Valensole is a picturesque little town near the Gorges du Verdon, famous for its cultivation of lavender and for its truffles.
300 days of sunshine a year
Located on its plateau of shades of lavender blue and wheat gold, Valensole is a picturesque little town at the northern end of the Verdon Regional Natural Park. With its 300 days of sunshine a year, Valensole lives up to its name: it comes from Vallis and Solis, which means valley of the sun. The medieval village is built in an amphitheater on the side of a hill overlooking a valley crossed by a river. The streets and alleys spiral up to the Saint-Blaise church dating from the 11th century and its huge bell tower at the top. The facade of this church is in the Provençal Romanesque style and the choir is Gothic. Inside you can admire pretty stone sculptures, ribbed vaults, capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and fantastic figures as well as 16th century chapels.
Lavandin crops and truffles
The old center of Valensole conceals beautiful old houses restored in the colors of Provence, some with corbels, ogival doors, wrought iron balconies and pretty shutters. There are fountains, in particular the very decorative fountain in the Place Thiers, chapels and an imposing five-basin wash house which dates from 1681. Two listed gardens invite you for a peaceful break: the Clos de Villeneuve, labeled remarkable garden, and the Château du Grand Jardin. Unless you prefer to relax on the terrace of one of the very friendly restaurants and cafés. Many shops offer artisanal products, especially with lavender, honey, essential oils, lavender ice cream, nougat or even truffles, another local speciality. Indeed, the Valensole plateau is famous for its lavandin crops and for its truffles. Covering around 800 km², this plateau is the largest area in France dedicated to the cultivation of lavender and the blue, purple and purple fields stretch as far as the eye can see. Flowering from mid-June to mid-July is an explosion of colors and the intoxicating scent of lavender fills the exceptionally pure air of the region.
Learn everything about Lavender
At this time, guided tours on the theme of lavender are organized by the Valensole tourist office. And all year round, the distilleries open their doors to you to show you around their farms and discover the stages of the distillation of lavandin, from picking to packaging via the stills. Some, like the Ferme du Riou, still use the most traditional techniques. Each year, the city of Valensole organizes its Lavender Festival on the 3rd Sunday of July.