Provence boasts plenty of natural marvels—harbors of crystalline waters, breathtaking mountain views and charming destinations for every kind of traveler. But from June to August, one of the most magical sights to see are the seas of full-bloom lavender, rippling with purple-pink waves.
If you read our story on Provence’s history, you’ll remember that this land has its roots in ancient Rome and so does the lavender. The flower derives its name from the Latin “lavare,” meaning “to wash,” and the Romans did in fact use it to freshen up their baths, beds, clothes and hair. They also cherished it for its healing powers and anti-inflammatory properties.
To this day lavender is perhaps just as essential to the Provençal tradition. It can be found across the cultural board, from cosmetics to cuisine. The gorgeous hue and relaxing fragrance is incorporated into beauty and home products ranging from soaps and oils to perfumes, while the subtle floral flavor is a must-taste in traditional French desserts like calissons, macarons, fromage blancs, sorbets, and cakes— not to mention in the bundles of herbs you pick up at the marché.
While the true beauty of lavender is best experienced in southeastern France during peak summer, there are still plenty of aromatic indulgences to try no matter where you are. The fragrant flower alleviates tension or stress, provides a more restful night’s sleep, offers relief from digestive irregularities, acts as a natural bug repellant and so much more. Ahead, a quick guide on how a little lavender can enhance your everyday life.
Try a few drops of lavender oil on your pillowcase to help you drift off to sleep. You can also massage it directly onto your scalp to soothe and and stop dandruff, or dab it onto your skin to repel bugs and de-puff bites.
Before you slip into bed, nourish your body with a luxe lavender lotion or oil. It’s a decadent way to treat yourself after an evening shower and the aroma is so relaxing.
Sip your way to tranquility with herbal lavender tea. Or, sprinkle a few lavender buds directly onto yogurt parfaits, smoothie bowls, or desserts. Not only does it look and taste divine, it can help regulate digestion.
Bring an air of Provence into your living space with a candle right from the source. For a rainy afternoon or an evening in of pampering, the warm, gentle scent is guaranteed to calm the vibe.
Lavender iced lattes, anyone? Swap out regular sugar for a lavender (or lavender-lemon!) simple syrup to sweeten up fancy cocktails, hot teas, or dessert recipes—the possibilities are endless.
The French have long known how to incorporate lavender into their cooking, and now Sharon Shipley has divulged all their secrets. Discover how the herb can be used in all your favorite dishes, from honey-glazed chicken dinners to silky gelato blends.