When you think of the flower fields in Provence, tulips probably aren’t the first blooms that come to mind. But this region that is so widely known for its sublime lavender fields, has another trick up its sleeve.
Every year in early spring, the fields of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence are awash with colour. It’s a spectacle that lasts only days, but if you’re one of the lucky few to witness it, it’ll leave an impression for years to come.
Read on to find out where you can visit the Provence tulip fields and the best time to do so.
The tulip fields of Provence largely fly under the radar, with many of the locals not even knowing of this incredible display. You no longer have to make a special trip to the tulip fields of the Netherlands when we have this floral pageant taking place so close to home!
In fact, the tulips grown in Provence are the very same as those grown by our northern neighbors. The Dutch tulip farmers outsource the bulb production to these growers in Provence. That’s why, once these stunning flowers bloom, they’re quickly beheaded so that the plant’s energy can be used to produce healthy bulbs.
When to Visit the Provence Tulip Fields
You’ll find the tulips flowering in early Spring – from late March to early April. Unfortunately, the exact dates will vary year on year (as with the lavender), so it’s impossible to predict exactly the right time to visit.
For reference, I drove up to Lurs on the 21st of March and the tulips were all firmly closed. I returned on the 31st of March and witnessed the explosion of colour you can see in all of these photos.
Even then, some flowers had already been cut, and a few had not yet bloomed, so the window to see them is around 1-2 weeks long.
Where to Visit the Tulip Fields in Provence
The tulip fields are concentrated in the triangle between Lurs, Forcalquier, and La Brillanne. The exact locations are subject to change slightly year on year, but if you aim for the yellow markers on the map below, you’re sure to see them as you drive.
I’ve also plotted out a few more places of interest. The fields themselves will only take an hour or so to visit, so it’s well worthwhile taking a stroll around nearby Lurs, having a picnic at the waterfall, or taking a hike at Les Mourres near Forcalquier. You’ll find more on these places below.
Things to Know About the Tulip Fields in Southern France
As with the lavender fields, it’s important to respect these flower fields when you visit. Some of the fields are fenced off – don’t cross the fences if this is the case. In the fields without fences, be careful where you tread so as not to damage the tulips.
Because of this, consider taking a camera with a long focal length lens (zoom lens or telephoto). All the images shown here were taken on my 70-200mm lens. Chances are, your phone camera lens won’t cut it (unless you have a dedicated zoom lens).
Other Attractions to Visit Near the Tulip Fields
Given the proximity of the fields to one another, and the relatively small size, it won’t take you long to visit them and take a few keepsake photos. To extend your day trip in the upper Luberon, consider adding on one or two of the following activities.
Visit the Village of Lurs
Perched above a sea of olive trees, Lurs is a medieval village with a beautifully restored centre. There are several attractions to see within the village itself, and half the fun lies in discovering them as you wander the intricate maze of cobblestone streets.
To get to Lurs, you must drive a fairly steep, long road along the ridge of the hill. As you approach, there’s a large free car park where you can leave your car and continue on foot. Be sure to pause at the Alphabet Sculpture before following the walkway that weaves around the side of the village. Alternatively, you can walk up the main road.
Just before you walk through the belfry, take a minute to admire the view from the town square to your right. Here, you’ll be able to see the tulip fields, the Durance River, and one of the largest olive groves in Provence spanning out below you.
Continuing through to the highest part of the village, you’ll pass by two churches, an amphitheatre, and several artistic displays.
Take a Dip at the Cascade de Lurs
Just down the hill from Lurs village, you’ll find a tranquil spot to enjoy a picnic lunch, or a quick dip (if you’re feeling brave!).
There’s a small car park to the side of the lake, from which you can take one of many paths down to the water. The way down is fairly steep, so it’s not suitable for those unsteady on their feet.
Once at the bottom, you can find a sunny spot to sit or wander along the side of the lake to reach the sun-bleached rocks near the waterfall.
It’s a fairly hidden spot, and one of the lesser-known natural attractions in Provence.
Hike Through a Geological Wonderland at Les Mourres
Close to Forcalquier you’ll find an otherworldly landscape of limestone pillars rising up from the fragrant shrub.
Shaped like mushrooms or toadstools, the strange sculptures have been crafted over the centuries by erosion.
There’s a short loop track you can take throughout Les Mourres, and it’s punctuated with educational signs along the way. Be sure to stick to the dedicated paths, as this site is being eroded further by the amount of foot traffic it attracts.
Alternatively, for a longer hike, you can walk from Forcalquier to Les Mourres and back within a little more than 2 hours. The route is detailed here.
Taking a day trip to the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department is a must-do when visiting the South of France – especially in Spring! Discover the secret Provence tulip fields, visit lesser-known villages, and explore fascinating and unique natural attractions.
Frequently asked questions about the Provence tulip fields.
Where are the Provence tulip fields?
The tulip fields change every year, but are centered around the base of the village of Lurs, and further south towards La Brillanne.
When is the best time to visit the tulip fields in the South of France?
The tulips typically bloom in very early April, but have been known to bloom earlier when Provence experiences a hot and dry Spring.
Can I take a tour to see the tulip fields of Provence?
Unfortunately, given the very short timeframe for seeing the tulips in bloom, I’m not aware of any tours that take place. Your best bet is to hire a car, or a driver if you’re visiting Provence without a vehicle.