Visiting the lavender fields in Provence was one of my biggest dreams ever since I saw the picture perfect purple rows of lavenders all over Instagram. I finally had the chance to visit in 2020 and let me tell you something: the lavender fields are even more beautiful in real life than on the pictures!
If you’re also dreaming of visiting Provence, you are in the right place! In this guide I gathered all the important information that you need to know before visiting the lavender fields in Provence including tips about where to stay, how to get there and where to find the most beautiful fields.
Disclosure: *This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.*
Best time to visit the lavender fields in Provence
Let’s start with the most important thing: when is the best time to visit Provence to see the lavender fields? As the lavenders only bloom for a short period of time, your timing is really crucial as it can make or break your whole trip.
The general rule of thumb is that the lavender fields usually bloom between mid-June and mid-July. Of course it can vary a bit based on the weather conditions so the timing of the full bloom can be slightly different every year. It’s best to do a little research before your trip just to be on the safe side, but generally the best time to visit the lavender fields in Provence is the last week of June or the first week of July.
The school holidays in France usually start after the first week of July so if you’re planning to visit after, you will find more tourists in the area as the locals also like spending their summer vacation in Provence.
Although lavenders can technically bloom until August, most of the fields are being harvested in the middle of July so the farmers can extract the lavender oil. That being said, it’s still possible to find some lavender fields in August but bear in mind that the most beautiful ones will be already gone by this time.
Based on all this, we decided to visit in the first week of July (specifically from 1 July to 5 July) and it was the perfect timing. The lavender fields were already in full bloom and we could also find blooming sage fields and sunflower fields as well. It was also perfect weather-wise as it didn’t rain and every day was sunny and hot.
What is the weather like in Provence during the lavender season
Just like the other Mediterranean areas, Provence is usually hot and sunny in the summer with little to no rainfall. As the lavender season falls between mid-June and mid-July, be prepared for scorching hot days with an average temperature of 27-30ºC.
However, the mornings and evenings tend to be a lot colder, especially when the weather is windy. Therefore it’s important to pack a sweater or a light jacket as well – trust me, you’re gonna need it!
As there are practically no shades on the lavender fields, make sure to protect yourself from the sun during the day by wearing sunglasses and hats and applying sunscreen both on your face and body. It’s also important to have plenty of water with you to avoid dehydration.
How to get to Provence
The closest airport to the lavender fields in Provence is located in Marseille so if you’re planning to arrive from another country, this is your best option. The most beautiful lavender fields are located around Valensole and it takes around 1 hour to get there from Marseille by car.
Another option is to fly to Nice, from there it takes around 2.5 hours to reach Valensole. Although it’s a longer ride, if you can find cheaper tickets to Nice it can still be a great option for you. Especially if you’re planning to visit the Cote d’Azur region anyways! If you’re planning to do so, you might be interested in this one day in Nice itinerary or the best day trips from Nice as well.
You can also visit Provence from Paris, but bear in mind that it’s gonna be a really long ride. It takes around 7.5 hours to reach Valensole by car without any stops. So in reality, it will be more than 8 hours and on top of that you will need to pay a lot for the toll fees as well.
Another option is to take the train from Paris but since there is no direct route, first you need to take the TGV to Aix-en-Provence and then change to another train to Manosque-Gréoux-les-Bains. The whole journey takes around 5 hours in total and it costs between 65-100 EUR (68-115 USD) per person.
How to get around Provence
Having a car in Provence is a MUST (yes, with capital letters!). Seriously, there are basically no other options for getting around as there is no public transportation in the area. The fields and villages are quite far from each other, it takes anywhere between 10 minutes and 1 hour to get there by car depending on your location and where you want to go, so walking is not an option.
If you’re flying to France, you will need to rent a car at the airport to be able to get around. Unfortunately car rental is pretty expensive in France, for instance, it costs around 250-300 EUR to rent a small car at Marseille Airport for 5 days (of course prices can vary based on your preferences, this rate is based on my independent research at the time of writing and I can not guarantee this rate in any way). On top of that, you will need to pay for fuel and toll fees but luckily most of the roads are free to use in Provence.
On the bright side, parking is free almost everywhere and since the lavender fields are located near the roads, you can basically stop anywhere without paying for parking. That being said, if you’re planning to visit the nearby towns, always check the signs if there are any parking fees or not because it always depends on the location.
Bring your own car
If you live in one of the neighbouring countries, it might make sense to visit Provence with your own car to save some money. Of course it depends on your individual situation, so it’s worth doing a calculation before your trip whether it’s worth to take your own car or not. As an advantage, you don’t need to pay for flight tickets and car rental, but on the other hand it might be expensive to get there due to the tolls and you need to calculate with the time of driving as well.
It’s possible to visit the lavender fields with an organized tour as well but the options are very limited. I would still recommend having your own car but if you don’t drive, organized tours can be a great option for you.
Keep in mind that most tours depart from bigger cities like Avignon, Aix-en Provence or Nice so you will need to stay in one of this cities to be able to attend a tour. Below you can find some of the most recommended tours, they all have amazing ratings and they usually cost between 55-110 EUR (63-126 USD) per person depending on the activities and the duration.
Where to stay in Provence
Although you can find lavender fields basically all over Provence, the most beautiful (hence most popular) fields are located around Valensole so if you’re planning to visit Provence (especially for the first time), it’s worth staying in the nearby area. The three best options to stay in are Valensole, Manosque and Riez.
It’s important to keep in mind that Provence is really popular in the lavender season so you should book your accommodation way in advance to avoid higher prices or lack of places to stay in. It’s worth to take a look at your options at least 6 months in advance!
Since the best fields are scattered around Valensole it would make sense to stay there but since it’s a really small town, I wouldn’t recommend it. First of all, there are very limited options to choose from when it comes to accommodation and on top of that, you will not find that many restaurants or things to do in the town either. The only advantage is that since it’s close to the fields, it only takes around 5-20 minutes to get there by car, depending on which field you’re planning to visit. You can check all the available accommodations in Valensole here!
Manosque is one of the best places to stay in if you’re planning to visit the lavender fields in Provence. Since it’s one of the biggest towns in the area you will find many accommodation options for any budget and there are many great restaurants, cafes and supermarkets in Manosque as well. Not to mention that the town is super cute, you can also spend half a day wandering around the cobbled streets in the old town. We also stayed there and absolutely loved it!
The only disadvantage is that it’s a bit further away from the fields since it’s located 20 km west of Valensole (around 20-25 minutes by car). It means that you will need to drive around 20-40 minutes to reach the fields from Manosque which might seem a bit too much, but in reality it was not an issue for us. On the bright side, if you’re planning to visit other towns in Provence like Roussillon on Gordes (more about them later), Manosque is closer to them than Valensole!
*Please note that the below mentioned rates are calculated for 2 people and they are based on my independent research at the time of writing. Therefore I can not guarantee this rate in any way.*
Set on the heights of Manosque, in the picturesque Haute Provence region, this country house features a garden with a terrace and a heated seasonal outdoor pool. Hôtel Le Pré Saint Michel offers classically elegant guest rooms, fully equipped with a flat-screen TV and a minibar.
Set in the heart of Manosque, L’Hôtel du Terreau Logis de France offers air-conditioned, non-smoking guest rooms featuring a TV with Canal+ channels. A free WiFi connection is available in the rooms.
Riez is another great option if you want to stay close to the lavender fields. It’s located 15 km east of Valensole (20 minutes by car) but since there are many lavender fields between the two cities, you don’t need to drive around that much. Keep in mind that Riez is also a little town just like Valensole, so you will not find so many hotels or restaurants there either. You can check all the accommodations in Riez here!
Where to find the best lavender fields in Provence
If you’ve been reading the previous sections of this post, you already know that the best lavender fields in Provence are located near Valensole. Basically you can find lavender fields everywhere, seriously, you can’t really drive for 5 minutes without spotting another lavender field.
The best roads to follow is D6 (Route de Manosque) which coming from Manosque to Riez and D8 (Route de Départementale) from Valensole to Puimoisson but you can also spot pretty lavender fields along D953 between Puimoisson and Riez. It’s completely free to visit the lavender fields so whenever you find one you like, just park by the road and enjoy the view!
Although all fields are beautiful, there are some lavender fields in particular that are incredibly picturesque. I will share my favourites below with their exact locations!
The field called Lavandes Angelevin is one of the most popular ones in the area and it’s also famous for the heart-shaped tree on the hillside. It’s located 5 km from Valensole in the direction of Manosque along the D6 road. Since the rows of lavenders are located on a hill, it’s really picturesque – no wonder why it’s one of the most beloved locations for photographers.
There is a big parking lot on the other side of the road and the parking is free. Since it’s one of the most beautiful lavender fields be prepared for the crowds, especially during the day. However, since the field is huge there is plenty of room for everyone! There is a bigger space between the rows so it’s really easy to walk between the lavenders.
Best time to visit this field is at sunset, as the sun is setting right behind the hill and the trees. Sunrise is another great time for visiting, especially because you will have the field all to yourself! We visited this field three times during our stay, once for sunrise and twice for sunset – that’s how much we loved it!
Bonus tip: You can also find a sunflower field right next to the lavender field so it’s worth taking some pictures there as well! Unfortunately there is a big gap between the lavenders and the sunflowers so it’s not that perfect, but I loved taking photos just with the sunflowers too.
Tiny house in the valley
This field is located 15 km from Valensole in the direction of Puimoisson, you just simply need to follow the D8 road until you reach the above coordinates. You will find a tiny house in the middle of the field but since it’s in a valley, you will barely see its top from the road. We almost missed it because of this so trust me, the house is there, even if you can barely see it!
The lavender field is huge and the tiny house is located almost in the middle so in order to get closer, you need to walk a lot between the flowers. This field is really different from Lavandes Angelevin as the rows are much closer to each other and the bushes are bigger, therefore it’s much harder to walk between the rows. Please be really careful where you step and don’t damage the lavenders!
Although you can visit this field basically any time of the day, I recommend going there for sunrise! It’s incredible to see how fast the colors are changing once the sun hits the lavenders, coming from blue to pink and then vibrant purple.
If you’re lucky, you can even spot hot air balloons on the sky! Usually the balloons depart from Riez but their routes are not always the same and they are not flying every day either. We arrived to the field around 6am and spotted the balloons around 7am. I didn’t want to believe my eyes first and when I noticed that they are flying in our direction I was jumping out of my skin!
Bonus tip: If you’re ready to leave this beautiful field, continue driving on the D6 road in the direction of Puimoisson. Right after the lavender field ends, you will find a sage field in its place. It’s really beautiful and the two fields are really close to each other so it’s perfect for taking some photos as well.
Stone house with mountains in the background
You will find another stone house in the middle of this lavender field but it’s completely different than the previous one. The field is located 20 km from Valensole, along the D953 road between Puimoisson and Riez. If you’re coming from Valensole, you simply need to follow the D8 road (same direction as to the tiny house in the valley) then take a right turn to the D953 road and stop at the coordinates I gave you above.
If you’re an early bird, the best time to visit this field is at sunrise as the sun is rising behind the stone house and the mountains. The lavender rows are not so close to each other so it’s easy to walk between them and since this field is not so popular and quite far away from Valensole (let alone Manosque), chances are high that you will have it all to yourself!
Tips for taking photos in the lavender fields
Even if you’re not a professional photographer, I’m sure you will feel the urge to take a million photos at the lavender fields. Trust me, nobody will blame you, it’s just so picture perfect! I will share you a few important tips below regarding taking photos in the lavender fields.
How to take photos on the lavender fields
As I mentioned before, you will find many lavender fields around Valensole and they are free to visit so whenever you find a field where you would like to take some photos, just park nearby and walk to the field. It’s quite easy to walk inside the fields because the lavenders are organized in rows and you can easily walk between them.
Please make sure not to damage the lavender while you’re in the field! Try to walk only between the rows and do not step on the lavender. The surface between the rows is rocky so forget about your high heels and only wear flats for your own safety.
I hope it goes without saying, but do no pick any lavenders from the field! If you want to have a bouquet of lavender as a prop for your photos, you can buy it in basically any shop near the fields or in the towns (it usually costs around 3 EUR).
Everything you need to know about bees and spiders
Since you’re basically visiting a huge flower field, be prepared to share it with millions of bees! Yes, they are really everywhere but since they’re busy collecting pollens from the lavenders, they will not bother you (if you don’t bother them). So as a general rule of thumb, try to leave them alone and you will be fine.
However, accidents can still happen so if you’re allergic to bee sting make sure to have proper medication with you! Even if you’re not allergic, it’s best to be prepared. My boyfriend (who is not allergic to bee sting) also got stung by bees on his ankle one evening. First we thought it was a mosquito sting but in the next morning his ankles were already swollen and he could barely walk. Of course you can find many pharmacies in the area as well so if it happens to you and you don’t have any medication with you, go there immediately!
If you’re afraid of bees, the best thing you can do is to visit the lavender fields early in the morning or late in the evening when the bees are not active. You will still need to face a few spiders and other insects but since they are there during the day as well, it doesn’t make any difference.
Best time to take photos on the lavender fields
If you want to take some epic photos on the lavender fields, you need to be aware of your timing. It’s quite hard to shoot there during the day because the weather is usually really hot, the light is harsh, not to mention the million other tourist flocking to the fields. So what can you do? Wake up for sunrise!
I know it sounds mad to wake up at the crack of dawn on your vacation but believe me, it’s so worth it! You need to experience it at least once while you’re visiting the lavender fields in Provence. The sunrise is around 6am and I recommend being on the fields at least 15 minutes before that. The light is changing really quick and you don’t want to miss that! You will not only have the perfect lights but you will have the fields all to yourself (except a few other photographers) and the bees are still not active in the morning so that’s another big advantage!
Another great time for shooting is sunset. The lighting is beautiful as well, but there will be a lot more other people on the fields so it’s not always easy to shoot. The sun is setting around 9.20pm and if you don’t want to miss the golden hour, you will need to be at the fields around 8pm.
Best camera equipment to take photos on the lavender fields
If you have a professional camera, definitely bring it to the lavender fields! But don’t worry, even if you don’t have a camera you will be able to take amazing pictures with your phone as well. Although I mainly use my camera for taking photos, I also took a few shots with my phone and they turned out amazing. Just look at these photos below, they were all taken on my iPhone XS and edited on the free Lightroom mobile app on my phone.
Back to the camera, if you have a normal everyday zoom lens, that will be perfect for the job. However, if you have a telephoto lens, definitely put it in your camera bag! We just purchased our Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 lens a few weeks before visiting the lavender fields in Provence and we ended up using it 90% of the time. Below you can see two of my favourite photos we shot with this lens! If you want to read more about what is in our camera bag, check out my detailed post about our travel photography gear.
How to use a drone on the lavender fields
You can also use your drone on the lavender fields but there is only one little problem with that: bees don’t like drones and they will attack it the second you start flying. Of course they can’t really do any damage in your drone but on the other hand, the propellers can hurt the poor bees so please try to avoid that. The bees are not active early in the morning and late in the evening so if you want to fly your drone, this is the perfect time for that.
Best places to visit in Provence other than the lavender fields
If you’re visiting Provence in the lavender season, you will probably spend most of your time in the fields. However, if you need a change of scenery, Provence has many more to offer! There are many cute towns and other natural wonders near the lavender fields so if you have some extra time, try to visit a few of them on your trip.
Roussillon is one of the cutest towns in the area. Although it’s quite far away from Valensole (it takes around 1.5 hours to get there by car), it’s well worth the detour! It’s full of pastel colored houses and cobble stoned streets, it totally feels like walking in a fairytale town. Roussillon is surrounded by a beautiful countryside and it’s also famous for the huge red cliffs and ochre quarries.
Gordes is another fairytale town close to Roussillon. Since it only takes 15 minutes to reach Gordes from Roussillon, it makes sense to visit both on the same day. If you don’t have time to properly explore Gordes, you can also just visit the ‘Town View Point Gordes‘ where you can have a panoramic view over the town and the surrounding area.
If you have more time after visiting Roussillon and Gordes, you can also pay a visit to the Sénanque Abbey which is located 10 minutes from Gordes. The abbey is surrounded by lavender fields so it’s really picturesque and you can also go inside the abbey as well (a ticket costs 8 EUR per person for a guided tour and 9.5 EUR per person for a non-guided tour).
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is part of the Parc Naturel Régional du Verdon and it’s listed as one of the most beautiful village of France. The town is really charming and since it’s located only 35 minutes from Valensole by car, it’s absolutely worth visiting!
If you’re already visiting Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, it’s worth to take a detour on your way back to Valensole and drive by the gorgeous lake of St. Croix. You will find a cute little village called Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon nestled on a hillside on the shores, it looks so picturesque! There are many beaches on the shores so you can take a dip in the lake as well.
Gorges du Verdon
Gorges du Verdon is the deepest gorge in France and it’s an amazing place to visit for outdoor lovers. You can swim in the crystal clear waters, rent a boat or a kayak or just enjoy a picnic on the shores.
Salin de Giraud
Did you know that you can find pink lakes in France? Yes, plural! Salins D’Auiges Mortes is the most famous one but it can only be visited by train and it’s usually very crowded. Thanks to Hanna from @solarpowerblonde we found out that there is another hidden pink lake in the area called Salin de Giraud.
It takes more than 2 hours to reach it by car from Valensole so it’s quite far away but it’s so worth the time! Personally we visited it right after arriving to the airport in Marseille and went to Valensole after that.
The pink lakes are basically man-made salt pans and the pink color is caused by a certain type of algae. They are scattered around a huge area and I’ve heard stories from other people that they couldn’t visit the lakes because a security guard didn’t allow them to enter. We didn’t have any problems like this at the lake we visited, we just simply parked the car and walked 5-10 minutes to reach the lakes. These are the exact coordinates if you want to visit the same place: 43.400981 4.723459
Map of the places to visit in Provence
In the below map you can find all the best places to visit in Provence that was covered in this article. You can easily save it to your phone by clicking on the bracket in the upper right corner and the map will open up in your Google Maps app. Super convenient, right?
Visiting the lavender fields in Provence is a real bucket list experience. I hope you will be able to see it with your own eyes at least once because it’s really magical! I also hope you liked this guide and it will help you planning your own trip.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email, I always love helping you out! Are you still dreaming about visiting the lavender fields in Provence or have you already been there? Let me know in the comments!