We were in Aix-en-Provence for a few days and came here on a mission to find some Lavender fields. Going in we knew, it was past the season for it, we have a little league baseball player in our family and his season does not get over till end of July. We were travelling in the middle of August when typically the lavender is harvested in July. But we were determined. We stopped at the tourism office where a very friendly lady explained to us that indeed most of the lavender fields were harvest but if we had a car we could drive further north up towards Sault to find some lavender fields. The tourism office also organizes walking tours in Aix, excursions to Sainte Victoire Mountain that Paul Cezanne painted and other trips around Provence. You can visit the atelier that Paul Cezanne painted from as well. But we had a car and we had lavender fields to find, so we got the maps and set off on our road trip to the rocks and valleys and forests of the Plateau de Vaucluse where Lavender fields await us!
Just as we were leaving Aix-en-Provence it started to get cloudy and we were not sure if we would be able to make the road trip, thankfully it cleared up soon.
We found some fields right on A8 leaving from Aix.
First stop was some Sunflowers fields. We were lucky to have stopped at the first one, since every other field that we came across after, was just dried up sunflowers. Since it is a seed and oil crop the sunflowers are left to dry till the heads are harvested. Generally, when the head turns brown on the back, seeds are usually ready for harvest. I just like how cheery and sunny they are when there are bright and yellow! How amazing are these canopy of plane trees. I have been obsessing over how magnificent these trees are and understand now why the painters like Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh loved to paint them so much!
Under a canopy of Plane trees
We drove through Apt, a little town in Provence
The lavender fields seem to be harvested
A dry sunflower head
Dried sunflower field ready to be harvested
The lavender flower first appear in June and gathered in July or August.
Happy that we found some lavender, but they are faded to a gray since they have been left longer.
Sault is an old fortified village perched along the top of a high ridge overlooking a wide valley, with large lavender fields spread out below to the south and west.
A long multi-arched road bridge crosses the tiny La Croc stream below.
We spent some time walking around and exploring the pastel colored Sault
The village of Sault is open and relaxed, with wide squares and a good selection of cafés.
Men playing bocce
Enjoying the view – imagine the sea of purples in the high season.
The tourism office in Sault gave us a map of where we could find some lavender fields that have not yet been harvested, so we drove till we found fields that were a little more bluer and more fragrant than the ones we found earlier.
Glad that we found what we came looking for, after some shadow play, we drove to the village of Gordes, we stopped as we approach the village as the view across the canyon to the cliffs where Gordes sits is just spectacular.
We watched a beautiful sunset driving back to Aix-en-Provence! It certainly was mission accomplished in my books, not just because we found sunflowers and lavender but spending a few hours with my family driving to quaint little towns chatting, giggling, listening to the kiddos as they fought about which music to listen to and then came to a comprise… watching them snooze off a little on each others shoulders… it was a very special day! Looking at our driver, I was thankful for this wonderful man who rarely ever buys me flowers on Fridays, would go chasing lavender for us…
Have you been to the Lavender fields anywhere? Tell us about your experiences and recommendations.