I’m so excited to share my favorite part of our trip to Provence with you today…a twirl through the lavender fields! You might have caught a sneak peek on The Zoe Report over the weekend or on Instagram (here & here), but here’s the full story…and where to see the best lavender fields in Provence.
A literal field of dreams, these rolling fields of lavender were the reason I wanted to visit Provence in the first place. I had dreamed of them. So on day two at Chateau de Massillan (more from there coming later this week!), we asked the owner where the best place to see them was. July being peak lavender season, we were told everywhere, but were pointed to many spots within 15 minutes where they would be. So we drove, and drove, and drove.
And couldn’t find them. Not ones to be deterred, we drove for four hours (four!) and never found the fields (aside from a field outside of an abbey that was gated off and flooded with tourists).
Hmm.. We went high in the mountains, low in the valleys, everywhere, yet no lavender. As we began to make our (grumpy) way back, we pulled over for some roadside cherries (the sweetest I’ve ever tasted) and proceeded to eat them in the car as we headed back to the hotel. Suddenly, it began hailing. Heavily. And loudly. It was the craziest hail storm I’ve ever seen, with golfballs of ice falling from the July sky. We frantically searched for shelter to shield our rental car (ahem, and ourselves) but there wasn’t anything in sight. Fred Baby finally finagled half of the car to be under an awning of what looked like an apartment building where we waited out the storm.
The next day, when asked by the lovely owner of the Chateau de Massillan how we enjoyed the lavender fields, we sheepishly told her we could never find them. She was as confused as we were, and wondered if perhaps the fields had been harvested early. So, she hopped on the phone right away to find out where they might still be in bloom. A few options turned up, one being Plateau de Valensole, but was a few hours away. So we decided to head that way on our last day, as it was along the route we’d be taking to the airport.
We crossed our fingers in anticipation. Thanks to Instagram, we knew that the fields must still be in bloom. However, from an interaction Fred Baby had with someone on there, he warned that they had begun harvesting the day before. Would anything still be there? Had we really come all way around the world to see lavender in peak season in Provence only to have it not be there? We are the people who went to Pisa and couldn’t find the leaning tower, so left. I was cautiously unoptimistic.
As we approached Plateau de Valensole, we started to see peeks of purple. Then blankets of purple. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Lavender as far as you could see. One field after another after another. Fred Baby scouted out the prettiest field and I began to wade into it. But what’s that humming? It’s getting louder and louder and louder.
Everywhere. Billions of them.
I am the girl who will jump up if one bee saunters over to the table, so imagine when they are literally everywhere. And to be in a lavender field means to brush them repeatedly with your bare legs.
But, I took a deep lavender-filled breath, put on my big girls panties, and dove in. I wasn’t going to let anything — or any bee — ruin the moment.
Moments later, another sound started buzzing in my ear. More bees? No….
A tractor! We watched in awe as the fields were harvested right before our eyes.
We had to laugh — and pinch ourselves — that we were lucky enough to enjoy all the beauty just in the nick of time.
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Photos: Fred Baby
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Photos by Fred Moser