Last week Scott and I decided last minute to take the boys away to the south coast of France for some much needed beach time, with both of us having grown up near the coast, every few months we both get an urge to be close to the sea again and this year with Covid scuppering any plans to visit Devon and Cornwall a weekend down south was just the ticket. Once I'd booked the campsite (yes we camped with a 3 and 1 year old, yes we're crazy) I quickly realised our route there would take us right through the middle of Provence right in the height of lavender season.
Cue me being beyond excited.
I scoured the internet for real time information about where the best lavender fields are located, how in bloom they would be and if harvest had yet begun. I found all the information I needed on https://www.lelongweekend.com/ & Nadine Maffres super informative facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProvenceTravelPlanning/
It was harvest time but we might just make it...
We set off early and headed for Valensole, our trip took us more or less right past the area so it seemed the perfect spot to stop. We arrived right at noon in the heat of the day and were thrilled to still see so many fields in bloom and not yet harvested. The boys were pretty over things by this point so we searched about for a quiet spot to have our picnic and for me to take a few photos.
I couldn't believe the smell that filled the car as we drove around, it was dreamy. Strong but not at all overpowering. I hung my head out of the window like a dog and let the hot fragrant air wash over me.
We found a dirt track behind the village which led us to a cut wheat field where we could park right alongside a blooming field of lavender. I immediately dashed into the field with my camera and started shooting, it was a dream come true. Ater the initial giddyness subsided I coaxed the kids to follow me up the center of the field where a pretty little ruin stood.
After giving Scott a quick crash course on how to focus my camera and setting its settings I jumped in front for a rare few images with my boys. Just about every photogrpaher on the planet will attest to this, it's not easy to hand someone your camera and expect much from the results (I promise having a good camera doesn't matter any where near as much as you would think) BUT the boy did good and he captured my new favourite image of me and my biggest boy.
The boys (Scott included) were rapidly loosing patience in the midday heat so we had our picnic in the shade and then decided to head back on our way, but not before stopping to buy some local products and to visit just one more field I had spotted on our way into the village. Within minutes of being back in the car boy boys were fast asleep so once I'd stocked up on lavender oil, soap and honey I headed out into the last field. This field was different, not so wild, no weeds, just perfect row upon row of lavender bushes.
I don't claim to be a landscape photographer, familys, children and weddings are definately more my style but I thoroughly enjoyed being able to just take photos of the scenery, not worry about if I've captured the right pose or angle, if everyone has their eyes open, if the ultra fast speeding toddler is even in focus! I could just take my time, think about the compostion, soak in the scenery and shoot. It was thereputic and inspiring.
I'm already counting down the days until I can return again next year, this time I want to stay for sunset and perhaps drag a friend along that I can persuade to throw on a pretty dress and twirl in the lavender rows for me. Who's in??