Provence in Lavender Season Purple Fields Forever
I love our little corner of Provence, all year round, but there is something incredibly special about the time of year, when the area turns purple, with the Lavender fields exploding with colour, filling the air with scent as the flowers gently brush against each other in the breeze.
The fields look beautiful, even in the depths of winter, with their sage-green stripes adding detail to the soft winter landscape
But from mid-June, the first blush of purple starts to show on the green spikes, when the buds start to burst, and the colours just get more vivid, before reaching their height in mid-July, when the harvest starts to take place. Continue reading here for Julie’s photos of the lovely lavender fields of Provence.
Lavender Essentially 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.”
The fragrance of blooming lavender fields is magical. Your eyes follow perfect rows of plants shaped like hedgehogs stretching to the Provencal horizon. This aromatic purple beauty attracts thousands of tourists and locals, hoping to time their visit for the peak of the flowering cycle. However, Mother Nature is in charge. The precise timing of flowering changes annually, depending on the weather. Typically, some fields are in full bloom by late June, and the harvest is mostly complete by mid-August. Read about distilling lavender.
A 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 that is 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.
There are many lavender-themed festivals throughout teh season, but the finale is always in Sault in mid-August. The Fête de la Lavande (Lavender Festival) is held every year in Sault on the August 15th holiday, for over 30 years. It is a day filled with the scent and colour of lavender. There are lavender-based products including local kinds of honey. Books on lavender. A small distilling operation and even a “parade.”
Recipes with Lavender