Mis à jour le 02/06/2020
Lavender blossom is coming and you are wondering which period is best suited to visit Valensole’s Plateau ? We will answer to all your questions in this article and take you step by step in this wonderful scenery, a few minutes away from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where every photographer come to take pictures.
During which month does lavender bloom ?
You have to be patient to see lavender flowers. Its starts blooming when the sun starts heating the red land of the Plateau : from mid June to mid July. You can enjoy the deep purple colour of the endless lavender fields in the beggining of July. July 15th, farmers start harvesting, leaving only a month for you to come and see these fields.
Provence lovers cannot miss Valensole’s Plateau in July. It is a marvel for your eyes and nose… To make the best of it, the Tourist Office has developed LavandEvasion : an event to enjoy lavender fully !
Valensole’s Plateau can be visited all year long, and each day offers a new panorama. In March you can see the almond trees blooming, it feels good to wander around before spring.
Between mid June and mid July, as we told you before, it’s the lavender periode. Endless fields surround you joined by bee noises, they are working to give you the best of their harvest ! Lavender honey can be found in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
Italian Strawflowers (also called Immortelle or curry plant), sage and sunflowers also have their place among Valensole’s Plateau, creating a real firework of colours. During fall, the red colour of the ground marks the end of the season.
Where to find lavender fields in Provence ?
For the most of it, lavender fields are on Valensole’s Plateau. Here is one possible tour to see them : from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, take Puimoisson’s direction (beware : the roads are small and bendy, you’re in rural Provence !). Take your time, in Provence it’s a life style. Once you’ve reached Puimoisson, direction Valensole : you won’t be deceived by the road nor the landscape.
Where is Valensole ?
30 Minutes from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, 15 minutes from Manosque, at 590m of altitude, south les Alpes de Haute-Provence department. The village gave its name to the Plateau it is built on.
From the highway A51, take Manosque direction, then Valenosle. From the lake or the Verdon Gorges, follow Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, then Puimoisson.
Valenosle’s Plateau : an adyllic place
Lavender has been cultivated for more than a century on this Plateau and has become its identity. The fields curves, its paths and rural roads make it a perfect place to wander around walking or on a bike.
A wide choice of activities
There are numerous places to visit in our beautiful Provence and activities to do alone, with friends or families. The proximity with Esparron-de-Verdon and Sainte-Croix’s lakes offer the possibility to go for a swim or do nautical activities (rent pedal boats, canoes, kayak, stand-up paddle, …) in a wild natural area. You can also chose to be guided in a mini-bus or horse ride through the fields of lavender. And to embrace this wide scenery fully: why not jump with a glider or take off in an hot-air balloon ?
Why does lavender groes on Valensole’s Plateau ?
Valensole’s Plateau is a real lavender jewel. It is 800km² wide, at 500m of altitude, nearby the Mediterranean sea and the Alps. It benefits from a Mediterranean climate with mountain climate influences which gave birth to a rich and colorful vegetation : oak trees, pines, wheat and oat fields, and of course lavender. Or should we say : lavandin.
Lavender or Lavandin ?
If their is no correct translation for lavandin (it is also translated « lavender »), there is a difference between the 2 species.
« Lavande » only groes above 800m of altitude and has a good resistance to the cold. Its flower is thiner and grows at the end of the stem. When harvested, you need 100kg to extract 1 litre of essential oil. Wherease with « lavandin », 40kg will be enough.
« Lavande Aspic » (an other kind of lavender) grows above 600m of altitude. Its leaves are wider and flowers spread along the stem.
« Lavandin » is a natural hybride betwen those 2 kind of lavender.
On Valensole’s Plateau you will mostly find lavandin.
Lavender fields around Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is 10 minutes away from the Verdon Gorges, Sainte-Croix’s lake and Valensole’s Plateau. You want to see the lavender fields without having to live the hustle of tourists crowds and photographers lining up for the best picture ? Hidden somewhere are the fields you’re looking for, but you will have to lost yourself a little in the heights of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
Leavin Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, follow Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon’s direction. After many bends you will reach the Plateau and its fields. You can follow the road a few more minutes to find the best place to take pictures, with the lake on the background and no one to bother you. This will make your friends jealous !
Venascle road, above Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Under the height of Montdenier Mountain, in the middle of a wild lanscape, are a few lavender fields, kept away from the tumult of tourism. When the sun starts to set, you can admire the scenery and enjoy the quiet ; you may also see a deer or a fox.
It seems obvious but these fields are cultivated by local farmers. It is strictly forbidden to pick up flowers without any previous agreement. Do not walk on or above the crops, park correctly… You can find shops in our village to by lavender and bring back with you the sent of Provence.
Crédit photo : Congerdesign