Provence, France. Even though I live relatively close to that part of the world and I’ve seen parts of it on numerous occasions, I never went there when the lavender is blooming and with the specific intent of photographing it. It’s one of those experiences that you know you can easily make, so you keep postponing it, thinking there will always be another chance.
I was also worried, having read some horror stories online, that I would have to fight elbow-to-elbow, for a spot to take my photos from from the edge of the lavender fields. As with many other iconic (or instagrammable if you prefer) locations, Provence during the lavender season seems to have become a victim of its own popularity, with hordes of people fighting for the chance to take yet another damn selfie, just to prove to their friends that they were there.
This year things were different, because I got an invitation from the talented Séverine Blaise to pay her a visit in her summer dwelling in the town of Gréoux-les-Bains. So I decided it was about time I threw caution to the wind and see with my own eyes what the fuss was all about.
I have to say that my fears were mostly unfounded. Maybe it’s because we went shooting before sunrise or in the middle of the night, or because Séverine knows some secret spots, but I was pleasantly surprised by how uncrowded all the locations we visited actually were.
One thing to consider is that the Valensole Plateau, where most of the lavender can be found, is relatively large and contains hundreds of plots of land cultivated with the purple flowering plants. If you go to Valensole, you don’t have to go to the same spot where everybody else goes, because there are many others that are equally beautiful and that almost nobody knows about.
Aside from flocking to the same spot as everybody else, another mistake you could do is to limit yourself to photographing the lavender fields, when the region has so much more to offer, most notably a handful of pretty towns and village perché, like Valensole, Riez, Allemagne-en-Provence, Moustier-Sainte-Marie, Saint-Julien, and more.
The majestic Gorges du Verdon, Europe’s largest canyon, are also nearby. We didn’t have time to explore them this time, but we’ll certainly be back someday.
You can see below some more photos from this short trip that is absolutely worth repeating at more leisure. I’ll be back!