The summer I was fifteen I went up towards the mountains for the lavender harvest. It was Marthe’s idea, she who persuaded our parents to let me go to see for myself how the ridged uplands had been transformed into purple carpets where the scent was born.
from The Lantern
The lavender harvest will begin in the next few weeks, so the end of July is the perfect time to see fields of purple. As the hills rise into mountains, the checkerboards of colour are grow more dense against the green and pale stone. The warmer the day, the more heavily the air is perfumed.
Ask anyone about lavender, and the chances are they won’t be able to give you a description of its aroma. But more often than not, they can give you some visual reference. Lavender is color, waving fields of purple, rich blues and faded mauve. It is the essence of blue and of the warm winds of summer, opulent against the yellow of the cornfield, mysteriously shadowed under the olives that are sometimes planted as its companion.
These fields are in Sault, in the great lavender-producing area of the north-west of Provence. This small town, built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the narrow plateau where the crops grow, seems almost entirely dedicated to its industry. Even the shutters and doors of many of the buildings are painted mauve:
Local produce in the butcher's shop includes pork with lavender honey:
There are lavender biscuits, and lavender teas...
And just look at the sumptuous purple of this tablecloth:
And shops entirely devoted to lavender and sunshine...