From the end of June, the lavender plant is in flower in the Haute-Provence (France). Why not discover this exciting event during your holidays and enter into the “lavender spirit” ?
This county celebrates lavender throughout the summer. The association “Les routes de la Lavande” will help you discover the men and women who distill and produce this plant. They will share their expertise and their ideas on this plant with you. You can discover the famous lavender essential oil, “Lavande de Haute-Provence”, which is an AOC, and meet the producers, visit the distilleries, the lavender workshops and the botanical gardens.
This is an opportunity to discover the lavender itineraries, to meet the local people, to visit the sites, shops and restraurants.
The history of the establishment of lavender cultivation in Provence
Before 1900, lavender was a plant which grew in the wild. The local people didn’t cultivate it, but they did collect its flowers.
The cultivation of the plant was developed due to the passing of herds which encouraged the growth of unofficial lavender farms, and to the proximity to Grasse, where many perfume producers set up their businesses. The perfume industy needed a lot of flowers.
In the 1960s, cultivation expanded and the first lavandin plants appeared in the fields. Processing factories were then set up in the 1970s.
Common or true lavender (lavandula angustifolia) is a specifically a French plant. Other countries like Bulgaria, Russia and Moldavia, grow clones selected from French lavender populations. Spike or Portuguese lavender (lavandula latifolia) is grown on a large scale in Spain.
France produces 50% of the world’s lavender.
This is a sterile hybrid of common and spike lavender. It’s high rate of homogenity, hardiness and productivity has made it popular among producers. The Valensole and Albion plateaus account for half of the world’s production.