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.