Updated June 21, 2023 | Original post July 29, 2019
I have an obsession with Lavender. Ever since I was a little girl, I used to read travel magazines, skimmed through Instagram and Facebook posts, and would come upon photos of people walking or posing along French lavender fields. I daydreamed of one day being able to visit this area. One place, in particular that was always pictured was Valensole, France. This became one of my bucket list wish lists, and I made it my goal to visit this place when we found out we were moving to Germany. Because of this, my sole purpose for our Southern France trip this summer was to visit Valensole, France’s lavender fields, and finally make that dream come true.
Valensole, France, is a Provencal town in Southern France that sits on a valley, making it an ideal location for almost year-round sunshine. The name itself gives its Latin meaning straightaway, Vallis and Solis, to mean the valley of the sun. The valley of Valensole is perfect for lavender and truffles; covering approximately 800 km2 of the region. Valensole’s valley is the biggest area in France devoted to growing these blue, violet, and purple-colored flowers with rows and rows of fields stretching as far as the eye can see. From mid-June to mid-July, it’s hard not to ignore the vibrant colors and light floral scent that you can easily breathe and feel the tranquil calm that lavender brings.
A Day Trip from Aix-en-Provence
Valensole was about an hour’s drive from Aix-en-Provence, where we stayed for our southern France vacation at the end of July. It was the perfect day trip and I didn’t want to miss this region if we were so close. During our vacation planning stages, I learned that the lavender harvest season was sometime after mid-July. Realizing we were probably going to be unlucky in finding any lavenders at the end of July, I had hopes we would find a small patch.
Lavender at the End of July
When we arrived in lavender country, many fields had already been harvested. It was a sad view for me. As we drove further into the countryside, we were lucky enough to find an area that had not been touched right across the road from a local lavender farming facility and store (see below). I was ecstatic, thrilled, to be exact! Rick Steves’ guidebook says you should rejoice if you come upon a lavender and sunflower field next to each other! Luckily, there was a sunflower field just directly next to this lavender field!
With the bright sun at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I knew the lighting would be terrible. However, we made the best of our visit and took advantage of any photo opportunities. I figured that’s what Lightroom is for, right?
The lavender was long overdue for its time, as I could tell the colors were fading. The sunflower looked like it had not been watered, and the sun was beating down on it, so it was pretty sad to look at, but we still managed to take some photos and enjoy our visit. Here are some photos we took.
We visited the store afterward and bought lavender oil, a postcard, and hand soap. Travel tip: ask the locals questions about the area. I asked the store clerk when the lavender fields had been harvested, and she informed me that the area had been harvested three weeks ago (around the second week of July). She also recommended the best time to come is a few weeks before mid-July. Will note that for our future visit!
Before leaving the area, we drove a few miles down the road from the store, as the store clerk informed us there were a few more lavender fields that had not been harvested. Sure enough, not far from the store, about a 5-minute drive or less, was another field. We didn’t really hang around for too long but took a few photos. It was nice to know that a few lavender fields left around this time of the year.
Tips & Locations
Best Time to Visit Valensole’s Lavender Fields:
The best time to visit the lavender fields of Valensole are between mid-June to mid-July as stated in most guidebooks and online sites. However, it all depends on the lavender area. I typically like to say the end of June to the beginning of July is the perfect time to catch the lavenders in peak season. Again, it all depends on the area. My tip, follow along local Instagram and Facebookpages that sends updates on the lavender status. Here is my favorite group on Facebook I like to follow.
- Here are the coordinates for the TERRAROMA Lavande Amandes Lavender store, parking, and the lavender and sunflower fields we stumbled upon during our visit: 43.815948, 5.932219. They are all in the same area, so you can’t miss them. Here is a link to their website https://www.terraroma.fr/gb/
- The Second location we found: 43°50’16.0″N 5°57’37.2″E ; https://goo.gl/maps/itLrRiwpJyfMwzGY7
- For other wonderful locations for photo opportunities, I’ve found this site and this site to be helpful
Other Helpful Tips
Talk to the wonderful locals and get some amazing insider tips in the area; it’s how we found the second location and the exact time the lavenders were harvested in the area.
I hope to make it out to the Valensole area again one day when the time is right to visit the lavender fields. I am grateful for the opportunity to have found at least one field still untouched next to a sunflower field at that! I am also grateful for the opportunity to visit Valensole, a childhood dream come true! A bien tot! Till next time!
If you’re interested in our Aix-en-Provence stay, you can find that blogpost, here!