To some, there’s nothing that epitomises the appeal of Provence more than the purple rows of lavender that pepper the landscape every summer. The lavender fields of Provence represent a change of seasons, a ripening of the earth, and a time where life slows to the mercy of the sun’s strong rays.
The Provence lavender fields are among the best in the world, and they’re certainly the most famous. Come early summer, when the spring poppies have all but disappeared, bright lavender flowers start to transform the already beatific landscape into a patchwork of colour.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll introduce you to the best fields of lavender in Provence, France.
** Updated with new Valensole lavender fields in 2019.
*** 2019 Update – some lavender farmers in Provence have put up fences surrounding part of their farms in an effort to thwart visitor numbers. If you enter any Lavender fields in Provence, please remember to be respectful! Or these temporary measures may have to become permanent. Tread lightly, only walk between the rows (not over them), and never pick the flowers…
Lavender Season in Provence
When does lavender bloom in Provence? This is the question I (and I’m sure all other Provence locals) get asked a lot! And unfortunately, there’s no exact answer. The best time to see lavender in Provence is different depending on where you are in the region, but it also changes year to year. This year, for example, the Provence lavender season started later than usual because of the unusually wet spring we had.
Despite these variables, here are some guidelines about the best time to visit Provence for lavender:
Provence Lavender in June
- By late June most Lavender in Provence is in bloom.
- The fine lavender grown in the highest altitudes of Provence is the latest to bloom.
Provence Lavender in July
- Early July is the best time to visit lavender fields in Provence. The entire region is peppered with vibrant purple fields. And, if you get in before the school holidays (which normally start after the first week of July), you’re more likely to beat the crowds.
- From mid-July lavender fields start to be harvested.
- The upper Luberon lavender fields and the Château du Bois fine lavender are generally harvested around the 15th of July.
- The lower Luberon (around Lourmarin), the Valensole lavender fields and those in Grasse and around Sisteron are harvested later in July, typically around the 25th of July.
Provence Lavender in August
- If you’re visiting Provence in August you may be worried about missing out on seeing the lavender fields at all, but there are still a few lavender fields in bloom in August.
- Aim for the Sault lavender fields or around Banon to find lavender in bloom until the 10th of August.
Best Places to find Lavender in Provence, France
Fragrant lavender fields can be found popping up everywhere in Provence in summer. It’s the most famous crop of the region and one that has held significant importance for the people of Provence for centuries. But the lavender fields of Provence aren’t just a source of pride for the locals; they’re also a key Provence attraction that draws in visitors from around the world, year after year.
I’m going to introduce the best places to see lavender in Provence, focusing on three main areas: The Valensole Plateau, Sault Plateau, and the Luberon Valley.
Provence Lavender Fields Map
The below map illustrates where to see lavender fields in Provence. There are other areas, but these regions have the highest concentration of lavender farms in Provence, so you won’t waste your time traversing the landscape unnecessarily (unless you want to)!
Valensole Lavender Fields in Provence
The Valensole Plateau is famous the world over for its lavender fields, but it’s also home to impressive historical sites, golden fields of wheat and sunflowers, charming Provençal villages, and deep turquoise lakes.
Perhaps the most famous village in the Valensole Plateau is deservedly that of Valensole. This colourful village sits elevated above the plateau, with the 11th century St Blaise church at its helm. Pastel coloured houses crowd the narrow streets and the hidden gardens beckon you to discover their secrets. Take pause here on your tour of the lavender fields of Valensole to take a stroll, sample lavender-laced delicacies, or sit in a curbside cafe for lunch.
At the other end of the Valensole Plateau lies Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, a picturesque village hanging on the hillside overlooking the vast lac de Sainte-Croix.
Map of the Valensole Lavender Fields
There’s no doubt that the Valensole Plateau creates the most popular Provence lavender route. Some of the most amazing lavender farms in Provence can be found here among the fields of golden wheat and full-faced sunflowers. And it’s the birthplace of many an iconic photo of Provence lavender.
The landscape here is fairly flat but it has just the right amount of gently swelling soil to give the rigid rows of lavender some dimension, creating the swoon-worthy fields you’re no doubt longing for. Stone cottages and crumbling farmhouses add interest in just the right places.
To make the most of this photographic region of Provence, you’ll need a car to get around. You can hire one here.
*To see each field number, click on the markers on the map above.
This lavender field is bordered by sunflower fields, which just makes the experience even more magical. Park opposite the lavender field and take care crossing the road. Wander up the divide between sunflowers and lavender and you’ll find respite from the crowds, and another less frequented lavender field behind. This lavender field is a great place to photograph the contrasting colours of yellow and purple.
A short stroll past the sunflower fields will have you arriving at Lavandes Angelvin – home to some of the more famous Provence lavender fields. With seemingly endless rows of purple perfection, only interrupted by a few well-placed trees, it’s a spot that well deserves its reputation.
This is one of my favourite Valensole lavender fields. With a gently swelling landscape (the hill becomes more pronounced on the eastern end), bright orange soil, and a rugged mountainous backdrop – it’s one not to miss!
Between Riez and Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, rows of lavender hide behind a canopy of trees. It’s a good place to escape the crowds and find solitude among the buds.
Just before Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, you’ll find another lavender farm framed by sunflowers. There are two main fields here. The first you’ll come to is situated right by the road, and a little further down you’ll find another set back off the road a little. It’s opposite a sign advertising lavender honey.
On the way towards Puimisson, from Riez, you’ll find a remarkable lavender field (see the picture at the start of this post) with an amazing traditional stone house placed perfectly among the purple rows. For the best vantage point, drive up the small road to the left of the field.
There are expansive lavender fields on the opposite side of the road to where I’ve placed this marker, however, what makes this lavender field special is a crumbling cottage set within the lavender.
This field I discovered in the 2019 season and it’s become a firm favourite. The gently undulating land, the perfectly placed stone cottage, the bushy rows of lavender – just perfection. Park opposite the field and you’ll need to walk through the fields (carefully!) to reach the best viewpoint for the cottage.
This spot wasn’t nearly as busy as some other fields, and yet it was picture-perfect! A very large field that had a decent sized slope at one end – making for great photos. If you’re planning a photo shoot and don’t want to compete with the crowds, this could be a great option.
A smaller field, but perfectly formed and very quiet. The light at sunset was just perfect for portraits or family photos.
Large lavender fields either side of the road in this spot close to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Beautiful craggy mountain range in the background frames the fields perfectly. There’s not too much of a slope, but these lavender fields in Valensole are large enough to make a statement in their own right.
Sault Lavender Fields in Provence
The fortified village of Sault sits on a ridge wedged between a thick wooded forest on one side and a rolling agricultural valley on the other. Well-preserved and brimming with history, it’s worth wandering through the medieval streets to sample the unique flair of this northern Provençal village.
Be sure to pop into the nougat factory for a taste, and pick up a walking tour map from the local tourist office, which will guide you around the old town.
Map of the Sault Lavender Fields
The road leading to Sault offers views over a plateau awash with lavender. It’s here that you realise the immense scale of lavender production in this region of Provence. More concentrated than in the Valensole Plateau, the lavender fields of Sault are best explored on a bike, or by foot.
There’s a 5km “lavender path” that will lead you through some of the finest fields. To walk it, park at the public car park just after the Vallon distillery on D164. If exploring by bike or by car, follow the suggested lavender route below.
*To see each field number, click on the markers on the map above.
This lavender field situated opposite La Bastide des Bourguets is absolute perfection! Bordered by a mountainous ridge and fields of fluffy golden wheat, it’s a delight to wander through. There’s even a small stone hut near the centre to add a little more interest.
A petite field, it’s no less impressive as it perfectly frames the hillside village of Aurel.
On one side of this marker, you have a beautiful large field with a little hut at one end. And on the other, there’s another gently swelling field with two well-placed trees at its highest point.
Rolling fields on either side of this road. Perfect purple fields, as far as you can see.
To find these fields, park on the road and wander up behind the field of trees. Here you’ll find a patchwork of lavender fields, some with old cottages tucked between the rows.
Luberon Lavender Fields of Provence
The Luberon valley is my favourite area of Provence. A place where hilltop villages collide with dramatic scenery and history is ingrained in its soul. A place to go for a drive through whimsical roads, a walk through fragrant foliage, or to explore the cobbled lanes and advantageous views of its villages.
The Luberon is an artist’s earthy toned palate. It’s where fiery red canyons slice through a dark green forest. Where serrated hills meet preened vineyards. And golden stones create both ancient conical houses and modern-day mansions. In essence, it’s the perfect place to get acquainted with the ‘real’ Provence.
Map of the Luberon Lavender Fields
Lavender fields in the Luberon Valley aren’t as highly concentrated as those in the Valensole or Sault plateaus. But this means finding them is as easy as going for a Sunday drive. Winding through country lanes, you’re sure to find a field or two between the vineyards and olive groves.
There are a few spots where you’re guaranteed to find Luberon lavender fields in bloom every year though, including some of the most iconic lavender fields in Provence!
*To see each field number, click on the markers on the map above.
#1 Sénanque Abbey
This monastery set into a wooded valley not far from Gordes is one of the best places to see Provence lavender. The unique backdrop of the stone abbey offsets the purple lavender beautifully. During the Sénanque Abbey lavender season, crowds descend on the Luberon to get a glimpse of this iconic scene. Combine it with a trip inside the Sénanque Abbey for a truly memorable trip.
*2019 update – unfortunately the lavender field directly in front of the abbey has been replanted, meaning you’ll only see baby plants here this year. The other fields around the abbey remain though.
#2 Between the villages of the Luberon
At the midway point between Gordes, Lacoste and Bonnieux, you’ll find a large cluster of lavender fields that are perfectly framed by the three villages. One in particular (where the marker is) is home to a beautiful large stone mas, which breaks up the purple perfectly.
Between the pretty, petite village of Rustrel and the incredible landscapes of the Colorado Provençal, you’ll find lavender fields crisscrossing between the bucolic country lanes.
#4 Château du Bois
The Château du Bois lavender farm is located high in the Luberon, at 1100m above sea level, in a village called Lagarde-d’Apt. Growers of true lavender, it’s here you have a more delicate bud and a finer fragrance, than in the lower elevations of Provence. The Château du Bois lavender farm can only be visited by an organised private tour in early July – read more about the experience here.
Where to Stay to Explore the Lavender Fields in Provence France
In order to make the most of your time in Provence, I’d recommend staying central to explore the other delights of the region. Here are some suggestions, or you can read my full guide to the best places to stay in Provence.
Aix-en-Provence is a fabulous city full of culture, festive ambience, and Provençal charm. It’s an excellent place to stay to take day trips around Provence, and it’s not too much of a drive to all three lavender regions detailed above. Alternatively, you can take a lavender tour from Aix-en-Provence.
Best places to stay in Aix-en-Provence
- Luxury – Villa Gallici Hôtel & Spa
- Mid-Range – Aquabella Hôtel & Spa
- Budget – Escale Oceania Aix-en-Provence
Avignon is a city brimming with history and old-world grandeur. Like Aix, there are many day trips from Avignon that will round up your perfect holiday in Provence. Avignon is closer to the Sault and Luberon lavender fields, but it’s still possible to drive or take a tour to the Valensole lavender fields.
Best places to stay in Avignon
If you want to be knee deep in French village living, head for the Luberon Valley. Take your pick of charming hilltop villages to stay in and enjoy driving the country lanes lined with lavender fields.
Best places to stay in the Luberon
Provence Lavender Tours
If you don’t have a car to explore the lavender farms of Provence on your own, it’s entirely possible to visit some of the finest fields with a half or full day lavender tour. See some options below, or click on the links to find the perfect lavender tour to suit you!
Visiting the Provence lavender fields is an incredible event that will leave you spellbound. Whichever of these lavender routes in Provence you decide to take, or indeed if you experience them all, you are sure to have an unforgettable time in Provence.