The words Provence & lavender have become so synonymous with each other over the decades that you can hardly mention one without the other: The dusky purple shades and delicate fragrances that decorate its fields every summer are now so emblematic of the region, and even of France itself, that the Provence lavender fields have very much become a tourist attraction in their own right.
Lavender is not exclusive to Provence or even to France; there are lavender farms to be found in many parts of the world, as far a field as New South Wales & Western Australia, Tuscany & Sicily, Italy, and even in fact in some southerly regions of the UK., but none of these regions can compete with Provence in terms of tradition, and of sheer scale.
Provence Lavender Season 2018: Where & When?
The main lavender fields of Provence are centered around the Luberon, the plateau region to the north of Aix-en-Provence and to the east of Avignon, with the flowering season being generally from mid June to early August, though it can vary slightly from year to year depending on rainfall and temperature. Higher up on the plateau, especially around the town of Sault for example, the colder weather means the blooming season is slightly later. The map here will give you a general idea of the best areas, but this is not to say you won’t find lavender fields outside these zones.
Unfortunately there is no way to tell exactly when they will start to bloom in 2018, because, as mentioned, it is very much dependent on the weather and no forecast can ever be accurate that far ahead. In 2017 the blooming season was already well underway in most of the Luberon by the middle of June with harvest time starting in early to mid July on lower altitudes and up until mid August higher up on the plateau around the Sault.
If you are an early booker, and maybe you should as the best accommodation options are usually booked well ahead of time, to be absolutely, 100%, sure of seeing the lavender fields in 2018 book your trip away from the beginning and end of the season, i.e. be in Provence any time from late June to the end of July and you will not be disappointed.
Provence Lavender Season 2018: Best Places To Visit.
Le Musée de la Lavande
For those of you who’d like a bit of background on the subject, you could take in a trip to the Le Musée de la Lavande: The Museum of Lavender, in the quietly charming dry stone village of Cabrieres d’Avignon. You’ll find much information about the industry, both past and present here, about the planting, harvesting and distillation of lavender and from the start of July to mid August they showpiece Provence lavender distillation techniques from the early 1900’s using a traditional open flame still. And they sell many lavender products too, having a range of their own natural cosmetics and essential oils.
Notre-Dame de Senanque
Notre-Dame de Senanque might be considered another must see in Provence; a Cistercian abbey near the village of Gordes in Vaucluse-en-Provence. The Abbey was founded in 1148 by Cistercian monks and is a interesting and rewarding visit all by itself, made all the more rewarding by its position in a lovely valley and by the acres of gorgeous lavender that surround it.
Visitors are welcome, but are told to be aware that it is not a museum or tourist site; its a fully functioning monastery, so you’re advised to be respectful; no wandering in and out or taking photos or videos during church services for example, and try to be maintain silence as much as possible.
Provence Lavender Farms & Distilleries:
Journeying around the Luberon you’ll find quite a few lavender farms & distilleries that you are welcome to visit, all of them also selling ranges of their own Provence lavender products; at the very least essential oils and scented waters. Here are a few that we’d recommend:
Distillerie Les Agnels
Distillerie Les Agnels is an organic lavender farm & distillery along Route de Buoux south of Apt, in the village of Les Agnels. It opens all year, and does its own range of organic essential oils. Visitors are welcome to tour the farm and production lines and also take a dip in its indoor pool, filled with therapeutic levels of lavender water.
GAEC Aroma’Plantes is another organic, eco-friendly farm open all year with free visits and tours of the farm. They produce lavender oils for therapeutic and medicinal purposes which you can buy on site. You’ll find them on Route du Ventoux just outside Sault.
Distillerie les Coulets
Distillerie les Coulets is a lovely old style distillery, which uses traditional open fire methods to produce its own Provence lavender products. It’s a fascinating process to watch and you get a nice feeling of being taken back in time a little. You can visit year round to buy its nice range of lavender products, but the distillery itself is only open for tours in July and August. You’ll find it just outside the town of Apt. They don’t have a website but you can reach them at Tel: 04 90 74 07 55.
These are just a few examples but you will certainly find many lavender farms and distilleries open to the public just by driving the roads and looking out for signs.
Where to Stay: Recommended Accommodation near the Provence Lavender Fields.
Le Mas de la Rose has luxury accommodation in a tastefully renovated 17th century farmhouse between the Luberon and Alpilles Regional Parks and less than 30km south of Avignon.
It has 75 acres of grounds to explore with fields of lavender, pine and olive trees, and some very good outdoor facilities; a nicely designed swimming pool, a hot tub and tennis courts.
They rent bikes out for free at the farmhouse and if you tire of exploring the farm itself you can take a ride or a walk out into the classic Provence countryside that lies in wait just outside the gates. There is a quite well known restaurant at Le Mas de la Rose too, and the food is outstanding.
You can find it profiled here, plus instant online booking: Farmstayplanet.com/Le-Mas-de-la-Rose
If you feel like splashing out, our pick in the lavender fields region, and in Provence generally, is definitely La Coquillade; a luxury 5 star hilltop vineyard hotel with a top quality bistro restaurant, and amongst other things a winery, a swimming pool, a spa, gym and wellness center.
It also has 90 acres of vineyards and offers a full program of wine tourism. La Coquillade is just outside Gargas and though it’s more about wine than lavender it is pretty much at the heart of the Luberon lavender fields region.
You can find it profiled here, plus instant online booking: Farmstayplanet.com/La-Coquillade
Le Hameau De Pichovet:
If La Coquillade seems like it has, well, too much going on and you would like to stay in middle of nowhere Provence, then you may appreciate Le Hameau de Pichovet, which has a beautifully isolated hillside setting at the eastern edge of Luberon. It offers 5 self catering (though meals can also be prepared for you) apartments in a restored traditional farmhouse gite, surrounded by fields of sunflowers and lavender.
It also has two swimming pools and lots of outside space to enjoy the peace and tranquility. The views are lovely, the property is charming, and you’ll find this side of Provence much more of a get away from it all, tourists being much fewer in number.
You can find it profiled here, plus instant online booking: Farmstayplanet.com/Le Hameau de Pichovet
Or, to browse a full selection of all accommodation options around the lavender fields of Provence, click below: