Lavender Fields in Provence

"Lavender is the soul of Provence"
-Jean Giono
If you are thinking of visiting Provence, you may want to try to go when the lavender, also known as "blue gold",  is blooming in late June through early August.

Not only will you have the opportunity to see the breathtaking fields of lavender that bloom all over Provence, you may also be able to visit one of the many lavender festivals that happen every summer in the region.  Several of the biggest festivals are in Sault, Dignes and Valres and are held in August.
One "do not miss" stop along the way is the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque, the 12th Century Cistercian abbey where the monks grow lavender and tend honeybees for their livelihood.
Much of the lavender that is harvested is distilled into lavender oil, which is then used in perfumes and other scented products. At the Distillerie Aroma Plantes in Sault you can visit the distillery and walk amongst the lavender on the farm.
For a real adventure, see the lavender fields from a hot air balloon. France Balloons operates balloons from Forcalquier in Haut Provence.
Les Couvent des Minimes Hotel and Spa L'Occitane
There are quite a few tour operators in Avignon and Aix-en-Provence which organize day trips to visit the lavender fields and surrounding sights. But, if you are interested in staying in the heart of lavender country, check out these two luxurious hotels and spas that are both nearby many lavender fields:
Les Bories & Spa in Gordes
Just looking at the these photos makes me long for the smell of lavender wafting through my house. I like the products of L'Occitane en Provence. I also like to add a little bit of lavender oil to water to create my own linen spray, and a few drops to equal parts white vinegar and water to create a natural cleaning spray.
And, finally, here a few recipes that include fresh lavender:
After all of this, I think I need to go find a lavender plant for my kitchen so I can close my eyes and dream I am in Provence every time I smell it!!