valensole, provence lavender fields
At one hour driving from Aix-en-Provence is one of the most famous areas for lavender in Provence. As the meaning of the name says (from latin vallis solis: sun valley) the Valensole plateau is an area where sun shines for 300 days a year over a surface of 800 squared kilometers, offering to lavender the best conditions to grow.
Driving along its roads between mid june and mid july is a unique experience to get soaked with the magic of the lavender blooming fields. The medieval village of Valensole is set in the middle of the plateau, surrounded by mountains, at the edge of the Verdon's natural regional park. Since the past its farming vocation didn't change and in the last 90 years it has been focused on the lavander cultivation. Just aside the large lavander fields we do find the family run distilleries, into which « the blue gold of Provence » is scented to get the essential oil. Inside the village many little shops and boutiques offers a whole range of products made with lavender, such as essential oils, soaps, home fragances, honey, and even ice-cream.