Situated in the Alpes-des-Hauts-Provence the Valensole Plateau is rich in wheat, olive trees and almonds but above all lavender. We visited the lavender fields today the 3rd of July 2016, if you want to see the lavender in full bloom, now is the time to plan your visit. The colour of the fields and the views towards the Alps are spectacular - if you drive through Valensole on the D8 in the direction of Dignes-les-Bain you will leave the tourist buses behind. This photo was taken just before the road descends in one direction to Estoublon and in the other towards Riez - a sleepy little town on the edge of the Gorges du Verdon.
I have never seen so many bees, their hives are grouped round the fields so that the beekeepers can make lavender honey. The lavender is harvested mechanically towards the end of July, and it is then that the air is filled with the perfume of the plant. The majority of the lavender is distilled locally and the essence is used for scenting detergents and soap.
Most of the lavender in this area actually comes from the plant Lavendula x intermedia, a hybrid plant whose common name is lavandin, it grows at lower altitudes than true lavender, and is a more productive crop.
On another note, Rebecca's Aix offers Walking and Market Tours of Aix-en-Provence - please visit http://shoppingaix.com for more information and to make a booking.