One of my favorite outings in Provence was an excursion to lavender country. In most years the lavender has been harvested by this time, but due to a very cold spring some fields were still in flower. I feel fortunate because I was able to get on the last guided tour of the season (August 15th) and was able to see some of the most beautiful countryside in France.
The tour went through the Luberon Regional Nature Park via the picturesque and unspoiled Combe de Lourmarin. We visited the village of Sault, the lavender capital, and were able to join in the festivities of their annual Lavandes en Fête – celebrating the Lavender harvest.
We spent time in the hilltop top villages of Monieux, Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt and Saignon. (More on these beautiful villages in a future post.)
I hope you enjoy the pictures – I only wish I could have made them “scratch and sniff” so you could enjoy the fragrance that was in the air (everywhere) – it was so sweet!
This little mauve and blue colored flower, is a cousin of thyme, rosemary and sage.
Harvesting is performed by machines or by hand when the lavender reaches the peak of its blossoming season.
Wheat fields and lavender fields are found in the same areas, and often side-by-side. The wheat ripens just before the lavender season, so lavender fields are often bordered by golden bands of grain.
Mont Ventoux is the largest mountain in the region and has been nicknamed the “Beast of Provence”, the “Giant of Provence”, and “The Bald Mountain”. In case you were wondering, that’s not snow a top the mountain, it is bare limestone without vegetation or trees, which makes the mountain’s barren peak appear from a distance to be snow-capped all year round (its snow cover actually lasts from December to April).