Belle Lavande

Most people associate lavender with glorious sunny fields of violet sweeping across France, but in fact lavender did not originate from France but from the Middle East, specifically ancient Egypt dating back to about 2,500 years ago.

Egyptians used lavender as a holy herb, and it was often placed in clothing and other personal items, including the hair, not only to scent things but also to act as an actibacterial. When there was an abundance of it, it was strewn through the streets as it was thought to deter rats and other vermin.

Travellers and traders brought the plant to the Old World Countries (Europe, Africa and Asia) where it not only flourished but thrived.

Curiously, although most of the world associates France with stunning sweeping purple fields awash with lavender, French people do not! Most visitors to Aix-en-Provence in the South of France are foreigners, who are drawn to the region for the fields of lavender. Although lavender is grown widely throughout France in the country areas, there are a few main areas that grow lavender commercially.

The 3 main lavender cultivation areas in France are Sault Plateau, Luberon, and Valensole Plateau

Lavender fields in these regions are at peak harvest in the European summer season, usually around mid July. If you visit after this time, you are unlikely to see any lavender as it will have been harvested, but you can still see bountiful fields of this gorgeous scented plant if you travel to the Vaucluse mountains in the north, specifically to the villages of Sault and Aurel. From these hilltop villages you can see the lavender fields sweeping across the land like a gentle blue-purple sea right up to early August.