Sunday, ten in the morning. We took the A51 motorway towards the Alps.
The thermometer marked 29 degrees. Along the road are followed by the Durance and the Mediterranean climate influenced by the mountain, responsible for very hot summer and dry, in one of the sites in France more prone to storms at the end of August.
We achieved our objective of an hour later Valensole, an ancient city on a hill where you can see at the top, a stone church, its façade and the thirteenth century. But interest in this location long before the start of his 570m altidude on the plateau surrounding the city. Among the Southern Alps and the low-Provence, the plateau is a transition zone between the two regions, and has its strength in tourism, handicraft and agriculture, specifically the cultivation of lavender and lavandin, hybrid plant – created to the union and lavender doaspic.
Larger and more resistant to heat and drought, lavandin is widely used for cleaning and hygiene because of the presence of camphor. 60% of national production comes from here, the plateau of Valensole. 98% of these fields are colored purple lavandin. Lavender, much more demanding in relation to climate flore only in higher places and fresh, which represents only 2% of the territory, so their scent more floral, sweet, subtle, with soothing properties, is far more expensive . Here I pause.
Regardless of market value or other essential oil, see this landscape in a postcard is one thing, quite another to see it in person. Queues asplantas made with round balls as large purple gain ground on both sides of the road in some stretches to lose sight of. Here and there the purple is punctuated by the golden wheat and green almond and olive trees, but they are the stars, are by lavenders that tourists stop cars in the shoulders for a moment that awakens the best in every sense. From the pictures you can have an idea what I’m talking about, but it’s a shame you can not smell the scent, the sound of bees, “vuvuzelas” sites, and much less experience the taste of honey with lavender.
I let you go for a few seconds, before inviting him to come into one of the many stores throughout the four corners of the valley. Inside, a film is shown to tour groups (starting at 15). Twelve minutes to explore the details of the planting done between November and February, the harvest takes place between 10 July and 10 August – since 1970, machines have replaced sickles – and distillation. 40minutes during the plant is “cooked” in the steam and the result is the oil condensate, which before being used still needs to be separated from the floral water that accompanies it. Are required to produce 50kg of lavandin 1L essential oil of lavender and twice for the same amount of oil. I noted some products and their prices to give you an idea of ??the final cost of the product: