Provence Lavender Fields  – The Ultimate Guide For Your Trip

All you need to know about visiting provence lavender fields

Lavender fields in Provence are famous for their annual tradition and sheer scale. Endless rows of lavenders with the Alps mountain range in a distance leave a long-lasting impression. It’s a sight you should experience at least once in your lifetime. People from all around the world come to admire the lavender fields. No wonder it has always been my dream to see purple rows of flowers that stretch miles into the horizon.

If it is also your dream to visit Provence you are in the right place. I created this complete guide to help you plan your trip. I will share everything you need to know before you come to Provence: where to find the best lavender fields, where to stay, eat and what to do in the area. Additionally, I will give you photography tips for how to take beautiful photos in the lavender fields. But for now let me take you to Provence (at least virtually)!

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TYPES OF LAVENDER GROWN IN PROVENCE?

Before you start planning your trip, let me get you familiar with specific types of lavender that can be found in Provence. 

There are several types of lavender in existence in the world but only two types are grown in Provence: fine lavender and lavandin.

Fine lavender is a “true” lavender which naturally grows in the mediterranean scrub specifically in the region of Provence. It has a refined and more complex aroma than other lavenders due to the fact that it grows over a shorter season and at higher altitudes. It offers therapeutic benefits and it is used for its medicinal properties to create perfumes and essential oils for stress-relieving purposes. 

Lavandin is technically not a true lavender. It is derived from a cross between two different varieties of lavender that grow at different altitudes. It is the most photogenic one grown in Provence as it is typically brighter in color and the blooms are fuller. Since it has much stronger scent it can’t be used as medicine. Lavandin are used to create lavender bags and other smelling souvenirs sold in local shops. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT THE PROVENCE LAVENDER FIELDS

There are a couple of factors to consider when deciding on the best time to see Provence lavender fields. The blooms vary from year to year. If you visit too early you will miss the most beautiful vibrant purple blooms. If you come too late the lavender might have already been harvested. 

There is a very short time window when the lavender are in full bloom. It happens generally from the middle of June and can last until the end of August. However, as I heard, this year (2022) the lavender were harvested already in the middle of July. Make sure to research well ahead of your trip so you don’t miss out on seeing them. 

Keep in mind that to see the very best of the flowers in bloom will depend entirely on the weather in the previous months, as well as the region you want to visit. The lavender closer to the  Alps will bloom several weeks earlier than those further south (Valensole Plateau). The last to bloom are finest lavender that are grown at the highest altitude in the north of Provence. 

Another factor to consider is that this region can get very busy and the prices for accommodation will rise (not to mention lack of availability). Try to plan your visit before schools in France close for summer holidays. End of June should be your best opportunity.  

WHERE TO STAY IN PROVENCE

The most beautiful and most popular lavender fields are located around Valensole so I highly recommend to stay somewhere in the area. There are a couple of small towns around where you can stay but keep in mind that they offer limited accommodation options. Also, during the lavender season it could be difficult to book any room on the go so make sure you plan it ahead of time (this will also help you avoid higher prices). Many people choose to stay in the bigger cities like Marseille but then you would need to travel every day more than an hour one way to see lavender fields. In my opinion the best choices are: Manosque, Valensole and Riez.

Manosque

This is where we stayed during our visit and we found this town to be the best option. It’s a bigger town than Valensole or Riez and offers more accommodation options for any budget. On the top of that you will find many great restaurants, cafes and supermarkets. The time to reach one of the best lavender fields, Lavender Angelvin, is about 20 minutes. You can check here what accommodations are available in Manosque.

Valensole

This small charming town is located in the heart of one of the most beautiful lavender fields so I highly recommend to search for a place to stay there. It will take you 5-15 min to drive to the fields. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of options for accommodation and there is limited number of restaurants as well. You can check here what accommodations are available in Valensole.

Riez

Similar to Valensole, Riez is a small town so again the accommodation and restaurant options are very limited. The advantage though is the location. Since lavender fields stretch between Valensole and Riez you will have to cover only a small distance to reach the first fields. You can check here what accommodations are available in Riez.

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WHERE TO EAT IN PROVENCE

Here are couple of recommendations where to eat while visiting lavender fields in Provence. The list is based on my own experience and some local recommendations. Just keep in mind that if you plan to visit the fields for sunset you need to plan your meal ahead of time since most restaurants are closed by 10pm. 

Manosque 

La Criee – great seafood meals, nice modern interior, outdoor seating available. Location: 17 Rue de la Pause 

Kinda Sushi Bar – a nice sushi place. Location: 30 Avenue Jean Giono

Boulangerie Patisserie Rouger – bakery, great place to buy pastries, dessert or bread. Location; 27 Avenue Jean Iono

Le Petit Lauragais – charming place with French refined cuisine at affordable prices. Location: 6 Place du Terreau 

Valensole 

Le Jardin de Celina – a fine dining restaurant with a bed & breakfast, pool and wellness area. Location: Ancient chemic d’Allemagne 

Brasserie du Plateau – popular place with local food, very nice big terrace. Location: 2 Boulevard Frederic Mistral 

Le Palais d’Or – small cute bakery that serves lavender ice scream. Location: 4 Place Thiers

HOW TO GET AROUND PROVENCE

You will need a car or you can join an organized tour to explore the fields. There is no public transportation in the area and walking isn’t an option because of long distances. It takes between 10 minutes to 1 hour by car to get from one location to another.

Bring your own car

If you live in Europe you might want to come by car. Just do your calculations to make sure it is worth it (tolls, fuel, parking etc.). This way you will be able to see more nearby locations. 

Rent a car

If you’re flying to France, you will need to rent a car at the airport to travel around. Unfortunately car rental in France is pretty expensive so check rental companies and prices ahead of time. In addition to the cost of rental consider fuel, tolls and parking fees. On a positive note you will have an opportunity to visit more places on the way to lavender fields. 

Organized Tours

If for any reason you aren’t able to drive a car there is an option to book guided tours from the bigger cities. They will take you around some of the most popular lavender fields. The only disadvantage would be that you need to stick to a fixed schedule. 

BEST LAVENDER FIELDS IN PROVENCE

Lavender farms can be found in many parts of the world, as far as new South Wales, Western Australia, Italy, UK, but none of these regions can compete with Provence in terms of tradition and scale. In Provence, as I mentioned earlier, the best region to admire these natural sights is around Valensole. Here you can find lavender basically everywhere. You can drive around for an hour and still see them. The best roads to follow would be D6 (Route de Manosque) coming from Manosque to Riez and D8 (Route de Departementale) from Valensole to Puimoisson. There are some particular lavender fields that are very picturesque and popular. Below I share the list of some of my favorite locations.

By the way – all lavender fields are free to visit!

Lavandes Angelevin

This is the first one of the most impressive lavender fields you will encounter if you are coming from Manosque. It is also one of the most popular and photographed fields thanks to its famous heart-shaped tree on the hillside. I am sure if you did quick research to see photos from lavender fields in Provence most of them would be from this location. Since it is such a popular lavender farm keep in mind it is also one of the busiest (especially on weekends). 

Just across the road from the field there is a big parking lot where you can usually find a spot. The parking is free. 

The best time to visit this field is definitely for sunset. The sun is setting right behind the hill creating magical light and colors. This incredible moment attracts lots of photographers who line up in the middle of the field for hours to take perfect shots. You can’t miss this place!

Lavanda – wide lavender fields next to Lavandes Angelvin

If you come to Lavandes Angelivin and you find this farm to be overcrowded I highly recommend to repark at the nearby fields. These are pretty wide and beautiful fields that are usually less crowded but also very impressive. 

Spot Cabane pour Lavandes (on Google map) – Tiny house in the valley

This is the second most photographed lavender field in Provence. It takes about 20-25 minutes to drive there from Lavendes Angelvin following road D8. Here you will find endless rows of purple lavenders with a tiny house in the middle of the field and mountains in the background. It truly looks very picturesque! Although here you will need to take a walk through the fields for about 10-15 minutes to get fairly close to the house.

Since it’s such a beautiful field expect lots of photographers especially for sunrise. You can visit the field any time of the day but I highly recommend to wake up early and experience the first sun rays here. I can promise you this will be one of the most magical moments in Provence. 

Champ de lavande (on Google map) – Stone house with mountains in the background

This lavender field was actually my favorite one. It is not as big as the previous ones but at least there were no people at all when we went there. Having the entire place to yourself was a truly relaxing experience. 

This farm is located along the road D953 between Puimoisson and Riez. It is about 10 min drive from the previous lavender field. You will find here another stone house in the middle of the field that is bigger. There will also be a beautiful mountainous background.

The best time to visit this field is sunrise when the sun comes up right behind the stone house and the mountains. But it’s also beautiful here any time of the day. 

TIPS FOR VISITING LAVENDER FIELDS IN PROVENCE

Where to park you car

There are no official parking lots but there are some areas that are designated for parking your car. These are usually located roadside along the fields. Just be considerate of others when parking.

Respect farmers’ wishes

Be responsible traveler and always respect farmers’ wishes. They work very hard to take care of these amazing natural beauties so if there are signs not to enter please acknowledge them. Also, very important, do not pick lavender flowers from the fields! If you need a bouquet for a photo or as a souvenir buy it at a local store (often located nearby the fields).

Beware of bees and spiders

With flowers come bees and to be honest there are thousands of them along the rows of lavender. You can also hear the buzz sound everywhere. Initially I was scared of walking into the fields. But then I noticed families with kids happily running around. At that point I knew that those little insects can’t be harmful. Bees are really busy collecting pollen from lavender flowers so if you don’t bother them they won’t bother you. Just leave them alone and you should be fine. Before sunrise and around sunset they magically disappear so if you are still afraid, these are the best times for you. 

Sporadically, I also noticed some spiders and other bugs on the ground but fortunately I didn’t have to interact with them. After sometime I basically forgot about all these little creatures. 

HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH LAVENDER FIELDS

The best time to take photos of the lavender fields

The rule of thumb is that the best time to photograph the lavender fields is sometime before 10am and after 5pm. Why not in-between? Because the sun light is too harsh and it fades the colors of lavender. Also, it might get too hot so you won’t be enjoying your time there. Another advantage is that there will be a lot less bees flying around.

If you want to avoid crowds then your only option will be sunrise. In summer time it means that you need to wake up sometime before 5am to get ready and to drive to the location. Even at that time you will be one of many other photographers on the fields. 

Sunset, although very popular time for photographers and tourists, is another great opportunity to take beautiful photos. Try to get there at golden hour and don’t forget to stay during blue hour which will reveal to you completely different colors of lavenders. You will be surprised how light will change the scenery. 

The best camera equipment to take photos of the lavender fields

I don’t think I need to remind you to bring professional camera to Provence. Taking photos of the gorgeous lavender fields is essential while visiting the area. The better equipment the better quality of your pics. But if you don’t have a camera you can still take beautiful photos with your phone. I also highly recommend to record a couple of videos especially during sunrise or sunset time. 

For those who have a professional camera, here are a few tips. First of all, definitely bring a telephoto lens. I have a Tamron 70-180mm F2.8 and used it for most of the shots. Longer focal length has that appealing compression effect that works so well when capturing the rows and terrain of lavender fields while enlarging the mountain range backdrop. It also makes sense to bring a tripod as you will be shooting in more challenging lighting conditions and at higher F values to avoid too much of the composition being out of focus. Another lens I found useful was a 24mm for taking close-ups of lavender flowers and bees. When shooting close-ups try to take some photos against the sun to get this desirable glow effect and make your photos look more dramatic.   

Flying drone over lavender fields

In general there is no problem to fly a drone over lavender fields. It has been said that bees don’t like the sound of a drone and will immediately start attacking it. We have not observed this behavior. If you do notice it land the drone or fly it higher so you won’t harm the bees. Bees are not going to damage your drone but propellers can kill them and you want to avoid it at all cost. Also, as I mentioned earlier in the post, bees are not active in the morning and in the evening so this is the best time for you to safely take amazing captures from above. 

OTHER THINGS TO DO NEAR THE LAVENDER FIELDS IN FRANCE

Beside admiring amazing lavender fields there are many other beautiful places to see in Provence. If you are staying a bit longer and have time to drive around here are a few suggestions:

Explore beautiful villages in the area – there are many charming small villages to visit like Gordes, Valensole, Riez, Fontaine de Vaucluse to only name a few. 

Senanque Abbey – it’s a Cistercian abbey surrounded by lavender fields near the village of Gordes. It is a place of monastic life and it’s important to respect the spirit of silence and prayers. Remember that proper dress code is required and photos are prohibited inside and outside of the abbey. 

Gorges du Verdon – this is the deepest gorge in France with incredibly crystal clear waters. It’s a great place for outdoor adventurers. You can rent a boat or kayak, hike around or simply enjoy a picnic. 

The Lac de Sainte Croix – beautiful lake of St. Croix with many beaches on the shore and very picturesque small village called Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon. 

Lac de Serre Ponton – it is one of the largest reservoirs in Western Europe with amazing azure water. This place is perfect for swimming, water sports and hikes. The mountain area surrounding the lake provides fantastic walks, views and mountain bike trails.

I hope this guide provided you with all the necessary information you need to properly plan your trip to the most impressive lavender fields in Provence. If there is still something I have not covered or you have a question please feel free to leave a comment below. Let me know if you are planning a trip or have already been to Provence! 

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