Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur (PACA) is the South-Eastern administrative region of France that includes six départements (districts): the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04) with Digne, the Hautes-Alpes with Gap (05), the Alpes-Maritimes with Nice (06), the Bouches-du Rhône with Marseille, the Var with Toulon and Saint-Tropez, and the Vaucluse with Avignon.
PACA is the third richest region in France mostly because of its attractiveness in terms of tourism. With a diversified geological landscape from the Alps Mountains to its plains and coastal sand beaches, it is indeed one of the favourite worldwide touristic destination welcoming about 34 million foreign tourists each year.
The in-land Lavender Routes are proposed to the lavender enthusiasts, who seek to discover this symbol image of Provence travelling through a thousand kilometres of roads with exceptional sceneries and a rich cultural heritage. From the north to the south, one may enjoy:
- The Drôme Valley, on the edges of the Vercors cliffs, with the locally famous Clairette-de-Die fresh white wine and the Picodon goat cheese;
- The Drôme Provençale and the northern Vaucluse, with the earth ware village of Dieulefit, the lavender-surrounded castle of Grignan and the small black olives of Nyons;
From the Provence Barronnies to the Ouvèze and Buech River valleys, where the cicadas sing among lavender fields and orchards, west of the antique city of Vaison-la-Romaine on the way to Sisteron;
From the Ventoux and Lure mountains in the north to the Natural Park of the Luberon near the Valley of the Durance in the south-east, with the “capital of the lavender” village of Sault;
From the Haute-Provence plateau of Valensole covered with lavender fields to the village of Sainte-Croix where the Gorges-du-Verdon canyon starts, with the picturesque village of Moustiers famous for its earthenware and superb view on the valley;
The choice of the route(s) you follow partially depends on the season: the higher altitudes induce later flowering seasons, with a harvesting period starting mid-July in the Drôme Provençale east of Montélimar to mid-August near Sault and Valensole. The lavender varieties and the local climate also influence the harvesting periods.