Lavender Flower | Photo Makhfud Sappe
Chasing the Purple Flower to Provence
Makhfud Sappe
Tue, 30 Apr 2024
The Provence region is known for its lavender fields, and it is even the icon of Provence.

After spending three hours traveling by TGV from Gare de Lyon Station, Paris, plus one local train connection, me, and my three traveling companions—Muchlis, Martini, and Aimee—arrived at Avignon Centre Station, Provence. We dragged our bags out of the station to the old town of Avignon, which is across the railway station.

The old town is surrounded by walls like a fortress. Hundreds of posters were randomly placed. Some were piled up and hung in random places. The atmosphere was very crowded, and it turned out that the Avignon Festival was taking place. This festival has been held since 1947.

The festival features various dances, dramas, and street performances from various countries.

 Avignon Festival

We went through the hustle and bustle of the festival, looking for tourist information centers. We wanted to find information on where to see the lavender fields.

"The lavender harvest is almost over; there are one or two villages left that haven't harvested yet. It's a bit far from here,"  explanation tourist information officer. 

We asked for a minibus with an English-speaking driver to take us to the lavender fields. 

It was still early in the morning. The sun has yet to shine. The air is cold on the skin. The car that would take us to see the lavender garden was ready in front of the hotel. We hurried to catch the opportunity to see the lavender flowers in the morning.

"Most of the lavender flowers were harvested last week. This year the weather is hotter than last year, so farmers are forced to harvest their lavender earlier," said Bruno, our driver.

"Don't worry," he said. "There is still an unharvested lavender farm in the Sault area. We'll go there." Bruno continued.

Photographing lavender was something I had planned to do a month earlier with a friend who is currently based in Paris. The plan was canceled because the lavender flowering period coincided with Eid al-Fitr. With the plan postponed, this time I did not want to miss the opportunity to photograph the lavender.

The car drives slowly through the still-dark dawn. In the darkness, I can see the remaining half of the 'Saint Benezet' bridge, which was built in the 12th century and has been listed as a UNESCO site since 1995.

The car leaves Avignon to the north. A few minutes later, the silhouettes of the hills and valleys on either side of the road came into view. We were already in an area outside the city. The road was slightly uphill and winding.

My mobile phone screen showed our position moving slowly on the Waze app, still 60 km to go to Sault.

Bruno then told us about the condition of Provence. He understands this region very well. That's not just because he's a native, but also because he works as a history teacher. Being a tour driver is his part-time job.

"The Provence region is known for its lavender fields, and it is even the icon of Provence," he said. The sun's rays have begun to illuminate the area. From behind the hill, the sun slowly rises.

The countryside became more and more apparent. We passed fields of harvested lavender and fields of wheat.

From the paved road, the car turned left, entering a narrow, rocky road. The hilly contours of the area made the layers of the landscape clearer.

We stop near a vast lavender garden with the picturesque Sault Village in the background.

The sun was already shining, the sky was clear and cloudless with a slight light blue bias, and the purple lavender flowers in front of us were planted in a line. The line stretches along the valley, as far as the eye can see, like a tapestry of purple and green colors. We decided to take a photo at this spot.

The morning atmosphere is still calm. Occasionally, small groups of cyclists pass by on the main road. The sunlight begins to shine on the lavender flowers. The purple color of lavender contrasts on the camera's LCD screen. The wind blows softly, and the scent of lavender begins to waft. 

It was a quiet morning with the fragrance of lavender. The occasional sound of insect wings flying from shoot to shoot of lavender flowers. I started taking pictures. My traveling companion drowns in selfies among the lavender.

By ten o'clock, we continue our journey to Sault, a village on a hill surrounded by lavender fields. I was starting to feel hungry; we hadn't had anything to eat since morning.

Continued  LAVENDER : The Miracle Flower of the Middle Sea

Article in Bahasa Indonesia :  Mengejar Bunga Ungu ke Provence


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