Wishing we were in Provence… But, as it so happened, one of the pups got a tummy illness that left us no choice but to call the trip off. Thankfully, a last-minute change of plan cost us only a night’s stay cancellation fee. Could’ve been worse. Looking on the bright side, this just means that we’ll have to go back next summer!
In the last 10+ years of visiting Provence we’ve come across so many lavender fields that you’d think we’d have seen them all. But no, no no, we keep discovering new ones on each trip back. How much we see depends on where we’re staying and the season of course, and to give an idea of the far and wide of Provence’s “blue gold”, here’s the website I use to map out an itinerary: Routes de la lavande.
A car may not be the only way to experience Provence, but there can be no argument that it is absolutely the best way. I’m lucky to have a husband that doesn’t mind being behind the wheel while I shout out LAVANDE! LAVANDE! when the familiar hue comes into view.
Timing is everything, but sometimes we’re caught completely by surprise, like when we were heading to a little village reputed to have the best croissants. The lavender was harvested, but I’ve never seen it like this with bundled bouquets laying all over the place.
Those awesome croissants I had heard about were all sold by the time we reached Saignon, but the chaussons aux pommes were buttery delicious with a pretty damn good espresso.
Breakfast at Chez Christine in Saignon, originally uploaded by Rubber Slippers In Italy on Flickr
July 22, 2017 – heading south from Saignon on the D48, this borie came into view. I saved the coordinates for the next time; you can thank me when you get the shot with blooms intact! 43°50’43.0″N 5°25’46.7″E (43.845283, 5.429633)
We drove to Valensole during the 4th weekend of July and there was no blue gold in sight, save for a modest stretch of young plants. “They’ve already been harvested,” our b&b host tells us, but off we went. No holiday in Provence is complete without the dogs in the picture.
And don’t forget the sunflower fields.
Finally, a lavender festival, french and proper, and in one of the most charming villages in Provence. There are several fêtes that I know of (in Sault, Ferrassières, and Valensole) but this is the first time we got the timing right in order to see one.
For being the 1st edition to take place in Banon, the program and organization was really top-notch: lots of vendors selling an assortment of lavender items, food stalls with tempting displays of goat cheese and cured meats, cute knick-knacks, and entertainment for the kids. As a nice memento to take home, you could fashion your own bouquet from the cut lavender heaped onto the ground. Cafes and restaurants were all open for business and a few food trucks were on the premises – something for everyone!
Initially I was concerned about the parking but I needn’t have worried. Drivers were directed just outside the village and you could either walk or catch the free shuttle into town. It was another hot July day as usual, so it was great that dogs could hop aboard as well.
It would’ve been so much fun if we had stayed to see the folk dance group in the afternoon, but the heat was awful for the pups so we had to call it a day. Hopefully this will be a repeat event for years to come. Great job Banon!