Lavender Festival in Sault 2015

This was the end of the blooming period of the lavender fields in Provence on August 15th. Now, if you want to come back next year to see the lavender fields in bloom in Provence, smell its fine perfume and admire its magnificent blue color, you will have to wait until June 05th 2016 !
Every year, the blooming season of the lavender fields ends with the famous Lavender Festival in Sault. This picturesque village of Provence, considered as the lavender capital, has been welcoming for 30 years a traditional festival to celebrate the flower, symbol of Provence. This festival attracts many tourists from all over the world and also many locals.

The entertainments of the festival are available all day long : lavender cutting championship of France with a sickle (event reserved for professionals) and the lavender cutting contest with a sickle (event reserved for amators). All day succeed farandoles happy with Provencal folk groups and all teams dressed in their fragrant strands.There is also the lavender farmers’ market, the products of the farm, a book fair, an exhibition of paintings, village crafts, a horse show and a closing concert. Children are not forgotten with the pony rides program and exhibition of a hive where they explain how the bees allow to create a so tasty lavender honey.

Every year, we drive you in our comfortable minibuses from Avignon, Arles and Aix en Provence, to discover this Lavender Festival on August 15th !

For those who will not be patient enough to wait until next June, the lavender museum is opened all year long (except in January). Our shared minibus tours from Avignon, Aix en Provence, Arles and Marseille can escort you to this charming museum where they share their knowledge with you and explain all the secrets of the lavender : production of essential oil, video about the culture of lavender and the collection of the flowers in August.

See you next year for our 2016 Lavender Tours !

Provence reservation minibuses

FLOWERS OF LAVENDER

For a long time the flowers of lavender came from the region of Mévouillon, near Mont Ventoux (the tallest mountain in Provence 1912 metres), and were recognizable by their deep blue colour and their lasting qualities. Quality flowers, reaped when they are in the early stages of blossoming and dried very quickly, bring sweet smells to the homes of many. We can buy these flowers fresh or dried in bouquets or in provencal cloth sachets often at the farmers’ market in the summer or shops all year round.

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Lavender is a pretty amazing thing to have in your culinary reserve but it can easily veer toward potpourri-town if you’re not careful. No matter what you plan to do with it, make sure to buy “culinary lavender.” Like coconut oil, lavender is produced for uses other than cooking. Culinary lavender is suitable for consumption while ornamental lavender isn’t (necessarily). And while it probably won’t kill you, just buy the stuff that you’re sure is safe to eat. It’s no fun biting into a piece of cake and coming away with a mouthful of leaves. We like to use lavender as an infusion, so either grind it (say, with sugar for baked goods) or strain it out of a liquid (cream or syrup) before using. You’ll still get great lavender flavor without the bits and pieces in your mouth.

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A little goes a long way. If you’re not following a recipe you trust, use lavender sparingly. Its flavor is strong and can easily overwhelm baked goods or savory dishes if you’re heavy-handed. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
Lavender has a strong flavor, so pair it accordingly with other assertive flavors. In baking, be sure to use a light touch or balance its low notes with something bright like lemon juice and zest.
A few more ideas if this got the creative juices flowing: Infuse simple syrup with a sprinkling of lavender and use to sweeten iced tea, lemonade, or even to flavor meringue. Grind some lavender into sugar and use it in simple butter cookies or infuse cream for lavender-scented whipped or ice cream.

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Lavender is a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme. It is best used with fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and savory. Make your own dry blend of herbs and flowers (we like lavender with mint and rosemary) and rub on lamb chops or chicken wings before grilling. You can even candy the blossoms and use those to garnish.
Though this year, we are in advance of the harvest because of the extremely warm weather, it’s still not too late too see the lavender fields.

Summer in Provence !

Provence in summer is the place to be !

We are lucky to have a wonderful weather with hot temperatures since few weeks. It’s the best moment to enjoy the provencal atmosphere under the cicadas song.
You must discover the landscapes of lavender fields, explore the authentic and typical villages of Provence for the last weeks of flowering lavender.
You will have the opportunity to smell the lavender and other incredible scent along the road. Leaving you time to take beautiful pictures to keep great memories. For lovers of photography is perfect to capture the landscapes of our Provencal countryside.

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The lavender is not only beautiful to see, it’s also good to taste ! The lavender honey or a lavender ice cream will surprise your taste buds.

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Many of our tours include a visit to the lavender museum to learn more about the lavender and lavandin in Provence. It’s incredible to discover that lavender has many properties including health properties for migraine, cramps, indigestion. Also known for aromatherapy, its used for medicinal vertues for centuries.
For a morning tour, afternoon tour or full day tour, do not hesitate, you will appreciate the treasures of Provence.
And, if you are lucky you will also be able to see sunflower fields in bloom around end of July!

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You can book your tour from Avignon, Aix en Provence, Marseille or Arles depending of your holiday destination, directly on the website of Provence Reservation.

Blue Gold Lavender of Provence!

This is the wonder of the South in a blue coat, she scents, calms, stimulates, tones and regulates this for millennia.
Lavender is discovered at your own pace, these landscapes in colors and incomparable scents.
Roads of the Lavender  are open from the Alps to Provence and you are training, the seasons, the discovery of an iconic treasure of Haute Provence,from Vercors to the Luberon, the Drôme to the Verdon, Hautes-Alpes to Baronnies.
They tell you a story, a memory, a skill … If you want to premonitory dreams, massage your forehead and temples with fresh lavender flowers crushed before you sleep.
So come and enjoy the last weeks of flowering lavender before cutting to the Sickle as in old times at the Sault that result each year to a huge party on August 15th with a fairyland of colors, smells and flavors or all day farandoles succeed happy with Provencal folk groups and all teams dressed in their fragrant strands.

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There is also the lavender farmers’ market, the products of the farm, a book fair, an exhibition of paintings, village crafts, a horse show and a closing concert in Provence.
Many of our tours include a visit to Sault as well as leaving you time to catch your favorite shots in the Lavender fields.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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 !
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