Have you ever had the urge to see for yourself the undulating fields of lavender in Provence?
|Valensole Plateau, Provence, France|
I think not!
Any essential oil enthusiast would jump at the chance to travel to the mecca of lavender, and I was no different. This last July, I had the opportunity to visit a childhood friend who has a home in one of the most beautiful hilltowns in the south of France. Much like other medieval towns in the area, St. Paul de Vence is a walled settlement perched on the top of a small mountain behind the city of Nice.
|Simiane La Rotonde, Provence|
This plateau (as you can see above) seems to consist of rolling hills of lavender with a few mountains WAY OFF in the distance, so from scouring many travel books before I left, I naturally thought this was what ALL of the south of France looked like. It was quite a shock when I got there last July to discover that the entire province, and the neighboring Haute Provence, are filled with small mountains, singularly and in chains (the Alpilles). To travel from place to place often involves traversing twisty, winding roads with traffic that can be slow-going at times. What looks like a straight shot on a map might take twice as long as you planned because it involves navigating hills and valleys, one after the other!
|Abbaye de Senanque|
|Standing in the lavender fields near Simiane La Rotonde|
|Enjoying the heady scent of Clary Sage at the top of the hill|
They sent us a TEENIE bottle of the most delicate, sweet lavender oil, very unlike the essential oil produced by cultivated lavender. The wild plants themselves were leggier and more delicate than their cousins that have plenty of water and sunshine. The fragrance of the essential oil matched the character of the plants from which it came. We were also gifted with a precious spray bottle of equally delicate floral water. Mmmm... feels so good sprayed on my face, but I'm cherishing it and trying to make it last until NEXT summer, when I hope to return to Provence with a group.
Here are some photos of other sites we saw on this, our first trip to Provence:
|The lavender Museum in Coustellet|
|Flower and vegetable market in Nice|
|View of Nice and the beach from the park above Vieux Nice|
|Street scene in Grasse|
|Ancient perfume vials in the Perfume museum, Grasse|
|Exit door of the perume museum, Grasse|
|The ancient Roman town of Glanum near St. Remy|
|The Bridge of St. Benezet or Pont D'Avignon|
I'll be taking a group with me next year for a week long harvest experience and Provence site-seeing journey. Want to join me? If you'd like to be added to my "I'm interested" list, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out our other trip to Sedona, too at Essential Oil Journeys.