Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Quick Guide to the Lavender Fields, Provence 06/01/2024
Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
Get Ready for the Best Lavender Fields in France!
Do you want to see the most beautiful lavender fields France has to offer? Then head to Provence this summer. Nicknamed ‘the blue gold,’ a tour around the lavender fields of Provence is one of the best things to do in France!
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 area.
If you want to visit the Provence lavender fields, you must plan the trip carefully. It is essential to figure out when is the lavender season in Provence, the best places to see lavender in Provence, and the flowering period for each area. Because the tour around these lavender fields in France is a very seasonal activity, you also need to book accommodation, car hire, or guided tours well in advance.
There are many ways to enjoy the lavender fields in Provence, and this quick guide will give you information and the best tips to plan a memorable trip around them. From the must-see Plateau of Valensole to Vaucluse and the Drôme Provençale, follow our guide!
Different Types of Lavender in Provence
There are three lavender types worldwide: 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! The fine lavender grows above an altitude of 800 m, and it is a small plant with a single flower per stem.
Traditionally used for medicinal properties, fine lavender became the region’s ‘blue gold’ when the great perfume makers in Provence 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, that’s why fine lavender is so special!
LAVANDINE (lavandula hybrida) is found all over the world, at altitudes of 0 to 800 m. It is a tall plant with two ramifications, and it grows in large round clumps. As 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 lavandine to obtain 1 liter of essential lavandine oil. The lavandine is used for cleaning products and souvenirs for tourists.
Lavender Season in Provence
The lavender season in Provence is short, usually between mid-June and mid-July until the end of July and the beginning of August.
There are many beautiful places to see lavender fields in Provence, but the blooming window is different for each area. 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 the picture below, too late), it does not work!
Check out our quick guide to the lavender season in Provence by region.
Map of the Best Lavender Fields, Provence
Where to see lavender fields in Provence? We have grouped the best places to see lavender 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 travel tips.
- Plateau de Valensole Lavender Fields (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence)
- Pays de Sault (Vaucluse)
- Luberon Lavender Fields (Vaucluse)
- Drôme Provençale (Drôme)
Best Way to Visit the Provence Lavender Fields
The best way to explore the best lavender fields in Provence is by car. A self-drive holiday in Provence gives you the freedom to explore the beautiful 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 you can stay longer if you like a place!
When we need to rent a car, we use and recommend Discover Cars. This site is excellent because it takes all of the major rental companies, such as Hertz, Avis, etc., and more, and compares prices for you. This helps to ensure that you get a great price without all the time and work. If this is your first trip to France, check out our best tips for renting a car in France and our quick guide to France by car.
BY GUIDED TOUR
The Provence lavender fields are the best lavender fields France has to offer, so you will find many lavender tours with transportation starting from the major cities in the region. These guided tours come with a local guide and are a good option if you are short on time or don’t want to drive in France. Here’s the list of the best-rated lavender tours, starting from different locations:
Best Lavender Fields in Provence
Where to see lavender in Provence? Here’s the list of the best lavender fields Provence has to offer. For a total Provençal experience, we also recommend you the most charming places to stay and other interesting things to see and do nearby.
1. Plateau de Valensole Lavender Fields (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence)
The Plateau de Valensole, in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, is where you will find the most photogenic Provence lavender fields. For many tourists, this is the best place to see lavender fields in Provence, which means that you won’t be alone.
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 tourists from all over the world flock to Valensole during the lavender season in Provence.
The Valensole Plateau is located at a low altitude (<600 m), so you will only find lavandine, and it is more impressive. To see these lavender fields, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille are two good places from where you can start a road trip or take a lavender tour.
We love Valensole’s beautiful landscapes and the feeling of swimming in a violet sea. Next to the Valensole lavender fields, the sunflower and wheat fields are perfect for making beautiful photo compositions. The combination of lavender fields in bloom with harvested lavender fields is beautiful too.
When to visit the Valensole Plateau
Visit the Valensole lavender fields from mid-June to the first week of July.
Where to sleep in the Plateau de Valensole
- Le Jardin de Celina
- Château du Grand Jardin
- Les Terrasses de Valensole
- Villa Borghese (13km from Valensole)
Things to do near the Valensole lavender fields
- Musée de la Lavande (free)
- Valensole Lavender Festival 2024 (Sunday, 21 July 2024)
- Kayak, electric boat at Gorges du Verdon
- Lazy day + dip at Lake Sainte Croix-de-Verdon
- Visit the hilltop villages of Aiguines and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
- Full-day Valensole lavender tour from Aix-en-Provence
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.
2. Pays de Sault (Vaucluse)
The Pays de Sault is the capital of fine lavender. Less touristy than other Provence lavender fields, Pays de Sault is a good place to see the real Provençal lavender without the crowds.
For us, this is the best place to see lavender fields in Provence. Here, you will find some bories (traditional stone huts which served as a barn, stable, or a seasonal dwelling in the XIXth century), and they look great in the middle of the lavender fields. The combination of lavender fields and hilltop villages is very photogenic too.
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!
To see these lavender fields, Avignon is a good place from where you can start a road trip or take a lavender tour. 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
Visit these Provence lavender fields in July, ideally around mid-July, when they are in full bloom.
Where to sleep in Pays de Sault
Things to see and do in Pays de Sault
- Visit the villages of Sault, Aurel, Monieux
- Ferrassières Lavender Festival 2024 (Sunday, 7 July 2024)
- Biking, hiking, or paragliding at Mont Ventoux
- From Avignon, lavender tour of Sault
This Provence lavender route by car explores the best lavender fields in Pays de Sault and Luberon.
GOOD TO KNOW: when looking for accommodation in Provence, 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). A bastide in Provence, instead, 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.
3. Luberon Lavender Fields (Vaucluse)
The Massif du Luberon, near Avignon, boasts some of the best lavender fields in Provence. Located in the department of Vaucluse, the also known as “Avignon lavender fields” are beautiful to see, with the oh-so-pretty hilltop villages and the famous Sénanque Abbey.
The lavender fields near Avignon 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. However, this is a popular place, so be sure to visit early in the morning (ideally before 8 am).
When to visit the Luberon
These lavender fields, Provence, are best explored at the beginning of July.
Where to Sleep in the Luberon
- Hotellerie Notre Dame des Lumières (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
4. 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 the villages of Grignan, Nyons to Vinsobres, Mévouillon (capital of fine lavender), and 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
- Le Clair de la Plume (in Grignan)
- La Ferme Chapouton (in Grignan)
- Le Clos de la Tuilière (in Grignan)
Things to see and do in the Drôme Provençale
- Hilltop village of Grignan and Château de Sévigné
- Visit one of the lavander distilleries in Nyons, Chamaloc,..
And there you have it, the guide to the best lavender fields Provence has to offer and how to get the most out of this beautiful area of Provence. Enjoy!