Travelling to the Provence provence in Southern France in summer time brings many treats from visual, taste and scent. Although my trip to Provence is at the beginning of August, I was hoping to catch the last glimpse of vast field of lavenders in Valensole Plateau before they are harvested. Alas, summer 2015 was an extremely hot year, and to avoid the lavenders from drying out, almost all the lavenders in Valensole region are harvested earlier than usual. I was told I’m only 2 days late. Giving up hope is not an option for me, especially I’ve come so far to see lavenders.
When I’m in the tourist office in Valensole town and enquire where can I find more lavenders, their reply was a simple confirmation that the entire southern France has no more lavenders, everything is harvested. In my mind, I know that’s impossible. Sometimes, I just don’t trust these service personal at all. I’ve encountered many times that they are wrong and they don’t really know much. My instinct and common sense is what I always rely on. Travelling for so many years, experience has told me to not trust anyone but myself and Mr Google!
I Googled for lavenders in Provence and out came information on a town called Sault holding the biggest yearly lavender festival on 14-15 August. That’s one week later, so I’m sure there should be lavenders in that region. The area where Sault town resides is on higher ground as well, so their harvesting time is later than Valensole region.
We drove about 1 1/2 hours up towards Sault from Valensole. And on the route nearing to Sault, we found lavenders fields! And lots of it. I knew never to trust anyone but Mr Google!
I got out of the car, and immediately, the lovely smell of lavender filled the air. Hopping with joy that I found my lavender field, I grab my camera wanting to start snapping photos. Then I remembered about manners.
Almost all lavender fields in France are privately owned, therefore, it’s basic courtesy to ask for permission from the owners before taking any photos. I saw a group of people sitting by the a house near the field, so I assumed that they should be the owner. We went over and asked if it’s ok if we took some photos of the lavender fields, which of course, we were given the permission.
From my experience, all the owners that we’ve asked happily granted our wishes. Some are even pleasantly surprised that we bother to knock on their door to seek for their permission. We did see some tourist who are oblivious to the knowledge that these fields are someone’s property, and I find that thoroughly disrespectful.
So, who are the rude ones when French are always being stereotyped as unfriendly and snobby?