25 liters of essential oil in a good year.
Lavandine (lavandula hybrida) is found all over the world, between at altitudes of 0 to 800 m. It is a tall plant with two ramifications and it grows in large round clumps. Like its Latin name suggests, it is a hybrid plant, a crossing between the lavender of Provence (fine lavender) and spike lavender which is little used in France.
The lavandine is less subtle, has a stronger smell than fine lavender, and cannot be used for medicinal properties. The lavandine fields are very photogenic, but lavandine is less precious and definitely less interesting for lavender producers.
You need 40 kg of fine lavender to obtain 1 liter of essential lavandine oil. The lavandine is used for cleaning products and filling the little lavender bags for tourists and other Provence souvenirs.
Lavender Season in Provence
When is the best time to see lavender in Provence? The lavender season in Provence is short, and it depends on where you go and other things like the altitude of the lavender fields and the weather conditions during the previous months.
In general, the Provence lavender season lasts a few weeks between mid-June and mid-July until the end of July and the beginning of August. There are many beautiful spots to see lavender fields in Provence, but the blooming window is different for each spot.
You can be at the perfect lavender spot for the perfect picture, but if it is not the perfect time (too early or, like in our case, too late), it does not work!
The lavender season in Provence really depends on the weather: the hotter it gets earlier in the season, the earlier the flowering will be in the northernmost flowering areas. On the other hand, a period of cold or rain in May – June will delay the flowering.
Provence Lavender Fields Map
Where to see lavender in Provence? We have grouped the most beautiful places to see lavender fields in Provence into four areas. For each area, we will tell you the types of lavender, the lavender season, things to see and do, and our best tips.
- Valensole Plateau (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence)
- Pays de Sault (Vaucluse)
- Luberon (Vaucluse)
- Drôme Provençale (Drôme)
Best Way to Visit the Lavender Fields of Provence
The best way to explore the lavender fields of Provence is by car. A self-drive holiday in Provence gives you the freedom to explore the best lavender fields, the picturesque villages in Provence, and off-the-beaten-path châteaux at your own pace. With your car, you’re not restricted to set timetables so if you like a place you can stay longer!
We use, and we recommend booking your car with RentalCars.com. This site is excellent because it takes all of the major rental companies, such as Hertz, Avis, etc., and more and makes the comparison of prices for you. This helps to ensure that you get a great price without all the time and work.
BY GUIDED TOUR
The lavender fields in Provence are among the top things to do in France, so you will find many lavender tours starting from the major cities in the region. Here’s the list of the best-rated lavender tours, starting from different locations:
- From Aix-en-Provence: full-day lavender tour to Valensole
- From Avignon: full-day lavender tour
- From Nice: Gorges du Verdon and Valensole lavender fields
- From Marseille: full day Valensole lavender fields
Best Lavender Fields in Provence
Plateau de Valensole (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence)
The Plateau de Valensole, in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, is where you will find the most photogenic lavender fields in Provence.
A few years ago, nobody knew about the Valensole lavender fields or the town of Valensole. Thanks to a Chinese TV show and a couple of Instagrammers hanging around, now the area is fully packed during the lavender season in Provence, and buses of tourists from all over the world are flocking to Valensole.
The Valensole Plateau is located at a low altitude (-600 m), so you will only find lavandine and it is more photogenic.
What we love about Valensole is its beautiful landscapes, the feeling of being in a violet sea. Next to the Valensole lavender fields, there are also sunflower fields and wheat fields, perfect for making beautiful photo compositions. You can also combine lavender fields in bloom with harvested lavender fields.
When to visit the Valensole Plateau
Because of its lower altitude, the blooming in Valensole starts earlier than in other lavender fields. In general, mid-June to the first week of July is a good moment to visit these Provence lavender fields.
Where to sleep near the Valensole lavender fields
- Le Jardin de Celina
- Château du Grand Jardin
- Les Terrasses de Valensole
- Villa Borghese (in Gréoux-les-Bains)
- Le Couvent des Minimes & Spa (in Mane)
Things to see and do near the Valensole lavender fields
- Musée de la Lavande (free)
- Kayak, electric boat at Gorges du Verdon
- Lazy day + dip at Lake Sainte Croix-de-Verdon
- Visit the hilltop villages of Aiguines, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
GOOD TO KNOW: In the Valensole lavender fields, mass tourism and disrespectful people are an issue to the point that some lavender farmers have fenced their fields, and they are ready to call the police. Drones, jumping people, big guided tours, and people picking up lavender everywhere can spoil your lavender experience.
Pays de Sault (Vaucluse)
The Pays de Sault is the fine lavender’s capital. Less touristy than other lavender fields in Provence, Pays de Sault is a good place to see the real Provençal lavender without the crowds.
Here, you will find a few boeries (traditional stone houses), and they look great in the middle of the lavender fields. The picture below was taken in Ferrasières.
The Pays de Sault is near the Mont Ventoux (1,909m), and it is surrounded by picturesque villages (Sault, Aurel, Ferrasières). Don’t miss all these beautiful places when visiting the Pays de Sault!
Located at a higher altitude (800-900 m), summers are not as hot as in other places in Provence like Valensole.
When to visit the Pays de Sault
Because of its higher altitude (800-900m), the lavender season in Pays de Sault starts later. In general, July is a good month to visit Sault, and the lavender fields are in full bloom around mid-July.
Where to sleep in Pays de Sault
Things to see and so in Pays de Sault
- Visit the villages of Sault, Aurel, Monieux
- Fête de la Lavande at Ferrassières (beginning of July)
- Biking, hiking, or paragliding at Mont Ventoux
GOOD TO KNOW: In Southern France, you will find many bastides. In Occitanie, a bastide is the name of a type of medieval village designed with a regular plan (e.g., the village of Mirepoix, in the Cathar Country). Instead, a bastide in Provence is a stone construction, usually magnificent private houses surrounded by beautiful grounds. In Provence, there are many bastides proposing bed & breakfast accommodation. Other types of housing in Provence are mas, clos, and domaine.
The Massif du Luberon, near Avignon, is our favorite place to visit lavender fields in Provence. Located in the department of Vaucluse, this is a beautiful area to explore, with some lavender fields, the oh-so-pretty hilltop villages, and the famous Sénanque Abbey.
Here, the lavender fields are at an altitude of 350-700 m, mainly with lavandine.
From the top of the road from Gordes (D177), the view of the lavender fields surrounding Sénanque Abbey is spectacular. These were my ‘very first lavender fields,’ and this is a view that I will never forget. However, this is a crowded place, so be sure to visit early in the morning (ideally, before 8 am).
When to visit the Luberon
The beginning of July is a good time to visit the lavender fields in the Luberon. Last year, however, we visited during the third week of July and it was still good.
Where to Sleep in the Luberon
- La Grande Verrière (in Goult)
- Lou Amourie (in Roussillon)
- Le Clos de la Glycine (in Roussillon)
- Les Oursillons (in Roussillon)
Things to see and do in the Luberon
- Visit the villages of Roussillon, Gordes, Fontaine de Vaucluse, L’Isle sur la Sorge, Ménerbes, Lacoste…
- Sentier des Ochres in Roussillon
- Village des Bories
- Musée de la Lavande at Coustellet
- Visit the Abbey of Sénanque
- Spend one day in Avignon
Drôme Provençale (Drôme)
Drôme is a department that belongs to the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. However, this area is known as Drôme Provençale because of its geographical, cultural, historical, and climatic proximity to Provence. You are technically out of Provence, but with all those lavender fields and hilltop villages, you won’t realize it 😉
The best lavender fields in the Drôme Provençale are around Grignan, Nyons to Vinsobres, Mévouillon (capital of fine lavender), from Drôme Valley to Diois (lavender fields at higher altitude, far from the main roads).
When to visit the Drôme Provençale
Here, the lavender blooms from mid-June until the end of July.
Where to Sleep in the Drôme Provençale
Things to see and do in the Drôme Provençale
- The hilltop village of Grignan and Château de Sévigné
- Visit one of the lavander distilleries in Nyons, Chamaloc,..)