Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lavender

The blue gold of Provence. This tiny but fragrant flower growing at high altitude on the slopes draws both bees and travelers in equal numbers it seems. We embarked on the famous "Route de la Lavande". At first we were afraid that we would not find any fields with flowers left as the harvest starts by the end of July. Finding lavender fields was one of our main goals on our journey in Provence. We drove higher and higher into the mountains and hills anxiously looking for blue fields.

Suddenly I felt the most wonderful scent that filled my nostrils completely. Before we even saw our first field we felt it in the air. Then, boom, it was right there in front of us! We practically jumped out of the car and ran out with our cameras. C would later cruse all the pictures he took. We had hundreds of pictures (no I am not exaggerating) to go trough. Here are the ones we decided to keep.

After the first field we found more fields to our great joy. We got to learn that there are different kinds of lavender. The fine lavender requires the higher altitudes of over 800 meters to grow. Fine lavender has one one single stem and grows wild. It is collected for the perfume industry and thrives among the chalky soils in this hot and dry climate. At the lower altitudes you can find what is called Lavandine. It has a much stronger scent and is used mainly for industrial products and cleaning products. It has several flowers growing on the same branch.


Hoovering above the fields and among the flowers are the bees. The buzzing sound in the air is just as intense as the wonderful scent. Even if there are hundreds of bees they don't disturbe you. Driving around in this region you also encounter a number of places where honey is sold as of the connection between the bees and the lavender. You see signs everywhere that honey is being sold.

I am so glad we got here in time to see and experience this. This was just amazing! One of the true highlights of our vacation in France. The lavender fields start blooming in late June and the harvest starts sometime mid July. The hot summer sun brings the essence up into the flower. It was just like a dream to walk here alone among these fields.



There were a lot of beautiful butterflies also fluttering in the air around the flowers. I finally manged to get a picture of one. I had to work really hard because they just would never be still enough to get.



Besides the lavender fields we passed other fields of grain. I don't know if this is wheat or rye. I thought these fields were really pretty as well.

We continued to drive around and linger until the evening fell and the light was perfect in order to get the best pictures. Here we were among the blue gold alone with our cameras. Aaah just gorgeous!


We stopped at this view point to get the vista over the fields. The rolls of hay lying on the fields. We saw the harvest of the lavender going on. This tractor is collecting the flowers leaving neat rows of green bumps where the flowers have been removed.

Like a large patch quilt spread out in front of us we admired the vista of the fields and the small villages.

I just loved being here.We drove around the lavender region passing the major distilleries and fields of Sault, Gordes and Forcalquier. In Coustellet we visted the Musee de la Lavande. Here we learned a lot about the lavender and also bought a lot of lavender products in the museum shop.


At the museum we also learnt about the distillery process. The first professional distillery opened in Provence in the 1880s after world war I production boomed to meet the demand of the perfumes of Grasse (the perfume center of the world that we also visisted). Even if lavender is now grown and farmed in England, India and the US, Provence still remains the world´s largest producer.



9 comments:

Elisabeth said...

The lavender fields are beautiful, and the wheat fields are a nice contrasting color, too! There's just "something" about the colors in that region, I think.

Looking at the last photo, I think lavender is your color, too!

(I'm too lazy to write in Swedish today!)

Anne-Marie said...

Men det ser ju nästan ut som min utflykt till lavendel"farmen" i mina trakter. Visst är det underbart vackert med allt det blålila och foten. Mmmm! Kramar!

Lotta said...

Desiree,

Jag är nästan utan ord..SÅ fantastiskt fint. Det ser overkligt ut. Jag kommer minnas de här bilderna speciellt mycket. Det finns andra som du och C tagit (självklart) som det här känts "superwow" när jag sett dem, och hit räknar jag era bilder från "Route de la Lavande"

Kram

Anne-Marie said...

Måste bara korrigera min kommentar. "foten" var kom det ifrån? Jag tror Blogger skrev om. ;) Menade "doften". Kanske "makes more sense".

Desiree said...

Elisabeth, thank you I love the color that lavender has. It is true that it is a very nice contrast between wheat and lavender. I just loved being here in this region. The colors, the smells in the air, everything.
Hugs

Anne-Marie, ja jag minns din jättefina foton från din utflykt och nog var det minst lika vackert där du var. Det odlas ju en hel del lavendel på nordvästra kusten av USA. Då vet du precis hur underbart det också doftar.
Kram!

Lotta, åh tack så mycket. Detta var bland de finaste komplimangerna jag fått. Vi tog massor massor med bilder just för att få någon eller några bilder vi gillade riktigt mycket. C hade så många att välja bland att han svor smått. Tillsammans fick vi gå igenom dem och jämföra alla och det fick ta sin lilla tid. Jag tycker mycket om sista bilden som C tagit på mig mitt bland dessa fält.
Kram!

Petra H said...

Helt fantastiska bilder! Trots att jag har varit i Provence flera ggr har jag aldrig besökt route de la lavande - men nu blir jag väldigt sugen! Ska definitivt lägga det på minnet inför framtida semesterplaner... Sista bilden på dig i lavendelfältet är jättefin!
Kram

Anne said...

Det är som att titta i en turistbroschyr när man läser och tittar på dina inlägg från resan. Vilken prakt. Jag kan tänka mig att den härliga doften höjde hela upplevelsen också. det där med alla bin låter jobbigt men du skrev att man inte alls blev störd av dem.

Charlotta said...

Det ser ju helt fantastiskt ut! Och vilken otroligt fin bild på dig bland alla lavendelplantor på fältet - ser ljuvligt ut! Och det måste dofta himmelskt :=)

PS. TACK för ditt fina mail. Det värmer, ska du veta! DS.

viagra online said...

läser och tittar på dina inlägg från resan. Vilken prakt. Jag kan tänka mig att den härliga doften höjde hela upplevelsen också. det där med alla bin låter jobbigt men du skrev att man inte alls blev störd av dem.