Find out the best time and itinerary to visit Provence and see the beautiful lavender fields this year.
Provence is one of the most well-known places in France. It’s located in the southeast of France, just a few hour’s drive from my hometown in North Italy. People worldwide travel to this region for a very simple reason: the beautiful lavender fields.
Lavender fields alternating with wheat and sunflowers make Provence look like an impressionist painting: so beautiful that sometimes you wonder whether you are dreaming or are there. Provence is a paradise for photographers, but it’s also a great place for all those who love nature and want to relax far from the hustle and bustle of the cities. I’m sure you’ll remember the colors and the scents of Provence for a very long time.
When is the best time to visit Provence (2023)?
The best time of the year to visit Provence is the beginning of summer, between the end of June and the beginning of July, when the lavender flowers are in full bloom. The big question is when exactly the lavender will blossom in 2023. That is a difficult question because every year is different due to the weather.
I would suggest visiting Provence the first week of July, but it’s a good idea to ask directly to the Provence Tourism office around the beginning of June.
Please remember to be specific about the place you want to visit because every area in Provence blossoms at a different time, as you can see on the map… These dates are just an approximation. I visited Valensole because it’s rich in lavender and sunflower fields, and it’s a real joy for the eyes to see so many colors.
Regarding the accommodation, I think the best solution is to book one of the many Chambre d’Hotes (the French version of the Bed & Breakfast). They are quite cheap and are the best way to get to know local people who can also suggest things to do and to see (local people are far better than any book).
If you visit Provence between the end of July and the beginning of August, you can attend the Lavender Festival. Every village decides a different date so it’s best to ask the tourism office.
Provence: the best itinerary
What things can you see in Provence? Just one hour and a half drive from Valensole, you can visit the beautiful Senanque Abbey, founded in 1148. The history of this abbey is very interesting, as you can read here. This abbey is famous because lavender fields surround it.
Driving back to Valensole, don’t miss the beautiful village of Gordes, built on a giant calcareous rock, dominating the valley.
Another great place to visit is Verdon.
Only 45 minutes drive from Valensole, Verdon is a canyon considered one of Europe’s most beautiful.
From Valensole, take the road to Puimoisson, then keep driving towards La-Palud-sur-Verdon, and you won’t be disappointed. It’s a panoramic road with many places where you can park and take some awesome pictures (only if you don’t fear heights).
I was surprised to discover that Verdon was unknown to the rest of the world until the beginning of 1900. Once you get to La-Palud-sur-Verdon, continue to a big parking lot near Point Sublime. The name is fitting: the view is incredible, and if you are lucky, you can see the griffon vulture flying right above your head.
Photographic tips and final considerations about Provence
I’m sure you’ll take many good pictures if you visit Provence. This place is simply amazing. It’s a good idea to bring a wide-angle lens with you. If you plan to photograph the griffon vulture (though October is the best season for this kind of photography), bringing a zoom lens is a good idea.
Don’t forget to bring a good tripod and some graduated filters for the sunsets. I think the best time for a landscape photographer is the sunrise: first, the light is perfect; second, it’s not too hot; and third, there are no tourists (unlike the sunset).
Obviously, this means that you should wake up quite early, around 5:00 am… No one will complain if you want to walk inside the lavender fields, but please remember that we are just guests… Finally, here you read some tips on how to take better travel pictures.
Have a safe trip in Provence!
Here are more pictures of Provence, and here is a post about another amazing place in France: Normandy and Brittany. Another beautiful place to see huge flower fields is Hokkaido in Northern Japan. Here I talk about the beautiful Jacaranda trees in Yunnan, China.