Along Routes de la Lavande®, from Digne-les-Bains, the historical capital of the lavender trade, to the Verdon where lavender production is still going strong, passing through the small villages of Mézel, Estoublon, Bras d’Asse and up to the Plateau de Valensole, it’s a breath of fresh air “made in Provence” guaranteed!
As Giono said: “lavender is the soul of Provence”, here, it is a real culture. To discover all the secrets of the blue strand, Provence-Alpes and its villages are the ideal places on the Lavender Routes!
DIGNE LES BAINS, CAPITAL OF LAVENDER
Emblem of Provence par excellence, lavender has found in Haute-Provence the ideal soil to flourish. Over the centuries, with the development of the culture, the lavender fields in the south have shaped the landscapes of the territory giving THE character trait of Digne les Bains. City where the wild lavender was formerly distilled then sold to the perfumers of Grasse, Digne les Bains profits today from the title of ” capital of the Lavender “.
Along Routes de la Lavande® around Digne les Bains, located at an altitude of 650 meters (lavender is cultivated between 500 and 1500 meters), the two varieties of lavender are harvested, true lavender and lavandin.
The Lavender Museum
In the heart of Digne les Bains, on the second floor of the store “Lavandières en Provence”, a museum pays tribute to the little blue flower, emblem of the territory. The visit is a real experience that will transport the visitor to the past, making him discover the beauty but also the hardness of the work in the mountains, thanks to the memories of the old ones. Throughout the scenes and the journey, life stories and testimonies of the families of lavender workers of the Dignois basin.
Throughout the summer, the museum offers distillation demonstrations to learn more about the technical side of making lavender oil. These demonstrations are entirely free and if the visitor brings a bottle, he can leave with the hydrolat obtained during the distillation!
The “Lavender” Month in Digne-les-Bains
The Lavender Corso takes place on the first weekend of August during which, since 1939, the city dresses up in lights and takes visitors and Dignois to the land of scents and dreams with its parade of decorated floats, its musical groups and its great fair.
The Lavender Fair, for its part, occupies the main square of Digne-les-Bains at the end of August. You will find there all the products resulting from the culture of the lavender, the essence of lavender, the soaps, the honey… This fair is organized since the years 1920. It was the end of the cutting period. It was originally a fair for lavender essence samples in order to make known its properties to the greatest perfumers.
Over the years, the Lavender Fair has become a very popular place where perfumers as well as private individuals used to meet to buy other Bas-Alpes products from the local production (honey, syrups, soaps, cakes …).
SAINTE CROIX DU VERDON
Along the Lavender Routes around Digne-les-Bains, behind the lavender fields of the Valensole plateau, nestles the village of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon. Located at 513m of altitude, the village overlooks the lake from its rocky spur.
Sainte-Croix is a charming village where it is good to stroll. It is made up of pretty houses typical of Provence, a 16th century church and the remains of a medieval castle. This village, surrounded by lavender fields, has become a small, friendly Provencal village, with a breathtaking view of the real jewel of the Verdon and the region: the lake of Sainte-Croix!
The House of Lavandin
Located in an exceptional environment, at the exit of the Gorges du Verdon and 5 mn from the lake of Ste Croix, the “Maison du Lavandin”, authentic shed surrounded by fields of lavender and wheat invites you to discover the benefits of lavandin. Find on the spot the products of the exploitation of Marie France and Raymond Bourjac.
Self-tour : the lavender of Digne-les-Bains
Circuit to discover the lavender fields by road bike
Starting from Digne les Bains, this tour takes you to Haute-Provence, through lavender fields and typical villages.
Direction the villages of Mézel, Estoublon, Bras d’Asse, then passage of the pass of Espinouse which offers a superb panorama on Digne les Bains and the Massif des 3 évêchés.
59 km, 3h15, 620 D+.
EXPERIENCES TO LIVE
Aperitif horseback riding in the middle of lavender fields
Imagine, a sunset, a light breeze, the fresh smell of lavender that intoxicates… Sarah proposes a horseback ride on the plateau of Valensole followed by an aperitif at the Domaine de la Blache in St Jurs! A unique experience to share with friends or family.
Electric mountain bike ride in the lavender fields
From Sainte Croix to the village of Moustiers Sainte Marie through the plateau of Valensole, this itinerary of the famous Transverdon goes on track in the middle of lavender fields. After a first stop at the orientation table overlooking the lake and the village of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, direction the plateau of Valensole, a treat for the eyes and the nose… On the way back, descent to the lake of Sainte-Croix for a well-deserved swim!