Provence, France: Painted in Lavender

10th Jul 2014
Photo of Provence, France: Painted in Lavender 1/1 by Fabio Nodari
Sunrise over Lavender fields


Photo of Gordes, France by Fabio Nodari

Synagogoe de Carpentras

Photo of Synagogue de Carpentras, Place Maurice Charretier, Carpentras, France by Fabio Nodari


Photo of Provence, France by Fabio Nodari

Acres of farmland

Photo of Provence, France by Fabio Nodari

Lavender Farms

Photo of Provence, France by Fabio Nodari


Photo of Verdon, France by Fabio Nodari

Provence is one of the most famous French regions. It is located in the south of France, a few hours by road from Italy, and this is very popular with Italians. But in addition to Italian, meet tourists from a bit 'all over the world. What draws all these people? Of course, lavender. Endless fields of this colorful flower alternating with fields of sunflowers and wheat and make it look like the provence a beautiful painting whose colors seem oversaturated even when the sun sets behind the hills. Provence is truly a paradise for those who love photography but also for those who just want to spend a few days in the countryside, away from city life. The colors and scents of Provence you will remain etched for a long time.

General information

The best time to visit Provence is obviously when the lavender is in bloom in early summer. Unfortunately it is not possible to determine precisely when flowering will take place because the climate affects blooming every year in a different way. Usually the first week of July is a good time, but to avoid disappointment, the best thing to do is write an email at the Tourist Office of Provence to the beginning of June. Responses are in English and are very helpful.

Remember to specify the area that you want to visit, because the flowering period is different depending on the place. I chose the plateau Valensole because it is a particularly rich area of fields and hills are a sight for the eyes, but there are other areas just as beautiful.

For accommodation, I suggest you sleep in one of Chambre d'Hotes (the equivalent of B & B) present almost everywhere, offering figures contained in the breakfast and allow you to know the locals, who will surely recommend some area less traveled by tourists. If you go in Provence in late July or early August you can attend the feast that marks the beginning of the Washing of the collection of flowers. Each county sets a different date, then I recommend you visit the tourist office to find out exactly when the harvest starts in the area where you stay.

Recommended itinerary

What can you visit in Provence? About an hour and a half drive from Valensole is the Cistercian abbey of Carpentras Synagogue, founded in 1148. Since its founding until the last century has had a long troubled history. You can find more details here . The abbey is famous for its lavender field circorstante. Some areas are open to visitors for a fee.

Going back do not forget to make a stop in Gordes, a charming village perched on inaccessible cliffs.

Another place worth visiting is the Verdon.It is just 45 minutes by car from Valensole and is truly spectacular. This canyon is often considered one of the most beautiful in Europe.

From Valensole take the road that leads to Puimoisson and go to La-Palud-sur-Verdon, you will not regret. It 'a scenic road with many places that allow you to stop and take some photos of the Verdon river flowing downstream, unless you suffer from vertigo. And 'interesting to note that this area has remained virtually unknown to the outside world until the beginning of , 1900.

Once in La-Palud-sur-Verdon, after a stop in the village, continue for a few kilometers until you find a big enough parking near Point Sublime. As the name implies, the view that you will be presented in front is simply sublime. If you are lucky you will find just a few meters away from one of the griffins reintroduced in the area, taking advantage of the updrafts of the valley below, it will fly a few meters away from you.

Shooting tips and conclusion

The ideas to make beautiful pictures in Provence abound. A wide-angle lens will let you photograph the endless fields of lavender and wheat in all their beauty, but also do not forget about the 100 mm telephoto to photograph the details of the landscape. One goal longer, maybe around 300 or 400 mm will be useful for photographing the griffins of the Verdon. Obviously donot forget to bring a good tripod, and if you have them, of graduated filters to use when the sun is low on the horizon. The best time of day to photograph the sunrise is when there will be practically no one around and the only noise you'll hear is the hum of bees and your reflex is triggered. The only downside is that waking up at dawn in the summer means getting up early enough, about five o'clock in the morning, but I assure you it's worth it.

No one will tell you anything if you delve deeper in the lavender fields, but you have to have common sense and remember that we are guests. And do not forget to take some pictures to the Chinese and Japanese who flock to the lavender fields during the day. See how they pose alone is worth the price of the trip ...

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