If there’s one image that sparks dreams of Provence, it’s that of lavender fields stretching as far as the eye can see. Medicinal properties, a delicate fragrance and dazzling landscapes: from mid-June to late August, the countryside is swathed in the finest blue robes all the way to the horizon…
Lavender is a star!
The guest of honour of our summer fairs
Provence’s blue gold has been flourishing here for centuries and Digne-les-Bains has been honouring it every year for the last decades! The breathtaking Corso de la Lavande lavender parade celebrates our iconic plant to the sound of music… Thousands of sachets are handed out to visitors at this beautiful heritage event, redolent with the typical perfume of the South of France. On the road to Vaucluse, at the foot of Mont Ventoux, Sault is celebrating the 35th edition of the Lavender Fair this year with a myriad of pretty floats. With a scythe in hand, you can even take part in France’s fun and friendly lavender harvesting championship! Hop over to the Citadel in Sisteron for the magnificent Nuits de la Citadelle music, dance and theatre festival: this open-air theatre boasts stunning views over lavender fields as far as the eye can see.
The queen of beauty and wellbeing
It’s time to move on to Valensole Plateau, where the family firm Terraroma Jaubert has been producing its own lavender and lavandin essential oil for 4 generations while flying the flag of authentic expertise through traditional distillation techniques. Nestling in Haute Provence’s most beautiful scenery, the Angelvin family leads you on a not-to-be-missed lavender-scented voyage into their manufacturing secrets. The Provencal ambassador of blue gold, L’Occitane has made lavender its star product and the sublime key ingredient of their cosmetics range. Enjoy a little pampering by L’Occitane at the Hôtel Spa du Couvent des Minimes, a haven of tranquillity in the heart of the Luberon. Lavender is everywhere here, right down to the plate – the herb garden is just a step away from the chef’s illustrious table…
Lavender, a captivating companion
Picturesque walks and endless views
Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey in Gordes is quite simply one of Provence’s most iconic sites. Dating back nearly a thousand years, its primitive Cistercian architecture is tucked away amid blue lavender fields exhaling heady scents… Just an hour down the road, Sault is home to the “Chemin des Lavandes”: a 4-km lavender walk dotted with information panels on this emblematic plant and its origins. Pause awhile to gaze at Mont Ventoux in the distance. If you’d rather pedal, the Tour de l’Enclave des Papes is a must-do cycling itinerary suitable for all levels. Ride along the vineyards, stop off for a welcome rest in Grillon, then saddle up for the final stretch to the tip of Valréas – what a view! Last but definitely not least, the Route de la Lavande (lavender route) stretches from Vaucluse to the Southern Alps. As Jean Giono put it so well, “Our walks will be fragrant and colourful!”
Lavender, a guardian of ancient know-how
A voyage through history
While you’re visiting the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence area, discover the fascinating story of Salagon and its remarkable garden, closely tied to that of lavender. The 1,700 plants on show at this remarkable site beautifully illustrate how man can work in harmony with nature. Plunge into the garden’s ethnobotanical treasures: the Garden of Simples where village plants flourish, Medieval Garden and Garden of Modern Times… genuine odes to fragrance in every season. The Musée de la Lavande in Cabrières-d’Avignon in the Luberon teaches you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Provence’s blue gold, with a series of captivating immersive tours on various themes including production secrets, harvesting, distillation and the many properties and everyday uses of lavender for all the family.
Push open the door to a distillery
A soothing cloud of fragrance wafts through the air… the Distillerie Aroma’Plantes offers free tours during the distillation season. What’s more, you can enjoy a voyage back to the origins of lavender with the Lavandoscope, where you’ll learn all about distillation, harvesting and production – you’ll even go home with your own bottle of elixir! The Distillerie les Agnels was founded in Apt in 1895 and the Agnel family’s passion for lavender has never ceased to burn for 5 generations. Enjoy a tour of their fields and breathe in the heady scents of cut flowers… Wind up your tour in Sault, where Thierry and Sylvie welcome you at the Distillerie du Vallon for a fascinating foray into ancient distillation techniques. If you’re visiting in summer, you’ll be just in time for the extraction period – a precious Provencal tradition you won’t want to miss.