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Lavender fields of Provence - the south of France

Deutsche Fassung German translated articles

Lavender fields France: Guide and tips for first visitors

The lavender flower represents purity and grace. Purple is considered the colour of royalty and reflects elegance and luxury—no wonder so many people are intrigued by the beauty of Lavender Fields.

France is considered the world’s most popular tourist destination, attracting close to 90 million visitors every year (excluding COVID-19 years). 

France’s popularity stems from its postcard scenery, strategic location, beautiful countryside lined with olive trees, vineyards, outstanding food and wine, art, history, culture  and lavender fields.

An interesting statistic for my travel buddy, Petra (who loves McDonald’s), is that France is the second largest consumer of Big Macs after the United States.

Also, read our article “Six must-visit countries in 2024.”

Lavender Fields France
Travelbuddies making use of the best photo opportunities in the lavender fields

A tour through the lavender fields in Provence

It has always been a dream of mine to experience the lavender fields in the south of France. Provence is synonymous with lavender fields. No, not really!

My perception of the south of France stems from the tourism hype created on travel websites and social media, which features Provence as a mixture of olive groves, vineyards, pine forests, lavender fields, and abandoned farmers’ cottages. 

An in-depth discussion with Petra soon revealed that this is mostly a non-European way of thinking. Moreover, Petra and I often discussed (before our trip through Italy, France, and Switzerland) that I must manage my expectations of the lavender fields. Social media pages often exaggerate many tourist attractions to promote certain destinations. Petra was worried that my expectations could lead to me being greatly disappointed in the lavender field.

Even though I lowered my expectations, I am happy to say that my expectations of the lavender fields were met and surpassed. It was even more beautiful than I imagined.

The routes we explored may differ from other tourist spots suggested by travel agents. However, we can assure you that this article is for you if you’re after unparalleled views and less crowded fields!

We tell you where to find the roads less travelled and the most charming villages and guesthouses near the best lavender fields.

Travelbuddies in France
Sonnenuntergang in den Lavenderlfeldern

Lavender fields route from the Côte D’Azur to the Rhône valley

If you followed our France trip on Instagram (mid-June 2022), you probably know that we started our trip in Lake Como, Italy (where we stayed for one night at Hotel Fioroni – go check out our article). From here, we travelled to the Côte d’Azur, where we spent three nights (read our article about Monaco and its surroundings) before we continued our journey to the lavender field in Provence.

We started our journey to the lavender fields from the Côte d’Azur over down-to-earth Nice (Bernie’s favourite place for shopping), and of course, two adjacent film festivals, Cannes and Grasse (this lovely place is worth having an article of its own). From there, we continued our journey towards Gorges du Verdon with the D6085 and D952 (taking a few wrong turns, thanks to Google Maps). At the end of the Gorge, we continued with the D952 towards Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. We chose this route because it included some of France’s most magnificent landscapes and least travelled roads, starting with extraordinary limestone peaks and ending in the most breathtaking (quiet) lavender fields.

The best part about the journey was watching how the landscape changed from a vibey green landscape in Nice to the hilly, dry, barren limestone massifs near the Alpine foothills near our destination in Moustiers Sainte Marie.

Lavender fields France
The French lavender fields
Travel buddies in the lavender fields France
Petra navigating her way through the high fields
French lavender fields
Bernie enjoying the fields
Lady in white dress in the lavender fields
Petra wearing a lovely white dress to contrast against the purple background

When is the best time to visit the lavender fields in France?

We believe the best time to visit the fields is from the last week in June to the beginning of August. We visited the lavender fields in mid-June, and although the flowers were not in full bloom yet, we were very happy with the quality of our photos and experiences because we encountered no crowds (which are a nightmare in July in terms of accommodation and photo opportunities in the lavender fields). 

The peak of the European holiday season starts in July and ends towards the end of August.

Late spring to early fall (late May through September) is always considered a perfect time for France. Spring is filled with mild days ideal for hiking and marks the return of wildflowers and lush greenery. Conversely, summer (June to August) draws massive crowds and gets extremely hot. 

Unfortunately, the lavender season in France is not an all-year-round phenomenon. Therefore, the best times to visit the south of France and the lavender fields are from May to June, early autumn, and September to October. The peak of the lavender season is mid-July, but it depends on rainfall and climate change. 

What is the difference between French and English Lavender?

In contrast to  English lavender (which only blooms for four weeks), French lavender can bloom for up to three months.

What type of lavender is found is France?

In the Provence region, two types of lavender are grown: the lavender (also referred to as the true or English lavender) and Lavandin. We were lucky to spot both types and take photos in both lavender fields. 

What is lavender used for?

Lavender is mostly used for its medicinal properties and is typical of Provence. It is also used to create perfumes and essential oils known for their relaxing and stress-relieving properties.

Lavandin smells much stronger and is not suitable for medicinal purposes. It is mostly used to enhance the smell of products sold in souvenir and gift shops.

What to wear in the lavender fields for the best photos?

We took photos on two different days with different outfits.

We found the photos of Petra wearing her white dress and me in my white shorts and pastel-coloured top worked better than the ones we took the previous day of me in my colourful dress. In our opinion, the green and purple tones got lost against the purple hues of the lavender.

Lady in white dress in the lavender fields
Petra wearing a lovely white dress to contrast against the purple background

What time of the day is the best for visiting the lavender fields in France?

Depending on what you are looking for, the lavender fields all looked much the same to us. The only difference was the time of day that we visited each field. We particularly enjoyed spending time in the fields at sunset. We saw several couples having a romantic picnic in the fields, which looked really nice. 

Coordinates of the best lavender field spots in France

Here are the coordinates of the places where we took our best photos:

  • 43,85254° N, 6,18123 O on the D952 between Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and Roumoules.
  • 43,85199° N, 6,11057° O on D953 between Puimoisson and Valensol.
  • 43,87315° N, 6,13047° O on D953 between Puimousson and Bras d`Asse.
Travelbuddies in the lavender fields
We found may lovely fields almost in full bloom during mid June

A must visit-village in the French lavender fileds: Moustiers Sainte Marie

Moustiers Sainte Marie is located near the best lavender fields between Valensole and Aigiones. It is considered the gateway to the Verdon Gorges and has been listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It has an exceptional geographical location between the rocky slopes and an altitude of 630 meters. We stumbled upon this picturesque village on our way from the gorges as we were looking for an overnight place near the best lavender fields (after almost four-hour drive from the Cote D’Azur). 

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie lies at the base of towering limestone cliffs and signifies the start of the Alps and the end of the Haute Provence’s rolling prairies. It is the ideal spot for exploring many of the main sightseeing routes of the Gorges du Verdon and Saint-Croix Lake.

Being so tired from our travels, we almost missed the opportunity to explore the village had it not been for the persistence of the receptionist at our guesthouse asking us several times if we had been to the village up on the hill. Not wanting to disappoint the friendly lady (who pointed out in much detail on a map the village’s key attraction), we decided to “quickly” make our way to the village after breakfast. This turned out to be an incredible two hours exploration of an ancient village with more than twenty restaurants, several local arts and crafts stores and being totally disappointed with ourselves that we didn’t head to the desperate insistence of the receptionist the previous night. If you miss all the suggestions in our article, please do NOT skip this little village. This village is absolutely worth a visit and considering an overnight stay.

The village consists of winding coble-stoned streets with tiled roof houses (many still live in this town), connected by arched historical bridges spanning the creek that flows through the village. A steep trail can be followed beside the waterfall to an ancient chapel. A word of caution, apparently, this little village gets extremely crowded during peak season.

Travelbuddies in the lavender fields at Moustiers Sainte Marie in France
Travelbuddies in the Moustiers Sainte Marie
Lavender fields in the Provence
Petra doing some shopping in the village

Is it necessary to book accommodation before arriving in the lavender fields in Provence?

We didn’t have any accommodation pre-booked near the fields and managed to find the most amazing place on our arrival in Moustiers-Saint-Marie. However, if you travel in high season (July and August) it is highly recommended.

Travelbuddies in the lavender fields
There is a lot of accommodation options available in Moustiers Sainte Marie

Is it worth visiting Gorges du Verdon near the lavender fields in France?

Beyond any doubt, YES! Gorges du Verdon is the deepest gorge in France. It is often called the Grand Canyon of Europe, with its breathtaking 25 km of roads through Haute Provence’s limestone plateau.

The canyon is a natural phenomenon characterised by narrow roads with several hairpin bends and turquoise waters at the bottom of the canyons (it is only 8m to 90m wide). If you’re lucky, you can spot Grifton vultures. Although there are no roads to the canyon floor, there is a fantastic circular ‘corniche’ route around the gorge’s rim (although we did not drive the entire route). At the lower end of the gorge, which is only accessible by foot, there are several water activities, such as rafting (the main activity in the canyon), kayaking and boating. Along the route, you will notice people jumping into the waters, enjoying the remote beaches, and climbing up the rocky gorge.

The gorge attracts visitors for many reasons: to enjoy the spectacular road trip, the exhilarating hiking trails, to admire the bird life, and to enjoy a paddle boat ride or canoe trip at the bottom end of the gorge (France Tourism, 2022).

Travelbuddies at Gorges du Verdon
Travelbuddies at Gorges du Verdon

Where to stay in the lavender fields, France?

Hotel Les Restanques de Moustiers is located at the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful lavender fields. It lies at the foot of the Moustiers Sainte Marie village offering breath-taking views over Haute Provence. The hotel is a classical French countryside three-star hotel with all the required features to enjoy a relaxing and convenient stay near the lavender field. The hotel is also a short drive from the Gorge du Verdon.

Who would enjoy this hotel?

The hotel is ideal for anyone looking to explore the roads and hiking trails of the area and being near the best lavender fields. Families will find this hotel particularly suitable due to their unique room types which include not only family rooms but also triple rooms.

The rooms

There are 20 airconditioned and soundproofed rooms, some with terraces and others with direct access to the hotel’s heated pool. There are various categories of room starting with double rooms, family rooms and triple rooms. There are stable and free Wi-Fi in all rooms and public areas. The rooms are fitted with flat screen TVs and comfortable desk spaces for the ‘aways-on-duty’ businesspeople.

Features of the hotel

As mentioned previously, the hotel has a large, heated pool with many pool loungers and a sun terrace. The bonus feature is being within short walking distance of the village Moustiers Sainte Marie. Besides breakfast the hotel does not offer any other dining options but there any many great restaurants in the village of Moustiers Sainte Marie or just outside the entrance of the hotel. Unfortunately, we cannot recommend the restaurant that we had dinner at (just outside the hotel’s gate) as they were busy packing up chairs around us shortly after we arrived. We would rather recommend that you select one of the fabulous restaurants (that we discover the next morning) in the village.

What we most enjoyed about the hotel

The hotel serves the most amazing breakfast in a lovely country setting. The best part about staying so close to the ‘hot spot’ of the lavender fields is that we could capture fabulous sunset photographs.

Hotel and restaurant in the heart of the lavender fields in the Provence with outside eating area
The breakfast area of Hotel Les Restanques de Moustiers
A typical countryside hotel in the lavender fields of France
The views of the rooms at Les Restanques de Moustiers

Hotel Les Restanques de Moustiers

We highly recommend the hotel for its proximity to the lavender fields and Gorges du Verdon. It offers some of the best mountain views and is perfectly located within walking distance to the lovely village of Moustiers Sainte Marie. 

The hotel’s breakfast is worth leaving your home for. 

The staff is extremely help and friendly and will do everything in their power to make your stay enjoyable and comfortable. 

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How to get to the lavender fields in Provence?

It is not difficult to get to the lavender fields in France as there any many types of transport available to reach it.

Petra never goes anywhere without a car (hers, preferably). But for those who prefer flying and hiring a car, the nearest airport to Moustiers Sainte Marie is Marseille (MRS) airport. 

In addition, there is a bus route from Nice (NCE) to Valensole via Aix en Provence – Gare Routière and Gare SNCF which takes around 5 hours and 30 minutes. 

Alternatively, you can take a train (Petra’s least favourite form of transport) from Turin (TRN) to Valensole via Torino. However, this bus route will take much longer because it has several stops, around 11 hours.

Travelbuddies at Gorges du Verdon
Views of Gorges du Verdon

Best Features

  • Fair size rooms with great mountain views 
  • Great proximity to lavender fields and Gorges du Verdon 
  • Their breakfast is outstanding and served in the most beautiful country setting 

Nearby Attractions

  • Lavender fields
  • Gorges du verdon

Value for money

The hotel offers excellent value for money. Although their double rooms were fully booked, they offered us a family room for the two of us for 150 for the night. 

Breakfast was an additional 12 per person but we can honestly say this was our best breakfast we enjoyed during our entire trip. 

Pro Tip

5 Tips for taking the best photos in the lavender fields:

  • Try to take photos of the rows head-on. It also looks great if you take a picture from the top.
  • Take a photo of the lavender rows from the side. This works well to show the curves in the lavender rows.
  • Use the portrait mode on your camera to show the delicacy of the fields.
  • Take a close-up of the fields to show the bees in action.
  • Take a landscape photograph to show the entirety of the fields.
Travel Buddies Lifestyle in den Lavendelfeldern
Lavender fields in the Provence

Conclusion

Like most European countries, deciding the best time to visit can be challenging because the weather is unpredictable.

We believe the best criteria to consider are not only the weather but also the crowds. Moreover, the south of France is significantly warmer than some parts of Europe, particularly the areas nearest to the Mediterranean coastline. 

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Our reviews are a true reflection of our experiences during our stay at the establishment. 

This allow us to comply to strong ethical practices to ensure our reviews are fair and trustworthy. We only do reviews of establishments that we have personally visited. 

This was not a hosted review. 

We were in no way influenced by any person/s in our opinions, views or experiences.

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About Author

As a freelance travel journalist and seasoned business professional, Bernie van der Linde has made it her mission to explore the world's most unique and luxurious destinations. With a PhD in business studies from the University of South Africa, Bernie has channeled her passion for travel, web design, and writing into founding the travel blog Travel Buddies Lifestyle. Here, she shares her adventures alongside her best friend and travel business partner, Petra, who seamlessly translate and compile articles relevant to their German and European audience.

Bernie's love for exploring new places has taken her to some of the world's most exotic locations. Whether gazing out at the glittering skyline of Dubai or enjoying the tranquillity of a private beach in Mauritius, Bernie is always looking for unique experiences that will inspire and entice her readers to travel.

Through her thoughtful writing and unparalleled passion for travel, Bernie van der Linde has made a name for herself in the world of travel writing. Her knack for uncovering hidden gems and sharing her experiences with her readers has made her a trusted source of inspiration for those looking to explore the world in style.

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