Lavender

I've always wanted to see and photograph lavender fields, and the best place for that is the Plateau de Valensole. Somehow, this photo excursion never happened; part of the reason is that the place is not exactly around the corner from where we live, and on the few occasions I could have gone, it turned out to be the wrong season. This year, everything came together perfectly, and on July 13, I managed to drive to Valensole while the purple stuff was still in all its glory.

The drive is gorgeous, but it takes time. This is not so much because it is so far away (all in all I drove 297 kilometers, or 185 miles that day) but because the scenic route, magnificent though it is, follows an occasionally narrow and almost always curvy road. I passed Grasse, Escragnolles (of donkey fame), beautiful Castellane and drove past the Gorges du Verdon and the Lac de Sainte Croix to Puimoisson. It is near there that most of the photos on this page were taken. You can visualize the trip on this map); start at the lower right and follow the blue line counterclockwise.

Click on any image to see a larger (3000 x 2000 pixel) version!


The first lavender field I saw. I drove around a curve, and there it was...

The first lavender field I saw. I drove around a curve, and there it was...


While there are whole meadows where lavender is growing wild, most of it is planted in rows.

While there are whole meadows where lavender is growing wild, most of it is planted in rows.


I don't have a clue what was planted here, but whatever it was, it's gone now.

I don't have a clue what was planted here, but whatever it was, it's gone now.


Occasionally, one sees beehives at the end of a field. Lavender honey is very tasty!

Occasionally, one sees beehives at the end of a field. Lavender honey is very tasty!


The green of the trees, the purple lavender, and the lighter areas of cut grass make for interesting color combinations.

The green of the trees, the purple lavender, and the lighter areas of cut grass make for interesting color combinations.


There is something unreal about purple-colored meadows...

There is something unreal about purple-colored meadows...


Strangely, it almost looks more natural when the lavender is grown in rows.

Strangely, it almost looks more natural when the lavender is grown in rows.


The same field seen from closer to the ground.

The same field seen from closer to the ground.


The lavender fields look like purple carpets in the landscape.

The lavender fields look like purple carpets in the landscape.


Lavender is predominantly used to make oils for the perfume industry.

Lavender is predominantly used to make oils for the perfume industry.


Depending on how the light strikes it, the color of the lavender can become quite intense.

Depending on how the light strikes it, the color of the lavender can become quite intense.


The color combinations one observes on the 'Plateau de Valensole' are just amazing!

The color combinations one observes on the Plateau de Valensole are just amazing!


Even though the purpose of this trip was to take pictures of lavender...

Even though the purpose of this trip was to take pictures of lavender...


...I just couldn't pass by some of these truly enormous sunflower fields.

...I just couldn't pass by some of these truly enormous sunflower fields.


Lavender pretty much as far as the eye can see.

Lavender pretty much as far as the eye can see.


On this road, one is practically forced to stop every few hundred yards to admire the scenery.

On this road, one is practically forced to stop every few hundred yards to admire the scenery.


On the other side of the plateau near Riez.

On the other side of the plateau near Riez.


The purple surface gives the impression of an alien world.

The purple surface gives the impression of an alien world.


An abstract version of the 'Plateau de Valensole' lavender.

An abstract version of the Plateau de Valensole lavender.

These photographs are also available in one of our web galleries.
Among other things, the gallery allows viewing the photos as a slide show. Check it out!




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