Imagine walking through a manicured estate growing Europe’s finest lavender. Fields of purple flowers spread out into the horizon, like ripples on a sunset-bathed ocean. As you lazily brush your hands through the knee-high stems, their delicate scent fills the air around you, while the buzz of contented bees becomes your beatific soundtrack.
Welcome to Le Château du Bois, producers of true lavender in Provence, France.
Last week I was invited to experience an exclusive new tour to the lavender fields of Château du Bois. Our day involved getting acquainted with the region’s finest lavender, a sumptuous lunch, and touring some of Provence’s most exquisite sights.
Read on to find out what makes this luxury lavender tour in Provence so special, and how you can experience it for yourself.
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Le Château du Bois Lavender Farm
If you’ve ever purchased any of Le Château du Bois’ lavender products, you’ll know there is a quality to them that supersedes the competition. But what you may not realise, is that behind that coveted scent is a family that dedicates their lives to the creation, and protection, of fine lavender in Provence.
The Lincelé family have been growing Lavandula Angustifolia (formerly known as Lavandula Officinalis) at Le Château du Bois since 1890, and have turned their love of lavender into a burgeoning family business.
What makes the fine lavender grown at Château du Bois special
To find true lavender, you must venture up past the Luberon to the highest landscapes of Haute-Provence. It’s only here, set above 800m, in the finest lavender fields of Provence, France, that true lavender can grow.
The lavender that can cure a multitude of ailments; the lavender with a distinctively sweet, delicate smell; the lavender that is AOP certified to guarantee its quality.
While it’s true that you can visit many other lavender fields in the Luberon, what you should know is that they are in fact fields of, lavandin, or hybrid lavender. They too produce a fragrant scent which is much stronger than that of fine lavender, but it comes without some of the medicinal properties that gave lavender its nickname of ‘blue gold’ in ancient times.
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Exclusive Tour of the Château du Bois – Lavender Fields of Provence
Our tour of the Château du Bois lavender estate starts at the Musée de la Lavande in Coustellet. The lavender museum is also owned and run by the Lincelé family – as an outlet to showcase their love, and knowledge of true lavender – but today we’re leaving the treasures inside to be discovered at the end of the tour.
Instead, we climb aboard a luxury open-top minibus that will be our chariot for the day. We zip through the Luberon with the sun shining on our faces as we gaze up at Gordes, and catch a glance of the distinctively warm tones of Roussillon in the distance.
We climb higher, through landscapes peppered with lavender fields and golden stone houses, and finally weave our way up a steep winding road overlooking the Colorado Provençal until we reach Lagarde-d’Apt – home of le Château du Bois.
Lavender Tour at Le Château du Bois
A welcome breeze gently brushes our shoulders as we step off the bus and into the sublime scene before us. Our first stop is near the ancient windmill where Jack and Max Lincelé, our guides for the morning, takes us to an excellent vantage point for seeing the entire estate with its patchwork of purple lavender fields and tall cedar forests.
As the morning unfolds, we have ample time to explore, enjoy, take photographs and get acquainted with the lavender fields of Provence at Château du Bois. Max leads us through both the oldest and youngest lavender fields on the farm and explains the intricacies of growing lavender in this environment.
It’s clear that here, the Lincelé family are the guardians of the land, but mother nature is very much left to do what she does best.
Lavender Distillery Provence
Once we’re ready, we head back towards the château where we learn about the lavender oil extraction process. Like everything on this farm, it’s a full family affair that must take place at precisely the right time to make the most of the year’s crop.
It’s a relatively simple process, and it’s astounding to see that by and large, the lavender is still distilled much as it has been for decades before.
Luxury lunch at the château
We’re welcomed into the château like friends and toast to a wonderful morning with a glass of champagne laced with lavender syrup. The doors of the renovated château are open wide to make the most of the incredible views – not only of the farm – but beyond, where the alps can be seen jutting into the skyline in the distance.
Lunch is light and delicious. Local specialities in fine flavours, paired with silken wines. Afterwards, there is cheese, fruit, and finally coffee to perk us up for the second half of this incredible full-day tour of Provence.
Visiting the Abbaye de Sénanque
Boarding our bus again, we whip through the countryside, this time pausing for the iconic view of Gordes as it spills down into the landscape. We then carry on around the bend to the breathtaking Sénanque Abbey.
Our guide explains the significance of the Cistercian abbey as we marvel at its beauty. Both the surroundings and the structure itself will leave you spellbound, while the abbey’s curated lavender fields create a contrast against the green pine backdrop.
Guided Tour of Gordes
Aside from lavender fields, there’s no image more synonymous with Provence than that of the hillside village of Gordes. It’s fitting then, that Gordes is our next stop on the lavender tour. This time we park in the centre of the village and walk down through the stunning cobbled lanes of the village.
We pause to peek inside the church which, although the roof is currently being restored, is still lovely to see in all its Italian-influenced glory. Then continue through the village, and even though I visited Gordes plenty of times in the past, I’m surprised there’s still a lot about this historical village that I didn’t know. But I’ll let you discover those tidbits for yourself!
Guided tour of the Musée de la Lavande
The last stop on our Provence lavender tour is the Musée de la Lavande. This intriguing lavender museum tells of the importance blue gold has had in Provence throughout the years. It houses a variety of traditional stills and other lavender distilling paraphernalia that will capture your attention as you listen to the informative audio guide.
At the end of the petite museum, you’ll find the Château du Bois boutique where you can sample and purchase a wide variety of lavender laced treats to take back home.
Final thoughts on the Château du Bois Luxury Lavender Tour in Provence
If you’re after a truly unique experience in Provence, the Château du Bois Lavender tour will be just the ticket. Discover the true lavender of Provence in complete tranquillity, high above the villages of the Luberon, in an exclusive setting. Let the scents and sounds of this exquisite property serenade you as you learn about its incredible importance, not only to the Lincelé family but also to the preservation of fine Provencal lavender.
To book your own Luxury Lavender Tour in Provence, or to find out more details, see the Château du Bois Website Here.
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Disclaimer: I was hosted on this luxury lavender tour in Provence. However, as always, all opinions expressed are my own.