The lavender flowers are blooming !!!

Sunshine, sunshine…is shining in Provence for the last couple of weeks. We are blessed with such a weather with the temperature climbing higher and higher and the lavender flowers are starting to bloom rapidly. In the days to come, it will be shining like an amethyst and we will see an ocean of violet blossom. We can smell the scent of the lavender as we approach the fields.

When the flowering begins, the farmer stops the weeding as it could damage the development of the young flowers. It’s also the time to get the distillery ready around mid June. Do you know how to distil? In plant distillation, steam goes through the flowers to extract the essentiel oil. The word ‘still’ refers to the vessel containing the flower. Each producer owned a still which he adapted to his needs. More often than not this apparatus was made of copper, a fairly light, easy to work metal and a good heat conductor.

There are three distillation techniques. The naked flame still, the bain-marie still and the steam still. The lavender museum exhibits a good selection of stills used in the olden days and you will learn the ways of harvest and the distillation for the lavender essentiel oil. Of course, if you wish to bring back a small bottle of pure lavender essentiel oil, you are most welcome to buy it at the museum.

Many of our tours include a visit to the Lavender Museum as well as leaving you time to catch your favorite shots in the lavender fields,

Reserve now at www.provence-reservation.com

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What is « Terroir » ?

Coming to France, you will be encountering the word ‘terroir’ very often. It’s a french term that literally means ‘earth’ or ‘soil’ but on a general term, ‘terroir’ combines special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the agricultural product such as wine, olive oil, cheese, sunflower, lavender makes the product unique to that area.

Lavender honey, a perfumed and very effective tonic, is very popular and is given pride of place in Provençal market stalls. With its delicate floral scent and enticing flavor reminiscent of lavender flowers, many honey lovers consider lavender honey from Provence, Southern France, to be the best honey in the world.

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It’s hardly surprising that lavender growing and bee keeping should be closely associated, since one sees so many beehives in or near lavender fields. Bee keepers are often itinerant and will move their apiaries from one site to another depending on the season and the quality of the flowers growing in each field. Each hive can yield about 35kg of honey each.

lavande ruche

Come to try some, either on your morning toast of bread or scones, sweeten your tea or coffee. Drink a glass of warm water mix with lavender honey for soothing effect in the evening. Used in pastry baking and there are many other health-benefits.

We are now in mid-May, the stalks of lavender flowers are coming out nicely. A few more weeks and we will see the first bloom of the year. We invite you to join our lavender tours and come to taste the delicious lavender honey too ….

A Plant with many healing properties

Lavender essentiel oil has always been sought after for its medicinal properties. Proven by many a scientist (Caujolle, Giraurd, Gattfossé amongst them), the latter who launched modern aromatherapy in 1928.

Remedy for many ills and ailments that can be treated with the 100% pure lavender oil :

A couple of drops on your pillow is a well-known recommendation for an alternative treatment of insomnia especially for elderly people.

Taking a lump of sugar or a spoonful of honey with a few drops of lavender oil will relieve sore throats.

huile

Deeply inhaling a preparation based on this oil before going to bed at night is a good way of fighting infections and keeping at bay the many winter illness like colds and sinusitis.

Used also as an antiseptic for disinfecting and healing cuts and wounds, burns, insect bites, sunburn, eczema, acne.

Taking a bath with a few drops of lavender oil will relieve stress & anxiety.

Indigestion, lack of energy, migraine, cramps, rheumatisms, the list goes on ..

About a little more than a month from now, lavender plant is ready to bloom its first flowers. We invite you to come to Provence and discover this natural wonder.

You can book already book online your lavender tours from Avignon, Arles, Aix en Provence and Marseille !

Do you know the difference between fine lavender and lavandin?

In the region of Provence, fine lavender (lavandula angustifolia) grows at a high altitude of 800 metres to about 1,200 metres above sea-level.  It’s a small plant with only a small flower on each stem.  It reproduces by seeding.  130 kgs of flowers are needed to obtain 1 litre of essentiel oil.
Lavandin (lavandula hyrida) is a hybrid between find lavender and spike lavender.  It is sterile and it reproduces only by cuttings.  Just about 40 kgs of flowers are needed to obtain 1 litre of essentiel oil.
lavande-lavandin
During this time of the year, April to May, mechanical weeding with a ‘griffon’ (claw-like rake) is fixed behind the tractor to pull out weeds between the rows of lavender.  For under 3 year-old lavender plants, we need with a hoe, as it could be uprooted by the rake.  All efforts are put by the farmers now to get the lavender plants ready for the blossom.
We are all eager to see the first flower bloom….you can already book online your lavender tour on http://www.provence-reservation.com

It’s finally here, the spring. Nature awakes…

The landscape of Provence is beginning to fill up with the colours of almond, cherry and apricot blossoms.  The vineyards are coming alive with new leaves unfolding.  The traditional Provençal markets are filling up with punnets of strawberries, tasty asparagus.  Every village are buzzing with activities to welcome the tourists.
Lavender “The Blue Gold” symbol of Provence.  The word Lavender is derived from Latin ‘Lavare’ meaning to wash.  Since 2000 years ago, Romans are known to use it to scent their baths, linens and clothes.  After ‘resting’ during the winter, the plants and soil are warming up.  Spring is the period when the young plants are gathered from the nurseries and are planted in the fields.  Farmers work to pull out weeds between the rows of lavender and organic fertilisers are added to the soil.
2 more months to go… we look forward with great anticipation for the first flower to appear.
You can already book online your lavender tour http://www.provence-reservation.com !
young lavender