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Provence, France: Part 3
Provence, France: Part 3
Provence, France: Part 3 [valensole lavender fields]

The lavender fields were by FAR the most magical part of our trip! I had wanted to see these in person for so long, and it felt like a dream to check this off my bucket list.

We planned the timing of the entire trip around peak season for the lavender and bought the tickets almost a year in advance. I crossed my fingers that Mother Nature would cooperate when it came time for our visit! If you go too early, the color isn’t as strong, but if you go too late, the lavender farmers start harvesting the fields and you risk missing it. Thankfully everyone’s recommendations were spot on, and the blooms were absolutely spectacular during our time in Provence (July 1-10).

Seeing the lavender was even better in person than in the photos – especially the way the fields swayed in the wind, and that heavenly smell! Even a year later, the scent of lavender soap takes me straight back to those fields. I was so blissed out and had this goofy grin on my face the whole time. Especially when I saw the photo below in person for the first time…it’s the exact spot I had seen in a photo many years ago that sparked my dream to travel there!

 

If you’re interested in checking out the rest of our trip, you can find the posts here:

Provence: Part 1 + Part 2 + Part 3 (you are here)
Barcelona: Part 1 + Part 2

 

Although you can find lavender throughout Provence, it’s worth traveling to see the Valensole Plateau, where you’ll find immaculately maintained rows of endless lavender around every corner. It was so spectacular that we ended up making two trips out there, and it’s not exactly a short drive from Goult (Google Maps says 1 hour and 15 minutes, but I think it took us about two hours each time since we took extra precaution with the winding roads).

Our first trip to Valensole was actually *super* early in the morning! Since this was a big bucket list item, I really wanted to capture a few portraits of E & me in the fields. We found a lovely photographer who knew the fields very well, and she suggested going at sunrise when there would be far fewer tourists. We took her advice and arrived at 5:45 a.m., which meant we needed to start driving at 3:45 a.m. I honestly have no idea how he ever agreed to do that, but he won an insane amount of husband brownie points that day. I think it’s maybe the sweetest thing he’s ever done for me.

 

Even though we were a *tiny* bit sleep-deprived, I’ll never forget how magical it felt to drive through the dark and then arrive in Valensole as the sun started to light up the fields. I literally gasped as we made our way through the winding roads – I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. Since everyone else was still asleep, it felt like Mother Nature put on a private show just for us.

Credit for all of the images of the two of us goes to Claire! Thank you so much!!

Bees love lavender, and you can hear the fields buzzing with thousands of them. At first they made me a little nervous, but I learned that the bees are far more interested in the sweet lavender pollen and nectar than they are about bothering tourists. We never got stung despite spending hours walking up and down the rows.

In my happy place!!!

The lavender fields do not exist just as a photo backdrop – they are working lavender farms that rely on each year’s harvest. We took great care to be respectful by not stepping on or picking the lavender, and we made sure to purchase items from the gift shop to help support their livelihood. We had our photos taken at Lavandes Angelvin, and the kind gift shop employees told us they see people come from all over the world to view their immaculate fields.

After we finished wandering around the fields and taking it all in, we drove back to Goult and slept through the hot afternoon. 🙂

This field was only ten minutes away from our Airbnb in Goult:

We made our second trip to Valensole in combination with another adventure to see the Verdon Gorge. This river canyon was our farthest destination of the whole trip, but it was an absolutely gorgeous drive and well worth it! We blasted some good music in the car, cranked the AC, and enjoyed the views of the mountains in the distance.

Although we considered renting a paddleboat to explore the canyon more, we ended up craving a lazier day after the long drive. Instead, we found a little rocky beach tucked away from the crowds, and we stayed to swim and relax for a bit.

The drive back to Goult from the Verdon Gorge takes you through Valensole, and we lucked out by catching it at sunset. We kept pulling over to take in field after field of incredible purple hues from the side of the road. I couldn’t tell you the names of any of these fields, but if you drive through this area, there’s no way you’ll miss them. They’re everywhere and so extensive.

I still can’t believe we got to experience this in person. It feels like a dream.

On one of our last days, we went to visit the iconic Sénanque Abbey, as it’s one of the most recommended spots to visit if you’re interested in seeing lavender in Provence. Unfortunately we found the lavender to be underwhelming on the day of our visit, and we were quickly funneled into a very expensive gift shop. It felt like a bit of a tourist trap. Unless you are interested in touring the Abbey itself, I would recommend omitting this destination from your lavender adventures.

 

If you’re hoping to plan a trip of your own to see the lavender in Provence, I have a few recommendations for you:

  1. You’ll definitely need a car to get around, and make sure to request one with A/C – it’s an absolute must in the dry heat of the summer!
  2. When choosing a destination, allow twice as much time for driving as Google Maps predicts you’ll need. Soak up the slow pace of Provence and enjoy the views along the way.
  3. We are no experts, but we found early July to be perfect timing for catching the lavender in full bloom.

Enjoy!! 10/10 would recommend this destination. I will treasure our memories here forever.

If you’re interested in checking out the rest of our trip, you can find the posts here:

Provence: Part 1 + Part 2 + Part 3 (you are here)
Barcelona: Part 1 + Part 2

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