Having travelled extensively around the South of France with many trips to Provence, we’ve never quite timed it right to see the lavender fields in bloom. The lavender in the garden had started to flower and it seemed like it was the right time to go.
We decided we would take a day off, pack up a picnic and drive into Provence in search of lavender, after all, it really is synonymous with Provence.
We set off early before the day heated up and headed towards Moustiers-Ste-Marie. It was a couple of hours before we arrived in a picturesque village built into towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls providing a dramatic backdrop.
We stopped in a small square for coffee before meandering through the streets. Known for its distinctive blue and white pottery, we admired the wares but resisted the temptation as a fridge would have to take priority.
Having seen a lot of lovely villages in France, this was certainly one of the most beautiful and would certainly be one we would recommend or return to.
From Moustiers we set off in search of lavender and took the route towards Valensole. Almost immediately fields of lavender appeared, the distinctive balls of green and purple arranged row after row.
We stopped on the side of a field and set up our picnic in the shade. The clay was wet and heavy and clung to the soles of our shoes inches thick. It had been a wet spring!
We sat and ate our lunch before taking the obligatory photos walking through rows of lavender. Buzzing bees mingled with the sound of motorbikes as the road had the kind of curves sought by the Sunday enthusiast.
After lunch things went a little wrong with my navigational skills as we ended up doing a rather extended tour of the region and certainly more than we intended. We saw lots and lots of lavender fields, lots of scarlet poppies and lots of purple sage filling the eyes with colour and the nose with pollen. It was a saturation of the senses.
Valensole was a lovely village with a busy square and would certainly be worth another look, had we not driven through another twenty or so lovely villages! Gréoux les Bains had the faded charm of an old spa town with elegant hotels and a large casino. More to discover about both the town and the region.
The day was now very hot and memories of driving through Provence in a hot, sticky Mini came flooding back. Yes, I remember now, I think I used to sit on a towel.
The dog was suffering so much she gave up standing with her head out of the window and lay motionless on the back seat, a picture of furry misery. We were all very hot and tired as the journey seemed endless.
Eventually we made it home and staggered out of the car. I cooled off in the pool, Big T cooled off with a large G&T and the dog perked up enough to enjoy a game with the hose pipe but seemed somewhat shelled shocked. We’d enjoyed the day but felt we’d done too much, quel surprise!
And so it was an early night for these intrepid but not very hardy explorers as it was another early start back to London for the working week and a chance to recover from the working weekend!