Provence Lavender Fields with children. A comprehensive Guide with free map.

Traveling to Provence and visiting the lavender fields with our children is one of our favourite family traditions.

Visiting these fields is a dream for many, I know. Being based in Paris, we are fortunate enough to be able to simply take our car and head south.

After multiple trips to Provence with our kids, I honestly think that experiencing the lavender fields with children adds an extra layer of magic and wonder.

In this blog post, I will take you on a family-friendly journey through Provence´s lavender fields. I will offer you all the tips and insights on how to make the most of your trip with your little ones.

From the best times to visit to child-friendly activities and must-see spots, I will tell you everything I know about visiting the French lavender fields with children.

Get ready to create unforgettable memories in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Free Map with the precise location of the 10 best lavender fields in Provence at the end of this guide !

A little bit of History of Lavender

Original from other parts of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and India, it is believed that Lavender arrived in France around 600BC. At the beginning it was mainly a wildflower used sporadically as a medicinal herb.

It was the Romans that started cultivating the lavender to perfume their baths and linen. And apparently it is here that the name “Lavender” appears, coming from the Latin word “lavare” that means “wash”. 

Later, lavender started to be significantly cultivated in Provence in the Middle Ages for its olfactory and medicinal virtues. But it was in the 19th century that the cultivation of this flower developed. Grasse perfumeries played then a big part in this, using fine lavender essential oil to create their elixirs.

Today we count around 1600 lavender cultivators in Provence. But cultivating lavender is not a walk in the park.

Lavender is indeed difficult to cultivate. Growing between 600 meters and 1,600 meters on the sunny slopes of the Haute-Provence mountains, fine (or true) lavender is the noblest of flowers. Its essential oil, the most refined, has obtained the AOC “lavender essential oil from Haute-Provence”.

It is increasingly being supplanted by lavandin, a hybrid between true lavender and aspic lavender, a more robust plant with a higher yield of essential oil, but of lower olfactory quality. This is this type of lavender you will be seeing all around you!

♠ Pro – Tip:

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Where are located the lavender fields in Provence?

It is important to understand that the region we call “Provence” is a vast territory with a total area of 31,400 km2 (12,100 sq mi). It englobes 7 different sectors: Hautes Alpes, Alpes de Haute Provence, Alpes Maritimes, Var, Bouches du Rhône, Vaucluse et le Drôme Provençal.

But not all the Provence territory is equally rich in lavender. The extensive lavender fields are mainly located in the central area of this region, roughly inside a triangle formed by these three towns: Valence, Avignon and Grasse.

And even so we are talking about more than 1000km of scented and Colourful Routes running through lavender fields.

So, if you don’t have a lot of time, the trick is to stick to a smaller area so you can explore around without rush.

What is the best time to visit the Lavender Fields in Provence?

This is, without a doubt, the most recurring question I receive when we talk about the lavender fields!

Like every natural phenomenon, lavender bloom depends hugely on climatic conditions.

The air temperatures, rain cycles and drought are some important elements that can influence when blooming will take place.

Usually, lavender starts blooming mid – June, and it can last until end of July depending on the field location.

In fact, not all the lavender fields start blooming at the same time. The difference is mainly linked to the altitude at which the field is located.

There are three main blooming periods / areas, approximately distributed like this:

Area nº 1 – 1st fields to bloom, starting mid-June (harvest starting from early July):

This is the area with lower altitude, where the first flowers bloom

  • Around Manosque,
  • Apt, Roussillon et Gordes area
  • Nyons, Valréas et Grignan area
  • La-Bégude-de-Manzec
  • Crest, Chabeuil and Saillans near Valence

Area nº 2 – 2nd fields to bloom, starting late June (harvest starting from mid-July):

This area includes some of the most famous fields. Please notice that sometimes Valensole is considered in the area nº 1. From our experience and based on the date of the Valensole Lavender Festival it makes more sense to place this location in this blooming area.

  • Plateau de Valensole  
  • Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
  • Gourdon near Grasse
  • Saint-Jurs and Barrême area
  • Forcalquier
  • Chateau-Arnoux, Peyruis and Sisteron area
  • Montmaur-en-Diois

Area nº 3 – Last fields to bloom, starting in early July (harvest starting from late July):

  • Sault et Banon area
  • Argens area
  • Thoard area
  • Saint-Auban-sur-Ouvéze area
  • Saint Nazaire le Désert area

From our experience, the first week of July is then the safest and best time to visit Provence Lavender fields.

With a little bit of luck, you will be able to have the whole experience: magnificent lavender fields in full bloom in area nº 2, the harvest and distillation process and lavender festivals in area nº 2 and spot the firsts flowers in area nº 3.

For us that’s the perfect combination! It allows for a very balanced family trip with outdoor visits and educational activities with less crowds.

♠ Pro – Tip:
  • check the date of the Lavender Festival and come around 15 days before. You can check the Provence´s Lavender Festivals calendar to better plan your trip.
  • if you have the opportunity, choose to visit Provence before school holidays in France, usually starting around 8th July. After that there will be certainly more people as the French families also flock to south France, especially French Riviera not far away.

The most beautiful Lavender Fields (by blooming area):

1.      Notre – Dame de Sénanque Abbey (Gordes, Vaucluse)

It is one of our favourite spots in Provence to enjoy lavender season.

The calm ambience, the scenery with the monastery and the meticulously planted lavender, all the butterflies flying all around us… everything is perfect and inviting.

You will find multiple lavender fields. Not all of them accessible to the public. Please respect that.

Take the time to visit the Abbey and learn a little bit more about the products they produce locally. 

Photo spot:

GPS: 43°55’40.5″N 5°11’12.4″E

♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Notre Dame de Sénanque is located below a hill. For that reason, after 19:30h the light is not really amazing. You won’t be able to enjoy the sunset here.
  • We recommend visiting it at sunrise or in the afternoon, around 16:30 – 17h, after a nice lunch and ice-cream nearby in Gordes village.

2.      Puimoisson

This is one of the most popular locations for photos due to its cute stone hut in the middle of the lavender field and the mountains skyline on the backdrop.

You will certainly find a lot of people here. It is also possible that the main field is closed to the public. With the increasing number of tourists some owners need to protect their fields. Don´t be disappointed and please, respect the access restrictions.

The views are still spectacular and you can go a little further in the same road and find some open fields.

Photo spot:

GPS: 43°53’33.1″N 6°07’00.6″E

3.      Plateau de Valensole – Lavandes Angelvin

The Valensole Plateau is extremely photogenic with its perfectly arranged valleys and its enchanting setting.

The most beautiful, the largest, rows aligned to perfection, with the famous heart shaped tree is also one of the most visited places in the south of France.

When here don’t forget to look behind you. You will find a beautiful landscape, with rolling hills covered in lavender.

Photo spot:

Lavandes Angelvin, Route de Manosque (D6).

GPS :  43°49’25.5″N 5°56’17.8″E

♠ Pro – Tip:
  • With perfection comes over tourism. The Valensole Plateau is extremely famous and gathers a lot of tourists during lavender flowering season. The tourism buses are not uncommon dropping off swarms of people at this specific location.
  • Prepare your self to be surrounded by people at sunset! 

4.      Terraroma Field

Just beside Angelvin you’ll find Terraroma Lavender field.

It is one of the famous fields where sunflowers and lavender grow side by side.

The contrast between the yellow and the purple makes for a very beautiful and original setting. 

Photo spot:

GPS: 43°49’08.8″N 5°55’57.6″E

5.      Lavender and Wheat field – Road D8

Provence is rich in different agricultural practices and lavender is definitely not the only type of fields you will encounter, as you have noticed in the location here above.

Other than sunflowers, lavender also grows near wheat fields, and it gives quite an interesting contrast of colours.

You will find a lot of this type of culture cohabitation, but the main location is along the road D8 between Gréoux-les-Bains and Valensole and between Valensole and the Digne Road.

Driving by this road you will also find sage (pink flowers) and immortelle (yellow flowers) fields depending on the time when you are visiting as these flowers are harvested a little bit earlier than the lavender.

 In the intersection of the road D8 and Digne Road you will find the location of point 2 above.

Photo spot:

GPS: 43°47’36.4″N 5°55’51.6″E

GPS: 43°53’28.7″N 6°03’59.5″E

6.      Nyons

At this location you will find a stone house full of charm beside a lavender field.

The field in itself is not too big but usually the owners decorate it with giant bees. It’s really cute and funny to the little ones. Our kids always ask to at least drive along this field.

The overall setting makes for a beautiful opportunity for great photos.

Photo spot:

GPS:  44°23’14.6″N 5°00’44.1″E

7.      Saignon

This is other location with a beautiful stone house in the middle of lavender fields. The difference here is that this house is still inhabited and very well-tended and full of charm.

One other advantage of this spot is that is not very crowded, and the kids can play safely far from the road.

If you visit this spot, please be respectful of the owners, their field and their privacy. Appreciate the views and the surroundings but don’t stay for long.

Photo spot:

GPS:  43°51’59.4″N 5°26’00.6″E

8.      Plaine de Croix

This field used to have a beautiful lavender shop that has been closed for some years now. Unfortunately, with everyone flocking to Valensole and other over touristy spots, this field has been kind of forgotten.

That’s a shame because this location offers an amazing opportunity for a picnic and some beautiful photos.

Photo spot:

GPS:  43°56’01.7″N 6°03’22.1″E

9.      Waving field in Le Castellet

This field is quite small and, being in a secondary road it is quite unknown to the masses.

We found this field by accident, but it was a beautiful surprise. Kids could play a little bit and we found a lot of butterflies and snails that fed their curiosity for a while.

Photo spot:

GPS:  43°56’30.3″N 5°59’24.1″E

10.  Sault – La Loge aux Lavandes

We visited this lavender field early August. At that time, it was the only field that hadn’t been harvested yet. The owners were saving it for the Lavender festival and for the few tourists still visiting the adjacent shop.

From this field you’ll have a nice view of the village uphill and visiting the shop and cellar you’ll have the opportunity to learn a little bit about lavender and its uses.

Photo spot:

GPS:  44°05’28.3″N 5°24’00.4″E

What if can’t visit during the best time?

If you can’t visit in the optimal frame i still recommend you to go anyway. Provence is a beautiful part of France and has a lot to see and done other than the lavender fields.

Also, the best time to visit may vary every year. We never know.

If you arrive a little bit earlier, before full bloom, you will find less vibrant colours. In the fields, the lavender´s purple flowers will be mixed with green hues.

In the case you arrive late July just go directly to Sault. It will be there you will have the better chances to still find lavender fields in bloom.

These photos were taken in Sault in mid-august. As you can see the fields are not in their finest hour but you will still get some colours and a nice feeling.

Visiting the Lavender Fields with kids in a sustainable way

The perfectly aligned lavender that makes for incredible photos is the result of many months of intensive and hard work. This is true for every single one of the lavender fields you are visiting.

These flowers aren’t only being harvested to produced essential oil used for medicine, parfums and other products. They also play an important role for the bees, butterflies and a lot of other animals.

In fact, lavender has been cultivated for a long time, well before we arrive as travellers to admire its beauty. And will certainly continue to be cultivated if the tourists don’t flock to the fields.

So please, be considerate and respectful. This is an amazing opportunity to show our kids how to care and how to protect the environment.

Here’s some points to consider when visiting the Lavender Fields

1.      Look where you step

Be careful not to step over the flowers. Thought they usually are perfectly aligned in rows sometimes they grow over the path. Do your best not crush them.

Also, respect the rows and don’t try to jump over or go through the flowers. Choose your path and stick to it.

Once crushed the flowers won’t produce the fair amount of oil, for example. Nor can be used for bouquets. All the hard work will go to waste.

2.      Don’t pick up the flowers

Never, ever, pick up the flowers. There are plenty of nice places selling lavender bouquets for a fair price.

Usually, each bouquet costs around 3€. A quite unexpensive way to respect and help those who let us visit their fields.

These well garnished bouquets are also a beautiful prop to your photos. Nicer than some flower brunches you could pick. Win-Win. 

3.      Respect barriers

In response to the over tourism and the disrespectful way people sometimes visit the fields, a lot of cultivators are fencing the lavender fields.

Sometimes it is done in a quite simple form, and you could passe through the barrier anyway. Just don’t do it! Please respect the indication to stay away.

Not only it is a very good lesson for those of us that are traveling with children. But if we all trespass, cultivators will be forced to use more effective barriers and we will no longer be able to enjoy this experience.

There are plenty of open fields. Just go a little further and you will find one for sure.

4.      Protect the bees

You will find bees everywhere when visiting the lavender fields.

Don’t worry, they are fully distracted by the flowers and won’t even notice you.

Respect them. We are the intruders. Not them.

They are important players for the environment, the pollination and even for the local economy.

Don’t scary or crush them. Choose to visit and walk the fields at sunrise before they arrive and after sunset when they leave.

If you are picnicking offer them water. Maybe you had never thought about it before, but it can make a huge difference in the bees’ welfare.    

5.      Be careful when flying your Drone

Thought it is not officially forbidden to fly drones in Provence, over the lavender fields, you should be considerate about it.

First of all, you will find some spots packed full of people. This is common sense and a primary rule but, avoid flying over other people as much as you can.

Other important point when flying a drone over the lavender fields are the bees.

That’s right, as I said before, they are everywhere, and drones are lethal to them. So how can you avoid the bees?

Fly high, well above their space and avoid flying when the sun is setting. At that time bees are leaving the fields for the night, and they move in swarms, so when you hit them, you hit them big time.

Fly high when bees are leaving. As soon as the sun start crossing the horizon bees will be gone.

Tips for the best photos

When visiting the lavender fields you will be wanting to immortalize the moment. Especially if you are visiting with your kids.

Even if you are not a professional photographer, the lavender fields of Provence offer a myriad of good opportunities to amazing pictures.

Here I’m giving you precious tips to shoot the best family photos.

1.      The best time to take photos.

You will find the optimal light conditions at sunrise and sunset.

During these periods you will be able to capture all the nice shades and hues lavender can take, from reddish pink to vibrant blue.

That being said, don’t expect to be completely alone at sunrise, especially in the most famous spots.

Lavender is in bloom for a short period of time, so all the professional photographers wake up really early and gather at the best photography spots. 

Anyway, you will avoid the heat that can be quite intense during the day in Provence at this time of the year. So, there’s still a lot of advantages.  

But if you want to see the famous purple waves you need to visit at midday. It won’t be as easy to photograph as at sunrise or sunset, but it is another ambiance altogether.  

1.      Family photos

If you want to capture your family photos all by yourself, the tripod will be your best friend.

Being outdoors you will have plenty of space so we recommend you bring a hight tripod that can put the camera or your phone at least at your eyes level. It will allow you to capture your family and the lavender fields.

Some places will be really crowded. Prioritise your family memories instead of looking for the most famous plans and framing. I´m thinking about the heart shaped tree in Valensole for example. Avoiding it and focusing on your family will ease the process and produce a better result. Just go so lavender rows further and you will have a beautiful background completely empty of people.

Don’t stage too much. Play with your kids and enjoy the moment. It will give the best photos.

If you only have a small tripod, that’s all right. Try to sit down between two rows of lavender. It will give you the opportunity for some beautiful family photos too.

Other possibility is to book a photoshoot with a professional. I particularly love the work of Flytographer because they capture the location and the overall feeling really well.

2.      Photographing children

The best strategy is to let your kids play around and choose candid photos instead of staged ones.

If you have babies or toddlers take them in your arms. Play with them and cuddle. You will get some amazing photos.

Other option is to get down at their level and play with them.

For toddlers and older kids encourage them to explore, to search for butterflies or ladybugs or to admire and smell the lavender flowers. They can also do a race, each kid in a different lavender row.

You can also give them a lot of nice props to play with: windmills and soap bubbles work really well. Usually, you can easily find all of these in the local shops in the nearest village.

3.      How to dress

Lavender has a very strong and vibrant colour. Therefore, there are colours that work best with the lavender hues than others.

If you are looking for some contrast, choose white and yellow. It will allow you to pop up in the middle of a big lavender field for example.

In case you prefer a more subtle result choose light pink, soft purple or champagne beige.

Floral patterns work really well too.

And don’t forget some accessories like a lavender bouquet, a straw hat, a lace umbrella and a cane or rattan handbag and baskets.  

How to effectively organise your day when visiting the lavender fields with kids?  

Summer in Provence can be quite hot. And distances between points of interest quite big.

A good organisation is key to enjoy your family trip. So, here’s my suggestions:

Morning

Unless you are doing a road trip in a campervan or staying in a village located near the fields, I personally find sunrises with kids a little bit hard. More so knowing we won’t be alone in the fields anyway.

If you are an early bird, sunrise is a beautiful experience to live in Provence, but it can be tricky to do it every single day so don’t be disappointed. However, a morning walk is definitely something you should do with your family.

But if you are staying a little far away from the lavender fields, I suggest you to use the morning to enjoy the pool at your hotel or to visit a local market.

Mid-day

We love to picnic near the fields under a big shady tree or to enjoy a local restaurant in one of the beautiful Provençal villages. Take your time. Enjoy your meal and go for a lavender ice cream before you hit the road.

Afternoon

The afternoon is the perfect time to learn more about lavender. Visiting a distillery, a museum or some local stores is the perfect way to avoid the heat and connect with the lavender cultivators.

If your kids still need a nap take this time to drive around the lavender fields while they sleep in the car. This is a very effective way to let them rest and discover more amazing places and points of view at the same time.

Usually, some restaurants and shops are closed during the afternoon, so the villages are quitter and emptier. If you only want to stroll around the afternoon presents the opportunity to visit some beautiful places without the crowds.

Yet again, if you are staying near the lavender fields the afternoon is also a good time to enjoy the pool.

Early evening

As the sun set quite late and the restaurants sometimes close quite early, we use to have diner in one of the small villages before heading to the lavender fields for sunset. This is a very effective approach to be able to enjoy the fields in a more relaxed way.

Other possibility is to do an evening picnic already at the lavender field of your choice. The only negative point is that everyone gathers in the fields for the sunset, so you won’t be alone and peacefully enjoying your meal.

Evening  

At this time of the year the villages come to life in the evening.

You will easily find music and fair festivals with people dancing and kids playing until late in the evening. This is very traditional in south Europe.

I suggest you to join in and experience these moments of joy and happiness so typical in our summer evenings.   

How to get to Provence?

1.      Flying

If you are arriving from abroad, you will be most likely flying to France.

The nearest international Airports are Nice and Marseille.

I personally recommend flying to Nice as the airport is way more pleasant and organised. Also, Nice Airport is strategically located to visit Côte D’Azur and Monaco if you have the time.

2.      By train

  Provence is reachable by SNCF trains from:

  • Paris : to Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Nice, or Marseille
  • Genève : to Marseille
  • Bruxelles : to Avignon
  • Barcelona : to Marseille

3.      Driving

If you are already in France the easiest way to arrive to Provence is driving your way south.

This will give you a lot more flexibility in terms of dates and will be less expensive, notably if you have a big family as we do.  

This is also true if you are in Switzerland, north of Italy or North of Spain. 

How to get around?

As I said above, a car or a campervan will be your best friends in this trip. Especially with small children in tow.

The so called “lavender roads” (routes de la lavande) cover more than 1000km. Even if you are not doing it all you most consider that the fields are huge. Therefore, there are big distances between points of interest.

Unfortunately, and contrary to what to may read in some blog articles, public transportation is not a real alternative as it generally only serves villages and run on the main roads between them. It doesn’t take you to the lavender fields, whatsoever.

You definitely need some freedom and flexibility to enjoy this region to the fullest while meeting your family’s needs.

From our experience the best solution really is to rent a car or come with your own if you have the possibility. Or choose to do a road trip in a campervan. The kids will love it for sure!

Where to stay?

Tough there are a lot of beautiful and cute villages near the lavender fields, lot of them are very small with a very limited hotel offer and prices can be higher.

If you are willing to try this option and prioritise location, I recommend staying in Moustier-Sainte-Marie, Valensole, Forcalquier and Gordes.

The best next thing is to stay in one of the bigger cities nearby: Avignon and Aix-en-Provence are good choices.

In the case of a last-minute booking staying in Marseille or Nice, where you will find more hotel options, is still feasible.   

Looking for cool experiences?

There are several amazing experiences you can live when visiting the lavender fields, some more costly than others.

1.      Hot air balloon ride

You can see the lavender fields from above with your own eyes. Flying in a hot air balloon is one of the most stunning experiences around lavender you can have in Provence.

It takes place at sunrise and the entire experience have a duration of 3 to 4h including a breakfast with local produces, the briefing and balloon preparation and 45min to 1:30h of flight (depending on the companies).

The only negative point for families (beside the price, of course) is that children under 6yo are not admitted.

But this is, without a doubt, an unforgettable experience. You will find more information here:

If you only want to see the hot air balloons from the ground just drive to Riez or Puimoisson before sunrise. These are the best locations to catch the balloons in the air. But don’t forget that the balloons don’t fly every day, depending on the wind, weather conditions and demand. You’ll have higher probability of seeing some balloons on the weekends as there is more demand. 

2.      Bike tour the Lavender Roads  

Bike along the lavender fields is another amazing experience.

The slower pace and flexibility to stop where and when you want will allow your family to enjoy Provence in a completely different way.

You can choose to rent bikes and explore around

Or to do a Guided Tour to the most iconic lavender fields

3.      Picnic in a lavender field

Even if bike around is not for you, doing a picnic in the lavender fields is always a good idea.

You can go to a local market in the morning where you can find plenty of amazing fresh produces and drive to a lavender field nearby.

There are a lot of fields with trees where you can easily find the so needed shade and a nice spot to picnic.

Try to move away from the road so the kids can play freely and just enjoy the birds chirping around you.

You can also do a guided tour with picnic included. In this case your guide will organise everything for you, choose the best local produces and take you for the best picnic spots.

In any case, just be careful not to leave any traces behind you when you leave.

Free Map with the best lavender fields in Provence

Find all the previous locations of the best lavender fields on our map below.

Or you can access our Google Free Map here.

Please remember that the fields can change, be cultivated in a different way for example, or even not cultivated at all. This locations are based on our experience and the fields we have found and visited in the last few years. We can not guaranty you will find exactly the same.

Ready to explore the Provence Lavender fields with your children?

I hope this guide has inspired you to visit the beautiful lavender fields of Provence with your children. From the vibrant colours to the delightful scents, it’s a magical experience for the whole family, for sure.

Remember to bring your camera, enjoy some lavender ice cream, and make wonderful memories together.

Provence is waiting for you, so pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the French countryside!

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment to this article and will get back to you.

You can also write me on Instagram!

Safe family travels!

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