Here is the second part of our trip to Provence last July. We lucked out on timing and happened to be in Provence around the peak lavender season. What we didn’t expect were the endless fields of sunflowers that rolled off into the horizon.
We found this spot while driving from village to village. There were several fields along the way and sunflower patches casually sprinkled along the country side.
Lavender. I couldn’t believe I’d ever have the chance to see these fields in person. Be careful to check with locals about which fields are still uncut though. Global warning has led to warmer temperatures earlier in the season, which means the lavender could reach full bloom earlier than a lot of guides you read. We spent about two days driving out to see various lavender fields.
One of the most famous is probably at the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque below. This also happens to be next to Gordes, which was one of the most beautiful and perhaps wealthiest towns we saw. We wanted to be there for sunrise photos with the foggy morning haze, but admittedly had trouble getting up. Be sure to check the service schedule as this is an active abbey and you won't be able to enter certain regions during those hours. You'll still be able to see the stunning views, but beware this is a highly trafficked tourist spot (one of the few locations we went to where we saw buses of people). Come early if you can, or later for sunset.
Our lovely host (who lived nearby) had just taken her granddaughter and gave us several recommendations with directions. We started one of our drives from Saint Saturnin lès Apt through Sault, Montbrun les Bains, and Ferrassières. The countryside here was covered in lavender fields.
Along the roadside, we met with some vendors who were selling lavender products including essential oils, lavender pouches, soaps, etc. Here, we also learned there were two main types of lavender - lavender (the true medicinal and more expensive type, but smaller plant and less fragrant) and lavendin (a hybrid that grows larger in size and is more fragrant, more common in photos we see, less expensive).
We visited the famous Plateau de Valensole around golden hour. One of our favorite spots was next to Lavande Angelvin. It smelled so fragrant and felt utterly peaceful out here. There aren't any signs, but you'll see a few people parked along the roadside around larger, unharvested fields. The fields are large enough that you can still feel quite peacefully alone with nature. This was probably my favorite spot for viewing lavender.
I am so grateful we had a chance to experience a little bit of Provence. Good luck planning your trip to Provence and let me know if you have any questions about our trip! Come see the beautiful fields of sunflowers & lavender. Enjoy the fresh produce, meet the locals, and let the relaxing ambiance lull you into imagining yourself living here.