Precisely a year ago, i remember writing about the lavender field in Provence. When i first saw the picture of the lavenders on Instagram, it was love at first sight. When that moment finally came true, i knew it was indeed a blessing. As i stood before the lavenders that stretched as far as my eyes could reach, all i could say is, wow.
LITTLE FACTS ABOUT AIX EN PROVENCE
I had opted to stay in an Airbnb in Aix-en-provence, a three-hour train ride from Paris. When i first read about it, i knew i had to be there. I have always been fascinated with archaic buildings and history and for that, Aix was the place to be.
Aix is a city founded in 122 BC by the Roman Consul Caius Sextius Calvinus and was developed into a Roman town during the first century. In 102BC, it was where the Battle of Aquae Sextiae took place when the Romans defeated the Cimbri and Teutones. Back then, once the Romans unearthed the benefits of the town’s hot springs, they turned the city into an urban centre and spa. After the withdrawal of the Roman forces, Aix was conquered by the Visigoths. As years grow longer, the town came under attack by several groups such as the Franks and the Lombards.
We had stayed in the city centre and Aix was everything i imagined it to be — lined with archaic buildings from 17th century to paved plazas; narrow streets and beautiful fountains. We lived right in the midst of it all and for that i would totally recommend staying here if you ever find yourself in Aix. It is a small city and the main mode of transportation is by walking.
Where can you see the lavenders?
The most famous stop is in Valensole where you could see the lavenders stretched so beautifully towards the horizon. However, you can drive up to Gordes and you can find lavenders along the way as well. One of the most famous spots near Gordes is the Sénanque Abbey (We didn’t have enough time to drive to Gordes because it was on the other side of Provence)
How to get to Valensole?
The best way to get to the lavender field in Valensole is by hiring a car. There is no way you could get to the fields by train or bus.
The other alternative is to hire a tour guide which can be expensive. It is about 100 Euro for one person and i find it ludicrous considering hiring a car is so much cheaper than that.
Hiring a car in Provence
We had hired a car from Europcar, which was only a couple of hundred meters away from our Airbnb. Since this was my first time driving in the left-side, i may or may not have driven in the wrong lane, went against the flow of the roundabout, got lost. I was not entirely familiar with the roads and what the rules were, so i contemplated on going just straight and see where that brings me. But i am so glad i paid no heed to my anxiety. I had so much fun driving in the countryside. The best thing about hiring a car in Valensole is that you get to stop wherever you want. Because the lavenders don’t grow in one place, you could stop at anywhere you wish to stop for your photos.
Please note that hiring an automatic car would cost you more than hiring a manual car. Also, get yourself the insurance for “just-in-case” situations — like theft, accident etc.
However, try not to get lost! We did and we found ourselves in a narrow two-way street and in the midst of archaic buildings. Again, i contemplated on just getting down and abandoning the car but apparently, that is not how things work. The lane is so small and i am not even kidding you.
We drove for hours and hours just to see the lavenders. It was majestic, really. We encountered the poppy field as well and it was beyond stunning. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the sunflower field. Nevertheless, it is truly the kind of view like no other and if you ever find yourself in Provence, in late June or July (the lavender only blooms from around the last week of June to the beginning of August), this is something you should not miss! However, be careful of the bees (There were tons of them when i was twirling across the field) and wear sunblock! TIPS : Wake up early for sunrise or go during sunset to avoid the sun and for stunning photos.