Provence – everything lavender

Europe

Who hasn’t seen pictures of lavender fields in the Provence? With them being just in season, I could not pass up the opportunity to see for myself. Transportation can be kind of tricky because, well, those are fields, so don’t count on public transport. Either go by car or take a tour from Avignon (or some other bigger city close by). The tour also included a visit of the village of Gordes which sits on top of a hill.

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village of Gordes

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church in Gordes

We left the village and drove deeper into the countryside. On our way, the guide told us something about the lavender plant. There are different types of lavender, fine lavender only grows in regions higher than 800m in altitude, making la Provence the main location to find it. It can be used to make essential oil which has medical properties and can be used in perfumes. 130kg of flowers go into 1l of oil. From what I’ve learned, there is only one flower per stem.

Then there is the more common lavendin which is a cross between true lavender and spike lavender, making it a sterile plant. It grows in most places all over the world from sea level up to 800m in altitude (so maybe also in your garden). Several flowers can be found on the same stem as they grow in spikes, the smell is much stronger than true lavender. Therefore, it is used to make household products. For 1l of essential oil only 40kg of flowers are needed, making it a lot cheaper than lavender essential oil.

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After some more driving, we caught glimpses of blue and purple patches in between green crops, and soon we were driving through rows and rows of tiny little purple flowers. We have reached the lavender fields! I could have spent a lot more time there happily taking pictures, and I was tempted to join the group of people painting in watercolors (they looked so relaxed!).

 

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After our stop in the fields, we headed to our last destination which was a small village called Sault, famous for all things lavender. Lavender sachets, lavender essentiel oil, postcards, posters, mugs, calendars, pretty much lavender everything. I tried some lavender ice cream and it was surprisingly delicious; sweet, with a subtle floral aroma.

 

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lavender ice cream

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