Carolyne Kauser-AbbottFrench Decor & GardensInspire

Lavender in Provence 7 Best Places to Visit

Lavender blooms for a relatively short time in Provence. Like any plant, the exact peak flowering time depends on several factors, including weather and altitude. Generally, the lavender fields in the South of France peak in early July and are harvested by mid-August. Many people plan their trips specifically to see the lavender blooming. However, outside of peak season, there are other places where you can learn about Provencal lavender.

This article highlights seven (7) places to see lavender and understand more about this important crop in Provence.

Lavender Provence Artisans Recipes

What is True Lavender?

Before discussing where to see lavender in Provence, let’s review the plant itself. Lavender is part of the Lamiaceae family – flowering mint, and 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 Mediterranean climate and dry, sandy, rocky soil typical of southern France. A relatively easy perennial to grow, lavender is well-suited to the hot, dry summers and cold winters; the plants require minimal care.

Lavender vs Lavandin

Lavandula angustifolia is the scientific name for fine lavender, or the ‘true lavender,’ also called ‘officinal lavender.’ It grows exclusively at an altitude of above 2600 feet. This lavender plant is identifiable by its relatively small stem compared to other varieties, with only one flower. Its flower is slightly purple-blue but more open than the lavandin flower. This is the best for perfumers because of its delicate scent. The essential oil of fine lavender is extracted via a distillation process and is believed to have medicinal virtues.

Lavandula latifolia, or ‘aspic lavender,’ grows at altitudes above 2000 feet. The plant is larger than fine lavender but with smaller stems. The scent of this variety is very camphoric. This variety is mainly found in Spain and Portugal.

Lavandula hybrida is a hybrid combination of the previous two varieties, and it grows at lower altitudes (200 – 1,000m above sea level) than fine lavender. Lavandin (the French name) is a robust plant with long green stems forming a ball-shaped tuft. A single lavandin stem has three blue-purple flower spikes that are blue, almost purple. This plant blooms later than fine lavender. Lavandin oil has a strong fragrance and is often used as an insect repellant. Since lavandin is a clone, the plants have identical biological footprints propagated by cuttings.

Read: Lavender Essentials

Where to See Lavender

1. Valensole Plateau

Perhaps the most well-known lavender growing area is the Valensole Plateau near the Verdon Regional Natural Park. Located in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department, the Valensole Plateau at 590m above sea level is ideal for growing lavender and other drought-resistant plants. There are many large producers along with smaller farms in this area. When the fields are in full flower, the purple lavender plants appear to stretch to the horizon. However, it is immensely popular, and many farmers have had to put up fences and other barriers to keep inconsiderate visitors from trampling the precious plants.

Valensole Lavender Provence Highlights Trip Planning

2. Sault

Often referred to as the “Capital of Lavender,” Sault sits atop a hill overlooking a pastoral valley. It is also the third option for those hoping to climb Mont Ventoux by bike, so aside from lavender fields, you will see lots of lycra-clad cyclists and expensive road bikes. The village hosts a Lavender Festival on the 15th of August. Fête de la lavande is the final celebration of the season, but not one without fanfare. The Sault lavender festival happens annually (rain or shine). It’s a family-friendly festival day with traditional lavender-cutting demonstrations, a market, arts and crafts, horse and buggy rides and more.

Sault Lavender Festival August Fete de Lavande

©Vaucluse Dreamer

While in Sault, an excellent place to stop for a bite to eat or a walk in their fields is La Ferme aux Lavandes. It is a family-run operation, so please book in advance.

La Ferme aux Lavandes (website)
Route du Mont Ventoux
84390 Sault
Telephone: +33 (0)4 90 64 11 37
The lovely owner, Catherine, will most likely be in the garden or roadside boutique. Please make sure to buy something from her store.

Aroma’Plantes Distillery is a family-run farm that grows organic medicinal and aromatic plants. Open all year, with varied hours.

Distillerie Aroma’ Plantes (website)
Route du Mont Ventoux
84390 Sault
Telephone: +33(0)4 90 64 14 73
Impressive operation and large boutique.

Website for the Fête de Lavande.

3. Luberon Valley

There are fields throughout the Luberon Valley near Apt, Bonnieux, Jouques, Menerbes, Saignon, and the photogenic Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey near Gordes. However, the timing for cutting the fields depends on Mother Nature and the farmer.

Lavender l'Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque Provence @ShutrsSunflowrs

The Abbaye de Sénanque is adjacent to Gordes, and in the summer months, both are extremely popular with visitors. The Abbey can be a mass of people at the height of the lavender season, with everyone attempting to get that perfect shot of the lavender rows framing the Cistercian monastery. However, this part of the Luberon is magical for hiking in the off-season.

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque
84220 Gordes
Hours/reservations individuals: +33 (0)4 90 72 18 24
Hours/reservations groups:+33 (0)4 90 72 18 24

9 Luberon Villages to Visit

Whether it’s the lavender season or not, you will learn much about the crop and its importance to the region at the Musée de la Lavande in Coustellet. Established in 1992 by the Lincelé Family, the visitor discovers the ‘true lavender of Provence’ – Lavandula angustifolia. The facility is open from February to December.

Musée de la Lavende
276 Route de Gordes,
84220 Coustellet
Telephone: +33 (0)4 90 76 91 23
Reservations are highly recommended.

Distillerie Les Angels
Hameau des Agnels,
Route de Buoux,
84400 Apt
Telephone:+33 (0)4 90 04 77 00

4. Near Aix-en-Provence

Terre Ugo is a 7-hectare family farm located on the outskirts of Aix in Puyricard. In 2017, the family planted 30,000 organic Lavandin Grosso plants on a portion of the property. Now, during the peak of the flowering season, you can visit Terre Ugo to walk through the fields, take a workshop, have a meal, or shop in the boutique.

Terre Ugo near Aix

Terre Ugo ©Camille Moirenc

At Terre Ugo, the family planted Lavandin Grosso, a fragrant hybrid that crosses lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) and spike lavender (Lavandula Latifolia). This varietal is well-suit to dry, arid conditions and grows at lower altitudes from 200-1,000 metres. Lavandin Grosso is a choice for many farmers as it is a hardy shrub with deep-purple flowers, an intense bouquet, and a high essential oil yield.

Terre Ugo is a 100% organic estate that follows an environmentally friendly protocol with no treatments or additional water. They even “invite” a sheep herd of roughly 30 animals to visit in winter and take care of some natural weeding. Read more about this unique farm.

5. Near the Gorges du Verdon

The Gorges du Verdon is one of France’s most beautiful natural sites and the largest canyon in Europe. Carved by the Verdon River through the limestone, the gorge’s cliffs are 700m high in some places. It’s a beautiful place for those who enjoy the great outdoors. Many people prefer to unwind on the sunny riverside beaches or rent a pedal boat for a relaxing tour down the river. But for thrill-seekers, the Gorges offers many activities, including power boat rentals, white water rafting, rock climbing, paragliding, and challenging hiking trails.

Gorges du Verdon Var Provence

While the Gorges du Verdon is not a destination and Man for lavender fields, there are plenty of opportunities to see the flowering plants nearby. There are some fields close to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and Manosque. Drive through the region, and you will likely find some beautiful areas.

Shop for Lavender Products

6. Jabron Valley

In a country such as France, with a rich, complex history and endless stunning vistas, one is hard-pressed to pick a favourite place. Drive through the Haute Provence Vallée du Jabron; you may have discovered that place. Start outside Sisteron and head westward along the D946 through tiny hamlets. The villages along the way are Bevons, Valbelle, Noyers sur Jabron, St Vincent sur Jabron, Chateauneuf Miravail, Lange, Curel, Montfroc and Les Omergues. To describe these hamlets as small is an exaggeration. These are tiny outposts in the valley along the flow of the Jabron River, surrounded by the peaks of Montagne de Lure and Mount Ventoux in the distance.

Lavender fields Jabron Valley

The Jabron Valley’s rolling fields are a glimpse of Provence from a more pastoral era, before mega-outlet malls and online shopping. In a farming community, the local population manages with Mother Nature’s moods cultivating the land regardless of what she delivers. This area can experience annual temperature swings of 50˚C from the coldest to the hottest days. The Jabron Valley is an agricultural centre where almonds, truffles, sheep, wheat, goat cheese, honey, and saffron are found. And If you time it right, the lavender is blooming. Like the rest of France, there are ancient churches, chapels and châteaux. The uncrowded hiking and biking trails reward sporty types.

Saffron in the Jabron Valley

7. Drome Provencal

The Drôme Provençale, despite the name and the Mediterranean landscapes, is technically part of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and not Provence. As a result of its natural setting, the Drôme Provençale has several food specialties that intersect the culinary boundary between the South and North. If you have driven on the A7 (Autoroute du Soleil), you have likely passed the western edge of the Drôme, which is why it is considered the “Gateway to Provence.” Driving through this départment, you will see olive groves, lavender fields, grapevines, charming hilltop villages and even a castle. Named after the Drôme River, the départment feels like Provence, where time stood still.

Valensole Lavender Fields Provence

A Final Purple Word

Remember that lavender is a crop, so the blooming times vary yearly depending on weather conditions. Since it is a crop, growing this plant is how the farmers make a living, so please be respectful if you stop to take photos. Also, it’s a good idea to check local sources for the latest updates on lavender season visiting. Enjoy the stunning lavender landscapes of Provence!


Please share this with friends and family.

All rights reserved. Perfectly Provence articles and other content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten (including translations into other languages) or redistributed without written permission. For usage information, please contact us.
Syndication Information
Affiliate Information
As an Amazon Associate, this website earns from qualifying purchases. Some recipes, posts and pages may have affiliate links. If you purchase via these links, we receive a small commission that does not impact your price. Thank you in advance for supporting our work to maintain Perfectly Provence.
Previous post

Pharaohs in France? This Year’s Program at the Carrières des Lumières

Next post

Visit Lee Ufan Arles for Contemporary Art

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.