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Lavender Fields in France and how to plan the best trip

Lavender Fields in France and how to plan the best trip

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Before going on any trip, I try to do some research – it gives me the feeling of excitement and anticipation. Before our road trip to France, I made a list of things I wanted to see. The lavender fields on Valensole Plateau were one of those things. We missed our planned hikes and plane tour over the Alps in Annecy. We wasted our time in Chateau de Versailles, so I was hoping the lavender fields of Valensole Plateau was going to be the savior of my road trip.

I dreamed of the beautiful purple fields and air filled with a lovely scent of endless fields of lavender. I imagined being a model for my photoshoot. I saw myself “run” through the fields, wear a beautiful long summer dress, wind in my hair and my husband patient enough to take hundreds of shots, to get that perfect one. Every time I think back to that day I always smile.

The location of Lavender fields in Provence

Valensole Plateau in Provence is an area of 800km2 covered with lavenders. The Plateau is situated in the south of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and near the Verdon Gorges – France’s Grand Canyon. There are several charming villages that you can visit on your day trip. If you are staying in South of France Aix-en-Provence, located only 45 miles (70 km) away, is the perfect base for your exploration of Provence, Lavender Fields and Gorges du Verdon. YOU CAN READ MY ARTICLE ON AIX-EN-PROVENCE HERE

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How to visit lavender fields on Valensole Plateau in Provence, France and what to expect

The main lavender fields of Provence are centered on and to the north of Luberon, Verdon plateau regions to the north of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, and to the east of Avignon.

I was so excited to see the lavender fields and had such high hopes. There was not easy to find useful information on the fields exact location. We set our GPS on Valensole and set off from Annecy and over the Alps. We drove for about 4 hours, including one quick stop, in bad weather. Coming over the Alps down to Provence, seeing sunshine made me feel like a little kid before her birthday. We didn’t exactly know where we would end up, but I thought we would figure it out when we got there. I knew we would find some fields because we were there in the middle of the blooming season of lavender.

If you want to tour lavender fields on your own check prices for rental cars here

On this map (which took me a lot of time to make) I marked positions of some of the most Instagramable spots on Valensole Plateau. You can download and print it by clicking on the link below.

DOWNLOAD YOUR PRINTABLE MAP HERE

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Get a free map of Instagram worthy spots on Valensole Plateau in Provence France. Find the best lavender and sunflower fields

Best time to visit lavender fields in France

The blooming season of lavender fields in France is from June to August. The best time to see these purple endless lavender fields blossom will vary slightly from year to year and will depend on rainfall and temperature. Just be aware it is the hottest and the most crowded season. I recommend you to visit the fields just after the bloomings starts, towards the end of June and just before the end of the season, beginning of August.
There are many lavender festivals in Provence during the blooming period. Most of them are a one-day event. The theme is lavender, and there’ll be a vast amount of locally produced lavender products to sample and to buy, but you will also experience local traditions like food, folk music, and arts & crafts.

Lavender market in a nearby village on Valensole Plateau in Provence, France.

The lavender market

Provence is known as the most beautiful region of France. You can visit many charming villages, national park Gorges du Verdon (among several) – French Grand Canyon, lavender fields, sunflower fields and an active monastery. The beautiful, charming small villages on the mountain cliffs are screaming for your attention. The purple and yellow colors of blooming lavender and sunflowers will take your breath away. National parks with mountain lakes, mountain viewpoints, and fantastic nature will leave you in awe.

When I did my research, I found so many beautiful images of the lavender fields on the Valensole Plateau on Instagram. I had my camera ready as we got closer to the destination we added on GPS. I imagined all the beautiful pictures I was going to take and show my friends and family when I got home.

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How to visit lavender fields on Valensole Plateau in Provence, France and what to expect

Since we didn’t have the exact location of these Instagram worthy fields, we stopped at the first field we saw. There were no people, no scent of lavender, no tree and no beautiful sunset (the missing sunset was our fault since we were there in the middle of the day). It was nothing like I have seen on social media. It was hot and dusty, and it was super naive of me to think those pictures were real. I mean they are real but they are a work of art of excellent photographers, and they screw up the reality. On the field, it was us and one Asian couple, who were having their own “photo shoot.” I am not a model and didn’t practice at home, so I just took a few snaps of the field, went into the store and bought some lavender soap, and then we were off to Aix-en-Provence to continue our road trip towards Normandie.

BUT, don’t let my honesty stop you from making your own experience, because it doesn’t have to be like mine. I do believe that lavender fields are beautiful, I just had to do even more research and more planning. I do hope you continue reading because Provence is such a beautiful place and there are tons of things to see and do around the fields. Have a base in one of the beautiful villages around the Valensole Plateau, Aix-en-Provence or Avignon and visit Valensole Plateau as your day trip, or even an afternoon trip so you can get these fantastic sunset shots. You can book your day trip til Valensole from Aix-en-Provence.

Or you can book a day trip to lavender fields of Valensole Plateau from Avignon.

Lavender field on Valensole Plateau in Provence, France

Our lavender field

Things to do and villages to stay in around Plateau of Valensole Provence

You can visit the Lavender Museum located in Cabrrères-D’avignont – Le Musée de la Lavande, where you also can buy lavender products in their shop. There are, however, several shops around the Valensole Plateau where you can get soaps in all shapes, sizes, and forms and dried lavender.
In the village of Riez, an ancient Roman town, every July a colorful two-day Renaissance festival takes place, with processions in traditional costumes, dancing, a local product market, a ball and many shows.
Visit beautiful Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey – a community of Cistercian Monks. The beauty of the architecture and of the valley where the Abbey lies is supposed to be stunning. The Abbey is closed on Sunday mornings and special religious days. They offer one-hour guided tours in French each week. The Abbey is located just near the village of Gordes. Click here to read more about the Abbey.

Lavender fields on Valensole Plateau in Provence, France, Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey

Senanque Abbey – Gordes Courtesy of Hans Braxmeier

If you want to visit Valensole Plateau on a day trip, you can stay in Aix-en-Provence, located just 45 miles (70 km) south of Valensole. YOU CAN READ MY ARTICLE ON AIX-EN-PROVENCE HERE

Gordes village – Cobbled streets and golden stone houses wind their way around a mountaintop, ending up at the majestic 16th-century château. The town has been home to several celebrated French painters, including Marc Chagall. With the sun-baked greenery and jagged rocks surrounding it, it is easy to see how it could inspire. Highlights of the village are the Pol Mara Museum; the ancient, preserved settlements known as ‘bories’; and the joyful summer music festival. Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey is located outside the village. Click on the link to read about it.

Lavender fields on Valensole Plateau in Provence, France, Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey

Senanque Abbey Courtesy of Hans Braxmeier

Roussillon village – Along with Gordes is the most famous village in the Luberon area of Provence. Situated in the heart of one of the most significant ochre deposits in the world, Roussillon is famous for its magnificent red cliffs and ochre quarries. There are several art galleries and studios, and some excellent restaurants where you can appreciate the talent of chefs well-known throughout the region. Click on the link to read more about Roussillon village

Lavender fields on Valensole Plateau in Provence, France, Roussillon

Roussillon Courtesy of Laurent Sartorio

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence village – The town has sun-soaked medieval walls, ornate fountains and one of the oldest arcs de Triomphe in the country, and it can also claim to be the place that inspired some of Van Gogh’s most celebrated works. Surrounded by lush green perfumed valleys, its ancient streets are lined with beautifully restored old houses, old fountains, shady squares, picturesque restaurants and elegant boutiques. Click on the link to read more about Saint-Rémy-de-Provence village.

Lavender fields on Valensole Plateau in Provence, France, The Mausoleum - Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

The Mausoleum – Saint-Rémy-de-Provence Courtesy of Guy Dugas

Sault, France – All around the city lie large blue fields alternating with fields of wheat for as far as you can see. Activities here vary significantly from tasting the local products (nougat, macaroons, and lavender honey) to climbing Mont Ventoux. Click on the link to read more about Sault

Lavender fields on Valensole Plateau in Provence, France, Sault

Sault, France Courtesy of Hans Braxmeier

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How to visit lavender fields on Valensole Plateau in Provence, France and what to expect

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9 Comments

  1. Fab
    July 9, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    Sorry for your bad experience.
    I just came back from France and I just visited the plateau de Valensone (route D56): beautiful!!!
    I was in France from June 23rd until July 7th. Before to go there I called the Tourist office of Valensole to ask when it was the best time to see the lavender fields. I was told that the lavender was a little bit late this year and that the best time to see them was the first week of July. They also told me that on July 10th they would have start to cut it. And when they cut it, its all the fields more or less at the same time. If this year (2018) you go there after July 15th, you want see anything anymore.
    So I was there on July 4th and it was just fabulous! Great colours and a great perfume. The colours are not like the very very purple one in Instagram, but I can assure you that they are really awesome! Here I’m not able to add a picture made with my phone. But I assure it was worth to go there. I was there in 2016 as well and it was also very beautiful. But they cut it earlier: on the first week of July.
    P.S. Route D56 is really good. But note that not all the fields are beautiful. But there are so many….
    I suggest to call the tourist office of Valensole before to go there to make sure it’s the right period to se the fields!

    • Travelletters
      Author
      July 14, 2018 / 8:43 am

      Thank you for the tips! We were there around 10th of July and as you say not all fields are as beautiful as you see on SoMe. To call the tourist office of Valensole would be a great idea 🙂

  2. September 9, 2017 / 11:47 pm

    This is so true! I finally got a permit to the Wave in Arizona and my expectations were so high from social media that I honestly found it underwhelming…

  3. mapsandmuses
    September 5, 2017 / 11:26 pm

    Hahah I completely understand! This has happened to me before too!

  4. September 5, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    It is INSANE what these editing apps can do isn’t it!?!? Love your before/after images.

  5. September 5, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Lena this is such a great and honest post! This has happened to me before, too! Instagram y so filtered these days, so we have mohave little expectation to avoid unpleasant surprises. Nevertheless, I can help you with the exaggerated purple sky! I you wish! Or if you wish to try out the app Snapseed. It’s free and you can add the purple to the field, without adding the color to the sky.

    Hope it helps!! Love to read some honesty!!

  6. September 5, 2017 / 5:41 pm

    Ha ha, you’re lucky that your husband reads your blog posts ;-). I missed the lavender fields in the UK this year and was a bit disappointed but perhaps I shouldn’t be as they were probably a bit overcrowded too

  7. Tracey Best
    September 4, 2017 / 11:03 pm

    Lena, I love your honesty here! Same thing happened to me when I went somewhere in Spain. Back then it was through google images.

  8. September 4, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    Hahaha Oh Lena I feel for you about being so disappointed with the outcome! Good on ya for turning it into a post and being so honest about your experience!

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