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From exciting Paris, and world-renowned cuisine, to the posh French Riviera, and the picturesque villages of Alsace, there is so much to love about France. Come July, another French specialty sprouts up, covering the Provence region in lovely hues and a spectacular fragrance. The Provence lavender fields have increased in popularity in the past few years, making them one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in France.
Despite some fields becoming closed to tourists, you can still snap beautiful photos of the purple flowers from the fence line and find enough open fields to get your unique selfie shots.
After researching what fields to visit on the internet and marking several recommended fields, I learned that the fields are constantly changing. Some fields I went to were barren or overgrown with weeds or sprouting new crops like sage or turned into wheat fields, sunflower fields or olive groves (which make great photo ops too). And other areas not outlined on the internet were bursting with color.
The great thing about this is that you can quickly drive around discovering new fields at your own pace and avoid any heavily packed tourist areas.
In this post, I’ll go through the main areas in Provence known for the most beautiful lavender fields and share tips on visiting and capturing the best photos.
I’ve also included a Google Maps highlighting the best field locations in each area as a general guideline. Remember that exact field locations can change, so use the map as a general rule of thumb, and don’t worry about going off course.
Always avoid private roads and only park in public car parks or safely along the road, and respect all no trespassing and private property signs. These lavender fields are the owner’s livelihood. They were not grown for photoshoots, so please be respectful when visiting. Do not trample the flowers or pick any lavender. Many local businesses sell fresh lavender bouquets and other handmade goods perfect for gifts and souvenirs.
Where are the most beautiful lavender fields in Provence?
The best lavender fields in Provence are found in the below three regions:
Plateau de Valensole is the most popular and touristy area for scenic lavender fields. This is where you will find the fields with the mountain backdrop, stone houses, and the famous lone tree field all over Instagram. There are many purple fields in this area and the lovely village of Valensole, where you can purchase lavender souvenirs and enjoy a bite. There is plenty of parking in this region, but the fields get packed, so if you want to take photos, arrive at sunrise or after 5 pm to avoid the crowds.
In June/July the sun does not set until after 9 pm so you have a long day to enjoy the fields and may have a better experience waiting until later to explore them without the crowds.
This region is less visited and more concentrated, but the fields of lavender are a little harder to access, as there is not a lot of public parking or roadside street parking available. Lavender in this region typically blooms until the end of July, and many fields are not harvested until the beginning of August, with the first blooms appearing at the end of June. The lovely French villages of Sault, Aurel, and Ferrassières make great stops along Sault’s lavender route.
Home to quaint hilltop villages, including Gordes and Roussillon, Luberon is a beautiful area to call home for a few nights. The iconic Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque (or sénanque abbey), an active monk convent, can be found in a valley filled with lavender fields. Early July produces the best color, but some fields are not harvested until early August.
Just north of Provence is Drôme Provençale, a part of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpe region. Although not in Provence, this is another fantastic fine lavender (one of three lavender varieties worldwide) area to discover. Make sure to visit the small towns of Nyons and Grignan, try local black olives and truffles, or go hiking in Baronnies Provençales Regional Nature Park while visiting this area.
Google Maps for the best places to see the lavender fields
Don’t forget to download offline maps before arriving in the region. Cell service is pretty spotty.
The Valensole lavender fields are in full bloom from the end of June to early/mid-July. The first week of July is most likely the best time to plan your visit.
- D953 (Route de Digne)
- Stone house field. An excellent area for late afternoon to sunset as the sun sets behind you if facing the field.
- D8 (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence)
- Multiple fields, including wheat and sage. These fields were expansive during my visit, and it is along this route you’ll find another stone house field, but this past year it was a wheat field.
- D15 (Route d’Oraison)
- Stone House Fields
- Multiple fields along this route are flat and have a few different stone houses on them. Don’t be like the people in the photo- do not climb the houses. It just adds furry to the already annoyed farmers trying to keep people out of their fields.
- D6 (Route de Manosque)
- The fields along this route between the Barras snack stand and Terraroma are the busiest.
- Terraroma and Lavender Angelvin are producers and have a lavender shop and distillery you can visit.
- The field I am calling the “do not enter field”, was beautifully manicured during my visit and has a grand slope that adds drama to photos. The dirt road running along the side of the field leads to a few more hidden fields behind the main field and a snack stand called Barras. This is a secret tip that many people overlook. You can drive down this road and gain access to a few other fields that do not have any people in them. I call the field on the main road the “do not enter field” because there are private property signs along the fence, and the owner was yelling at people to get out of his field while I was there. The signs say do not pick the lavender in French and English, but of course, there were people picking the flowers.
The Barras is also an Air B&B I stayed at during my visit. It was a lovely stay but the Wifi did not work and cell service was extremely spotty. There was not anywhere to keep food and drinks cold or prepare snacks, but they offered a dinner of chicken and potatoes for 27 euros and have a snack stand with paninis, ice cream, salads, and crepes during the afternoons.
I was a bit early to see the fields in Sault. This is what they looked like the last week of June.
The Sault fields are usually the last to bloom and remain intact from July to early August (most seasons).
La Ferme aux Lavandes (D164)- a lavender farm open to the public with yard games and a gift shop full of lavender products.
Champ de Lavande (meaning lavender field in French) (D942) has a great view of the town of Aurel from the fields. I was either too early or this field was not farmed for lavender the year I went since the field looked abandoned. But it was still a great view of the town.
Les Lavandes de Champelle (D164, Rte du Ventoux)
Walking Lavender Trail along Chemin des Lavandes: Parking area at 44°06’37.4″N 5°24’47.5″E Walking is the best way to see fields in Sault as parking is limited along the roads, and pulling over is risky because of all the ditches between the road and the fields. This walking path is about 5 km and takes around 2 hours.
Bories Fields in Ferrassieres. There are a few fields with bories in them which add a charming touch to photos. A borie is a French word for farmhouse. These houses are small and made of stone. Some are intact, while others have seen better days. The map indicates the two areas below where bories can be found. Hopefully, the year you visit will see lavender in the fields too.
- Bories im Lavendelfeld
- Borie Field 2
As you can see in the photos above, the field didn’t look kept up when I visited in late June, but it wasn’t peak bloom, so I am not sure if that will change as it gets later into the lavender season.
Champs de lavande in Ferrassières– another area to scope out some fields.
Visit these fields in early to mid-July. The bloom starts at the end of June but doesn’t peak until mid-July most years.
The juxtaposition of the rural countryside with the hilltop villages is unique when visiting the Luberon Valley. The best way to find lavender fields in Luberon Valley is to drive towards the villages and along the rural roads.
These are some of the best villages to visit. Along the way, you’ll see plenty of vineyards, olive trees, and lavender fields during the blooming season.
The map has specific locations of the villages, distilleries, and fields, but remember; field locations change yearly. They remain in the same vicinity, but the exact pin location most likely won’t be accurate.
Senanque Abbey is a popular Cistercian abbey to visit that is surrounded by lavender fields. You can get a fantastic view of the lavender from above along the road from Gordes to the abbey. You can tour the abby for a fee. Walking through the rooms and listening to the audio only takes about 15 mins. Arrive right when they open to avoid the tour buses and extensive group tours.
When is the best time to see lavender blooms in Provence?
For the most stunning lavender fields, visit during full bloom, as full-bloom fields are breathtaking with the best color. The trouble is predicting when the full bloom will be. It changes yearly, depending on weather conditions, and is different in the three areas; the Valensole region, Sault plateau, and Luberon Valley.
The first week of July is your best bet to see fields at their peak in the Valensole area. In mid-July, most fields are harvested and turned into essential oils, fragrant soap, and other lavender products. Valensole’s annual lavender festival is set for the 3rd Sunday July.
Because the Sault plateau is a bit higher in elevation, the lavender blooms a few weeks later than Valensole. You will see early blooms at the end of June, but mid-July (usually 2nd-3rd week) is the best time to enjoy the beauty of Sault’s lavender fields. These fields are usually still in bloom in early August and sometimes even in mid-August. Sault’s annual lavender festival is celebrated on August 15th.
Similar to Valensole, Luberon has earlier blooms of fine lavender. They do not last as long as Sault’s fields but typically reach their peak by the 1st to 2nd week of July. I visited this area at the very end of June, and they were not as vibrant as Valensole’s fields at the same time.
What is the best way to visit the Provence lavender farms?
The best way to see the Provence lavender fields is by car in a small group. 3 days is a reasonable amount of time to spend in each area to see as many fields as possible, take a few day trips, and enjoy other fun attractions in each town. If you are short on time, you can easily take a day trip from Marseille, about an hour from Luberon and Valensole, and under two hours from Sault.
I visited all three areas in late June – to the first week of July and stayed in Valensole and the Luberon Valley for 7 nights. This worked perfectly for me since I knew I wanted to do some sunrise photoshoots and didn’t want to drive as far each morning. I also had time to relax and enjoy the hilltop villages of Luberon. The lavender was just starting to bloom in Luberon and Sault but was at its peak by the time I made it to Valensole and BOY- what a difference.
You can easily drive around the area searching for fields or head to a lavender farm for a guided tour, some history about the area, and a chance to purchase some authentic lavender oil and other handmade products. Lavender distilleries are fun to visit to get an in-depth view of how lavender oil is made. The lavender museum near Gordes (in the Luberon Valley), is perfect for anyone interested in the harvesting process.
Tips for taking photos in the Lavender fields
A visit to the lavender fields isn’t complete until you have had your own photoshoot among the beautiful purple flowers. The fields are filled with people taking photos. Here are my tips for capturing the best shots with the best color and without people.
- Grab the best lightning. Avoid harsh light in the middle of the day. An hour before sunrise and sunset and about 30 mins after sunset has great natural lighting.
- Don’t shoot into the sun. Take photos without shooting into the sun. The deepest colors are when the sun is behind the camera or has not risen. Otherwise, images look washed out, which is a style in its own right, but the deepest purples are achieved without direct sunlight.
- Dress purposefully
- Many colors look great against the beautiful purple flowers. Solids pop, and don’t make the photo too busy. White and yellow are my two favorite colors for lavender field photos. Light hues and pastels also look great. You can even go monochromatic and wear soft shades of purple. Just make sure it is light enough to contrast with the deep purple of the fields.
- Wearing a dress that easily flows in the wind is a great way to add drama to a photo.
- Wear the right shoes. If it has recently rained or you are shooting at sunrise when the ground is wet, wear shoes with a back that you can easily walk in and don’t care if they get dirty. Fields have muddy, rocky soil that likes to cling to whatever walks on top of it and may suction a backless shoe like a flip-flop to the ground pulling it off your foot.
- Bring props and accessories like a hat or straw bag and a bouquet of lavender to add interest to photos. Again, DON’T PICK THE LAVENDER; buy bouquets of fresh lavender at local shops.
- Find unique angles.
- Sloping fields and curved rows help add interest to thephotograph and make for great portrait shots.
- Flat fields are best taken from an above angle to add interest and capture the geometry of the rows.
- Consider a professional photographer. If you have the budget, hire a professional photographer. A few local photographers advertising on Instagram charge around 300-400 euros for a solo shoot. The details such as, how long, how many people, how many outfit changes, how many photos, and turn around time are all different. The benefit of hiring a photographer is the convenience of knowing where to go and when and getting professional pictures with different angles and perspectives you might not be able to get on your own.
I love a professional shoot; it just makes getting great shots so much easier, but a professional photographer was out of my budget this time. However, while I was shooting myself in the lavender fields in Valensole, using my tripod, a few photographers approached me and asked if they could take photos of me. I spent the most time with Eleonore (IG: @Eleonore_Bizeul), who captured some fantastic shots. We exchanged emails and I am hoping she will send me some of the photos. Here are a few she captured with my iPhone 13.
If you love nature and flowers, there is no better experience than a visit to France’s lavender fields. Waking up early to enjoy the sun gently waking the rows of purple flowers was a fantastic way to spend a few days in France.
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