Lavender is a big deal in Provence. In fact, lavender has even been described as the “soul” of Provence.
There are multiple lavender fields that you can visit this part of France, each one more breathtaking than the next.
Actually witnessing the blooming bright fields for your own eyes is shocking to say the least.
As you take in the unmatched sights you will also be able to smell the lovely hue of lavender all throughout the air.
Not only are the smells powerful, evoking strong and peaceful memories, but the natural beauty remains untouched and surreal.
Just near Mont-Ventoux, these lavender fields are like nothing you have ever seen before. The highest concentrations of lavender fields are located on the high plateaux around Sault and Apt and Gordes. Here, you will find endless rows of flowers in full bloom between June and August.
Lavender is a part of the Lamiaceae botanical family, which also includes mint, savory, and thyme.
It is believed that the first lavender plants originated in the Canary Islands or Persia (modern day Iran). Regardless of where the purple flower got its start, it has grown to accumulate a vast history.
Greek civilizations considered lavender one of the ‘precious plants’.
And the Romans used lavender to wash and called it lavandula—which literally means, to wash. The Romans also discovered how to extract the essential oils from lavender to use it as a perfume.
During the Middle Ages a shift occurred, and lavender began to be used as more than just a beauty product, but for its medicinal powers as well.
Today, the largest cultivation of lavender takes place in Provence, while the majority of lavender extracts are used for perfumes and pharmacology.
Years ago only women would harvest and sell lavender while men tended to the other farm duties. To create large flower fields it was often necessary to call in extra help from laborers available in nearby countries.
Since then, things have gotten a whole lot easier with the availability of harvesting machines.
But until 1952, when harvesting machines became available, all harvesting was done by hand with a sickle; can you imagine how much time that would take?
In Provence, lavender symbolizes local history and beauty, and with so much lavender in abundance it gets put to good use in the local community.
It is regularly used to create cosmetics, perfumes, soaps and some restaurants even use it to spice up the local cuisine.
To try the taste of lavender you can order lavender sorbet or lavender honey. Can’t get enough lavender? Provence also hosts festivals that revolve around the powerful purple plant. Plus, there are a number of other lavender attractions, including a local factory that churns lavender into essential oils.
There are a number of ways you can enjoy the sights and smells of these flower fields, by bike, foot, or car. If you are as smitten with sweet-smelling flowers as we are, the lavender fields in Provence are calling your name. If you do decide to take a visit, your nose, eyes, and other senses, all thank you in advance.
Fun Facts About Lavender Flowers:
-Lavenders were a favorite flower to the Bourbon Kings, Napoleon and his second wife, Marie Louise.
-Parma violets are the sweetest smelling lavender of the bunch.
-Lavender has healing properties known to sooth sore throats, digestive issues, muscle aches, skin conditions, and a number of other ailments.
-Lavender is said to have calming properties which can help reduce stress and inner turmoil.
There are different strains of lavender flowers; some are a deeper shade of purple while others stand out in more shocking shades of blue.