Best time to travel to Provence & French Riviera

Sunflower Fields

Bright-yellow sunflower fields provide a beautiful contrast to the lush purple rows of lavender

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Sunflowers are not as praised as the iconic lavender in Provence, however, sunflower fields ("champs de tournesol" in French) are no less picturesque. If you're visiting Provence between late June and July, you'll be in awe from wonderful vividly yellow fields of sunflowers spanning next to the renowned purple lavender hills. The rows of sunflowers are often designed to divide the fields too. You'll never forget these unique sceneries! Van Gogh himself was inspired by it.

Best time to see sunflowers in France

Generally, the sunflower season in France is mid-summer, slightly differing by region. In Provence, sunflowers start blooming already in late June, reaching their peak in early-to-mid July. The season continues until the end of the month. The sunflower harvest gets underway in early August. However, some fields might still be flowering. The sunflower season overlaps with a world-famous Tour de France. And cyclists have all chances to glimpse stupendous yellow fields on their way as the route usually embraces some of the Provence sunflower spots. Note that sunflowers are in full bloom at the height of summer, so don't forget to take sunscreen lotion, a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes. Also, be aware that lavender and sunflower fields are very much favored by bees, spiders, and other bugs. So be cautious.

Where to see sunflower fields in Provence?

To capture beautiful sunflower fields, take the rural road D942 from Carpentras to Avignon or a road between Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Noves. There are several fields near Orange, Manosque, and also around Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade. You will see endless fields of tall sunflowers pointing their heads to greet the sun.

Fields of lavender & sunflowers

Valensole

One of the best places to spot both sunflowers and lavender is the Valensole plateau in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. You can check it out on the way to the famous Verdon Gorge. The plateau is surrounded by the small villages of Esparron-de-Verdon, Saint-Martin-de-Brômes, and Riez. They hold special flower festivities during the summer.

Luberon Villages

Picturesque Luberon Villages are protected by a Regional Nature Park also boast alternating fields of lavender and sunflowers. Take one of the scenic routes from Bonnieux. You can opt for the northwest direction to Lacoste, Gordes, and Château du Bois. Or drive northeast to the small village of Rustrel and enjoy equally breathtaking landscapes painted with colors.

Myth on why the sunflower turns to the sun?

There's a Greek myth about the origin of the sunflower. It says that Apollo, the god of the sun, had two mistresses, sister water nymphs named Clydia and Leucothoé. Once Clydia got jealous and told their father, Ocean, about the liaison. Out of fury, he buried his younger daughter alive. Afterward, Apollo left Clydia. When Apollo noticed her despair, he was so touched, as to turn her into a sunflower so that she always rose towards the sun.

Practical info

What time of year do sunflowers bloom in France?

Between late June and early August, but mostly in July.

When can you see the lavender fields in Provence?

The top location include Luberon Forest, Plateau de Sault, Plateau de Valensole, and Notre-Dame de Senanque.

What is the best time of year to visit Provence?

It depends on what you wish to see and do during your visit. Spring and fall are recommended for moderate weather and crowds.

What is the best month for sunflowers?

July

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