Best time to travel to Provence & French Riviera

Sunflower Fields in Provence & French Riviera

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

Best time: late June–July

Sunflower Fields
Sunflower Fields
Sunflower Fields

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


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.


Three miles of sunflower fields will delight the eyes of anyone who chooses to visit the Sault, located 76 miles (122 km) from Marseille. The vivid area offers an opportunity to relish outdoor time and astonishing photo spots.

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

When is the best time to go to the sunflower fields in Provence?

In Provence, the sunflower season is in mid-summer, which starts in late June and reaches its peak in early-to-mid July; the season ends at the end of the month. Note that sunflowers might still bloom during the harvesting season in early August. Show more

Where can you find sunflower fields in Provence?

To see beautiful sunflower fields, you can travel along the rural road D942 from Carpentras to Avignon or explore the road between Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Noves. There are sunflower fields near Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, Orange, Manosque, the Valensole plateau in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and the Luberon Villages, featuring alternating fields of lavender and sunflowers. Show more

Aside from sunflowers, what are the other flowers blooming in Provence?

Besides sunflowers, Provence also boasts poppies, gladioli, irises, and daisies in bloom throughout spring and summer. Lavender fields, which peak in late June to early July, are also a must-see. The Valensole plateau is famous for having both blooming lavenders and sunflowers. Show more

How can I be safe in the sunflower fields in Provence?

Be cautious of bees, spiders, and other insects when touring sunflower and lavender fields. If you're allergic to bee stings, take necessary precautions or avoid visiting the fields altogether. Also, remember to protect yourself from sun exposure by applying sunscreen lotion, wearing a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes. Show more

What is the myth originated the idea that sunflowers always face the sun?

In Greek mythology, Apollo, the god of the sun, transformed a water nymph named Clydia into a sunflower after being touched by her despair. He created the flower, which was believed to always face the sun, in honor of her. Although it's not entirely true that sunflowers always face the sun, they do follow where the sun moves to obtain more energy. Show more

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Authors: Olena Basarab