Lavander Festivals of Valensole France

Jul 6th, 2017, 07:34 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 309
Lavander Festivals of Valensole France

Hi All,

I have heard there is a yearly lavender festival in Valensole but I can't seem to find anything with dates. The closest I came is this: Valensole: Last fortnight in July, Fête de Lavande. I am not sure what the last fortnight in July would be? I've also found info saying it is the third Sunday in July.

judyjayp is offline  
Jul 6th, 2017, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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A fortnight is two weeks.

I believe it is the third Sunday in July, however, one day, or July 16th this year.
Christina is online now  
Jul 6th, 2017, 10:17 AM
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Thank you Christina.
judyjayp is offline  
Jul 7th, 2017, 03:06 AM
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It's the last two weeks in July, but lavender is a crop and so no one can ever say when it will be at its peak because of variations in the weather, which has been weird here in southern France this summer. Just keep in touch with the website of Velensole for updated information.
StCirq is online now  
Jul 7th, 2017, 06:44 AM
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We drove through the Valensole Lavendin fields two weeks ago today - and they were stunning. Full bloom. It was also around 34 degrees. This is Lavendin, which is different from Lavender. Lavendin is more robust, more purple, and it seems to be a larger plant than Lavender. There are several plant vendors on the Valensole plateau selling both Lavendin & Lavender. We also drove around the Lavender fields near Sault - which was not robust & seemed like a month away from full bloom. There was one large Lavendin field near Sault, on the road from Aurel to Montbrun that was in full bloom and attracted many photographers.

Following is the Valensole Lavender/Lavendin section from my 36 page Provence & Cote d'Azur itinerary. If you would like the full itinerary, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attached one to the reply e-mail.

Day trips from Aix-en-Provence

Valensole Plateau, Lavender & Poppy fields, Riez, & Moustiers allow a full day

This excursion can be a day trip from either Aix-en-Provence or from the Luberon. The highlights of a drive through the Valensole plateau are the lovely lavender and poppy fields. We drove this route one year on June 14 when both the lavender & poppies were in full bloom, and again on June 24 in '14 - but the poppies were gone. I would only recommend this trip if you are visiting during the lavender season (mid-June through July).

Leave Aix north on the A51 and get off at exit # 19 – just east of Forcalquier. If you are departing from the Luberon near Apt, go east along the D900 which becomes the D4100 as you travel into the Haute-Provence Dept. (it's the same physical road). Continue on the D4100 to Forcalquier. However, if you are doing this visit on a Monday - you will have great difficulty driving through Forcalquir - it's their market day and one of the largest in Provence. We actually visited Forcalquir on Monday for the market, and drove through it another day to get to the lavender fields.

Forcalquier* is a very interesting town to explore. My wife's very favorite home decorating store in Provence is here - called La Terraio. There are two locations - one on Rue Plauchud near the Fontaine Renaissance, and another smaller shop just around the corner on Rue Merciere. Even if you don't want/"need" to shop, this store with its maze of "rooms" is captivating. The perched village of Lurs* (just north of Forcalquier off the D12) is another very cute hilltop village worth exploring.

From the #19 exit off the A51, take the D4B through Oraison and then the D4, and then the D15 towards Valensole. About 1/3 of the way on the D15 to Valensole, there is a fantastic view - look for the view icon on your 334 map. Most of the D15 up to this point and a few Ks past the "view" consists of forest & not that scenic. About 3/4 of the way to Valensole on the D15 - be prepared. In '14 & '17 there was one of the most spectacular lavender field we've ever seen. There was a human traffic jam out here in the middle of nowhere - people taking pictures of the field and the cars parked every which-way. This field is best viewed in the morning. This field and for the next hour of driving, you are going to see the best lavender fields we saw in Provence in '14 & '17.

Continue on the D15 towards Valensole. Just before you get to Valensole, you'll encounter a right turn on the D15 - directing you to the town of Valensole. Don't turn right towards Valensole. Instead go straight - look for the small sign directing you to Digne. You'll immediately drive past another wonderful lavender field. This Valensole "bypass" is parallel to the D8 going northeast, and will shortly connect with the D8. Along the D8 heading northeast there are more & more & more & more spectacular lavender fields. Soon you'll hit the D953 and turn right/south towards Riez - and more lavender fields.

Stop & visit Riez*, which has a wonderful Saturday AM market. As I have stated before, it took me about 15 years to realize that it’s never smart to visit or even drive through a town on a Sunday, Monday, or during the lunch closing (12:30 to 3:00 or so), because the town will be all “shuttered-up” with those ugly aluminum shutters & the town will look like it’s preparing for an invasion. We drove through Riez on a Sunday in ’99 & the town had no appeal at all. When we were there in June ’03 on a Saturday, the market was going strong, people were having coffee at the cafés under the plane trees, and the shops with their attractive window displays were open – quite a contrast from our prior (’99) Sunday visit. Explore Riez – see the Green Guide for a map (if you’re visiting during the Sat market, you can park in the large lot along Ave Fr. Mistral, just before you cross the river). Walk east along Allee Gardio to Place de la Colonne (where the fountain is located), and then turn left (west) & try to find City Hall (Hotel de Ville) in a lovely courtyard – poke your nose inside the Hotel de Ville a bit. Continue west along the narrow R Basse, which has some outdoor restaurants. When you hit the Church, curve right & go east on Grand Rue – which parallels R Basse. There are a lot of medieval mansions than have been turned into residences along this street. In '03 there were many renovations going on. When we returned in '14 - there were still lots of renovations - and the town didn't seem to have "progressed" much since our '03 visit. Aside from the commercial streets, things seemed a bit desolate.

Head east on the D952 to Moustiers** and get the cameras ready. In the afternoon sun, the view of Moustiers from the west is spectacular. Explore Moustiers – it’s not only a very cute village, but it’s one of the most famous faience (pottery) centers in France. My wife enjoyed the Musee de la Faience (I waited outside), and we also climbed up to the church. Wander around town & enjoy the shops, but beware of the lunch closings. Do not visit Moustiers on a Friday - market day (like we did once). It's impossible to park and the crowds will interfere with the enjoyment of this town. It's in our "top 10%" of the "cute little villages" in France. We had a very nice lunch at La Treille Muscate (reserve ahead),:

After Moustiers, retrace your route on the D952 to Riez, and then on to Greoux les Bains.

If you are returning to Aix, get on the A51 heading south. If you are returning to the Luberon, drive through Manosque (somewhat difficult navigating, and there is lots of very ugly commerce to drive past).

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jul 11th, 2017, 04:56 AM
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Posts: 309
Thank you St.C and Stu. I'm putting a copy of your itinerary in my Aix file.
judyjayp is offline  

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