They call lavender a blue gold of Provence because of its unique therapeutic, curative, and cosmetic properties. Blossoming during June-August lavender adds wonderful purple, magenta, and blueish-indigo colors to the Provençal landscapes. These colors change depending on the weather and the blossoming season.
I heard a lot about the lavender previously. But I went to the Lavender Museum, located in Coustellet, for some additional information. The museum was established by Lincelé family which produces lavender essential oil and cosmetics since 1890. Some of the information I learned was a true discovery for me.
Before visiting the museum I considered everything of a blueish-indigo color and with a corresponding aroma to be a lavender. But it turned out that these plants could be tremendously different! The true lavender, called Lavande fine, is a small size plant, which grows on the arid plateaus in Provence, 800 m or more above the sea level. It is widely used in medicine, mainly as an antiseptic, a sedative, or an analgetic. Due to its very soft and delicate aroma, lavender is one of the main components of the luxury cosmetic products. It is necessary to distill 130 kg of lavender in order to produce 1 litre of the essential oil.
Everything that grows less than 800 m above the sea level is a hybrid called lavandin (lavandula hybrida). It was bred in 1950 and has been cultivated since that time. It is beautiful, long, and fluffy. It has a strong pungent scent, but does not have any medicinal properties. Only 40 kg of lavandin is necessary to distill in order to produce 1 liter of essential oil. Lavandin commercial cultivation advantages are obvious, so check the list of the cosmetic products ingredients carefully.
This is the map of the territory where lavender and lavandin are grown in Provence.
As I have mentioned before, valuable lavender essential oil is produced using simple distillation process. There are many various interesting distillation machines of different epochs presented in the museum.
There is also a nice boutique in the museum, where you can buy various products containing lavender – cosmetics, perfumes, tea, honey, and other very, very necessary ))) things. Masterclasses are being performed in the museum, so you can also have a bottle of oil made with your own hands. Very cool!
After the museum, I went to the fields to see the true lavender. Lavender fields are in blossom at different time in different regions of Provence. So, if you wish to see blooming lavender and lavandin, the best time to come here is during the period from the last week of June till the second week of July.
We offer a wonderful tour to the heart of Provence: Lavender Museum, Gordes, Notre-Dame de Senanque Abbey.