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Best time to travel to Provence & French Riviera

Lavender Fields in Bloom

One of the first things that come to mind when you think of Provence is a magnificent lavender field

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Fragrant blooming lavender fields have become the iconic part of the Provençal culture. It's been used here for hundreds of years to make cosmetics and also in the cuisine, added to honey, sorbets, and ice cream. If you visit Province in the summer you will definitely see the stunning purple fields that have become symbolic of the region. The harvesting season takes place during July and August.

Most lavender fields are located in Alpes de Haute Provence region, to the north of Aix-en-Provence. Lavender farms are numerous near the Luberon Forest, on Verdon plateau, as well as around the towns of Sault and Valensole. The flowers start to bloom in mid-June, with peak blooming season falling in mid-July. The Plateau de Sault and the Plateau de Valensole villages hold several festivals dedicated to this beautiful plant. During the celebrations, ​there's live music, lavender cutting competitions, lavender games and markets with fresh lavender products. So get yourself a glass of wine and join the locals dressed in traditional costumes celebrating their purple gold!

Most farms open their doors to tourists from April through October, as lavender tours are a big part of their business. You can stop by Lavender Museum in Cabrieres d’Avignon to get information about the local farms and lavender products. Some of the largest farms in the area include Distillerie Les Angels in Luberon, Distillerie du Vallon in Sault, GAEC Aroma’Plantes in Sault, Ho! Bouquet de Lavande in Sault, La Ferme de Gerbaud in Lourmarin near Luberon massif, and Distillerie les Coulets in Luberon.

Notre-Dame de Senanque is one of the most famous lavender sites in Provence. An acting Cistercian abbey dating back to 1148 is located next to the village of Gordes in Vaucluse department. The abbey surrounded by lavender fields hosts guided tours in French a few times per day Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, there is a mass and no tours. It's also closed to tourists on some Catholic holidays.

By the way, while visiting lavender fields be careful with snakes that sometimes like to nestle in the bushes!

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