Bike Riding around the Lavender Fields in Provence
Early July is the peak of colour in the lavender fields surrounding us.
Whilst I cycled it would be a very pleasant drive and encompasses some spectacular scenery.
From Saint Saturnin Les Apt, I took the D179 towards Rustrel and then turned left onto the D34 which takes 12 kilometres to reach Lagarde d’Apt at just over 1000 metres altitude.
Continue reading here for David’s explanation of his whole cycling route, a bike ride loop of 96km and elevation gain of 1730M – not for the faint of heart. However, you could drive the same route and enjoy the views of the lavender fields just as much.
Lavender Essentials in Provence
The lavender industry in Provence is a significant economic driver impacting agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and retail. There are 2,000 producers and roughly 25,000 people employed in the industry. The main growing areas are the four (4) departments the Drôme, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Vaucluse, with some small production in the Auvergne, Quercy and the Ardèche (source: FranceAgriMer). Over 20,000 hectares are under cultivation. According to France 24, “The number of producers has grown from 1,000 to around 1,400 and France now also has 120 distilleries.” Read more here.
Did you know that lavender is a family of Lamiaceae plants that includes several species? Part of the mint family, there are 39 varieties of lavender. Although we typically associate lavender with purple flowers, the varietals include many colours, from deep blue to white. The plants love the dry, sandy, rocky soil typical of southern France. A relatively easy plant to grow. Lavender is well-suited to the Provencal climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters; the plants require minimal care.