The Plateau of Valensole
Placed at 590 m of altitude, the village of Valensole has given its name to the whole plateau.
Nicknamed « the region’s granary », this 800 km² plateau is mainly dedicated to lavender and grain.
Its look changes though the seasons: the snowy peaks and the blooming almond trees of March are replaced in July with the purple of lavender, the yellow of sunflowers and the golden wheat. In November, the ochre of the land contrasts with the pure blue winter skies.
Mountain biking - Les lavandes
15 km, 150m climb, 1h30, average level. A bike trail for the whole family, which runs along small rural paths and roads, through a landscape rich in scents and colours. Start on the road to Sainte-Croix, on the plateau 4 km after Moustiers at the junction with GR. Yellow FFC signposting.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie-Valensole return trip : 60 km, 1hour. Things to see : vistas over the lavender and sundflower fields, almond trees, distillery visits, the village of Valensole.
More information: www.routes-lavandes.com
Lavender, just like its aromatic savory cousins thyme and rosemary, belongs to the mint family (labiatae). They are a bee favourite (melliferous plants) as demonstrated with the delicious honey they produce.There are different varieties such as Lavandula angustifolia (true lavender) providing a better quality essential oil, and Lavandula intermedia (lavandin) the most commonly grown on Valensole’s plateau.
Use of lavender
Lavender is used in the production of Marseille soap; the bees transform it into honey; it is also distilled for its perfume or its therapeutic properties.