Where to See Lavender in Provence

..The Most Luxurious Ways to Enjoy It

When you think of France’s Provence region, you may imagine driving or cycling past vast, bright fields of fragrant lavender, standing out in vibrant purple rows against a quaint Provencal farmhouse in old stone. This image is actually quite realistic: France has a long and rich history of lavender production that stretches back hundreds of years. The aromatic flowering plant, which is actually a member of the mint family, has been used since at least the medieval period to make traditional products from perfume and cosmetics to syrups, honey, and potpourris. It has also long been appreciated for its medicinal powers, and for its proven ability to calm nerves and aid in restful sleep.

Read related: Take a tempting bespoke tour of Provence

Owing to the stunning beauty of the lavender fields and to the high quality of the products that are made from their yields, lavender is a major industry and tourism draw card in this region. On a high-end vacation or honeymoon, it can serve as the theme of a romantic, relaxing getaway. If you’re wondering where to see lavender in Provence, read on. We point you to some of the most luxurious ways to enjoy the mythical botanical, from witnessing the most gorgeous lavender fields to indulging in one of the area’s best spas.

Avilion
These little blue flowers with their splendidly haunting perfume will make you marvel at the beauty of nature in Provence...

When is lavender in bloom in Provence?

Unfortunately, the window for seeing lavender in bloom at its most stunning is rather narrow: at least during an average year, the peak times are between June and early August. If you’re interested in creating a themed holiday that includes seeing and enjoying the aromatic flower at its peak, you’ll have to plan on a summer getaway. For even more color, see the sunflowers in bloom at the same time—July is when they’re at their own peak.

lavender in Provence: a house in a lavender field during Provence tours
When is lavender in bloom in Provence?

Lavender sightseeing in the Luberon Region

One region that’s celebrated for its iconic Provencal lavender fields of bright purple blooms is the Luberon. The nearest large city is Avignon. Plot your trip (or have it plotted for you by an expert) through the famed high plateaux that surround the area known as Sault, then around Mont Ventoux and the Valréas areas. The villages of Simiane la Rotonde, Apt and Gordes feature particularly lovely fields; the old, emblematic farmhouses and production facilities that overlook them are often equally breathtaking.

The Old Abbey at Sénanque 

Perhaps most stunning and iconic of all, though, is the Sénanque Abbey, situated near the town of Gordes in the Vaucluse region. This medieval abbey, established in the 12th century, is still occupied by Cistercian monks, who grow lavender and honey as sources of livelihood. This is a place of timeless peace and elegance, and an essential stop on any lavender-centric excursion around Provence.

People picking up lavender in Provence
Sénanque Abbey

Lavender Distilleries and Museums

For those who want a closer look at the history of lavender farming and the production of products such as perfumes and cosmetics, a visit to a distillery can be fascinating. Many are found in the villages mentioned above—see this page for a list by scrolling down. Meanwhile, the Lavender Museum in Coustellet traces the history of the flower known as “blue gold” across 1,000 years, from its early medicinal uses to modern production processes. The on-site lavender fields and old “Chateau du Bois” farmhouse are idyllic sites, and in the boutique you can purchase high-quality essential oils, cosmetics and other products luxuriously laced with the product.

Lavender in Provence
Lavender Distillerie and Museums

Other Luxurious & Relaxing ways to spend your Getaway

The Luberon is home to several high-end hotels and spas, making an ideal place to unwind after a day of visiting the area by car or bicycle.

La Bastide de Marie hotel and spa in the town of Ménerbes offers a high-end experience from all standpoints; its Pure Altitude spa includes treatments that feature lavender essential oils, while the gastronomic onsite restaurant use lavender in many of their gourmet dishes and desserts. For true gourmets who like a hands-on approach, the hotel also organizes truffle-hunting workshops.

Another place touted as the very best in the region is La Bastide de Gordes, located in the town of Gordes: The Telegraph called it one of the five best luxury hotels in France ever reviewed, giving it a 10/10 rating for its sumptuous rooms, stunning views over the surrounding region, gastronomic menus from Michelin star Chef Pierre Gagnaire and crème de la crème service. The onsite spa uses products from Sisley and features a stunning indoor pool—ideal for the occasional rainy Provencal day.

Last on our list is the Hostellerie du Val du Sault, a tad more rustic, but charming four-star hotel at the foot of Mont Ventoux that features a gastronomic restaurant, Regain. Headed by chef Jeremy Gattechaut, it places a strong emphasis on lavender and other regional products in its highly praised cuisine. Whether or not you choose to stay here, an evening meal here might be the perfect way to end a lavender-centric day in the region.

The Bastide de Gordes in Provence
Bastide de Gordes

Getting there

The Avignon airport is closest to the region’s most stunning lavender fields, but you can also land in Marseille or Nîmes and then rent a car for a longer drive. If you’re staying in the Luberon, a cycling excursion can be truly relaxing—and you’ll likely get stronger whiffs of the fields as you ride past. 

Lavender in Provence from the sky
Getting there

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