The 8 best photospots to shoot Lavender fields and all you need to know - bgs Photography

Complete guide for photographers in Valensole



and 8 amazing photography spots in lavender fields

Each year from mid June to mid July, Valensole and its lavender fields become a must see spot

Colors popping, flowers blooming, perfume, heat, sounds of the bees. A perfect recipe for a peaceful moment.

No need to be a photographer to appreciate this incredible scenery !


I decided to create this guide as I frequently receive emails or comments asking for details about location. It is just an overview, as possibilities are quite infinite.


Any plan to visit Valensole and its surroundings soon? No worries, I will share hereunder all tips you need to make your visit quite easier.

This article contains affiliate links

When to get there

The lavender season at Valensole is from mid June to mid July. It may change slightly each year, but generally, the best moment is the last week of June, when lavender is in a full bloom. Harvest is starting around mid July so be sure to get there before ! Please note that you will easily find lavender fields in other places in Provence during the whole summer.


How to get there

Valensole is a village located in Provence, in southern France. You have a couple of options to get there :

By Train

The closest railway station is Aix en Provence (TGV). SNCF offers daily trains from Paris and most of the main cities in France. Just check out their website to find the best option. Once arrived at Aix, just rent a car to be free (forget any bus options as you will need to move frequently). It's a short 50 minutes drive.

You can also consider arriving at Marseille or Avignon depending on your vacation plans.

Keep in mind that train is not cheap in France, and price may vary a lot. Then consider booking your train ticket in advance.

Book your ticket (SNCF Website)

By plane

Air France offers daily flights to Marseille from the most important cities in France. You should also find offers from main cities in Europe easily, and just rent a car from the airport terminal. Then it's a 1h10 drive to Valensole.


Book your ticket (Air France)

Book your ticket (Expedia)

Book your ticket (Lastminute)

Accommodation

The best thing is to find accommodation very close, even more if you intend to shoot at sunrise/sunset or during the night, to limit driving time. I strongly recommend to stay at Valensole or as a last resort at Manosque.

As there is only a very few hotels in Valensole, AirBNB is a geatt option to consider.

Booking is also offering several options for BNB or Hotels in Valensole or Manosque

Lenses & gears

You're surely wondering what kind of gear you should bring with you. Even if it will always be a tricky question with no best answer, ensure to have at least an UWA zoom lense in your bag or purchase one on Amazon before you leave !

This is probably the most useful lense you can have in lavender fields

A luminous 14mm lense can also be considered if you intend to shoot at night / astrophotography.

A telephoto (basically a 70-200) will also offer a lot of possibility to play with perspective.

A good tripod / head (Gitzo and Manfrotto are my favorite)

Cleaning stuff, as it can be dusty / muddy depending on the weather

A Polarizing Filters (However, be aware of vignetting and polarization variation with UWA)

Extra battery and memory cards, because... you know !


Weather

The weather is usually very good at this period, and you may expect sunny days most of the time, specially at sunrise and sunset, which is not making easy to get an incredible colored cloudy sky. You have to be lucky.

Rain showers and storms are also possible, so keep that in mind be prepared.

Check out the forecast on Meteo France website


Best moments

Even if sunrise and sunset offer the best soft and golden light, you can shoot during daytime, avoiding as much as possible the window 10.30AM/3.30PM due to hard light. Use that time to explore the surroundings and find your next spot !

In late June, sunrise is around 5.55 am and sunset around 9.20pm. Quite long days !

If you don't use it now, The Photographer Ephemeris is  probably the best companion of your sunrise/sunset session. The Night can also offers amazing landscape for astrophotography lovers. It requires a little bit of preparation to define the right place / right moment. An app like Star Walk 2 will be very helpful if you intend to shoot the milky way. See details hereunder.


Books & useful resources

Hereunder all the useful resources I recommend you to have a look

Lonely Planet Provence


If you want to bring only one book, just take this one.

Clear and complete.

Edition 2016, the new edition will be published in January 2019


Buy on Amazon.com

Buy on Lonely Planet

The Photographer Ephemeris

Probably the most useful App for any landscapes / outdoor photographer. Available for computers as a web app or smartphone (Android or IOS)

It helps you plan outdoor photography in natural light. See how the light will fall on the land, day or night, for any location on earth.


Download for Android

Download for IOS

Browser App


Star Walk 2 App

A very handy and useful app for astrophotography, or any dreamer looking up to the sky.

It will let you know exactly when and where the Milky Way will be at a specific place, at a specific time.

It’s an incredible resource for night photographers.


Download for Android

Download for IOS


Google Maps (Satellite view)

A good way to find lavender fields orientation, and schedule your sunrise / sunset session. Also perfect to find ruins, trees or premises to explore once on the field !

Google Earth can also be used.


Download for Android

Download for IOS

Classic


Hint, Tips & items to bring

Do not hesitate to bring with you:

- A secateur and gloves: believe me, it might be useful for weeding, might preserve your hands and will make your picture better (or wait for other photographers to do it for you !)

- A hat (or an umbrella), especially if you're loosing your hair (as I am). It can be overheating in the afternoon in the middle of the fields (32 to 35 degrees, sometimes even more)

- Water and snack, as days can be very long during summer months

- A torch / light if you intend to shoot during the night

Finally, the photo Spots

There are plenty of amazing photo spots with ruins and trees near and around le plateau de Valensole in Provence to catch a perfect shot of lavender fields.

One of the funniest parts is precisely to walk in the fields to discover new ones, there are so much possibilities. Google Maps and its satellite view is also a precious friend to find good spots according to field orientation.

But if you only have a few days here, or even one single day, here are some good ones (which are quite popular,) to make your life easier and save your time !

Be aware that this area has become really popular these last years, and at the peak of the season, there is a lot of tourist bus which can waste a little bit your moment at the more popular places and make them quite crowded.

But if you're able to wake up in the early morning, which will also provide the best light, you will have most of the fields just for yourself. Same if you explore the fields far from the roads.

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A sunset in Valensole

Spot 1: Lavandes Angelvin

Type: Along the road to Manosque

GPS: 43.82286, 5.93748

Best for: Sunset / daytime

Pros: Different composition possible, 2 trees perfectly aligned

Cons: May be really crowded during the day and the sunset

Parking nearby: Yes

Rating: *****


End of the day at Valensole

Spot 2: The 3 trees / Les 3 arbres

Type: Along the road

GPS: 43.82057, 6.00379

Best for: Sunset / daytime

Pros: A very few tourists, mainly visited by photographers

Cons: May be muddy after a rain day

Parking nearby: Yes

Rating: *****


Spot 3: Ruins and hills

Type: A few minutes walk

GPS: 43.82057, 6.00379

Best for: daytime / night

Pros: Nice perspective

Cons: Not really

Parking nearby: Yes

Rating: ****


A night with lavenders

Spot 4: "Trees in a row"

Type: A few minutes walk

GPS: 43.84124, 5.95833

Best for: Night / daytime

Pros: Well oriented for night photography

Cons: Not really a public land (watch out for the dog if still there)

Parking nearby: yes

Rating: ****


Spot 5: "Ruins and Mountains"

Type: Along a road

GPS: 43.86061, 5.98999

Best for: Sunset / daytime

Pro: Nice view on surroundings on the background

Cons: Weeding can be necessary, as the field is not very clean

Parking nearby: yes

Rating: ****


Sunrise over lavenders

Spot 6: Premise and tree

Type: Near the road

GPS: 43.85972, 5.99645

Best for: Sunrise / daytime / night

Pro: Very scenic place. Good place to meet photographers on sunrise

Cons: Not really

Parking nearby: Yes

Rating: *****

Spot 7: Lavender and the village

Type: Near the road

GPS: 43.83212, 5.99195

Best for: daytime / sunset

Pro: Nice view with the village of Valensole at the background

Cons: Not really

Parking nearby: A very few minutes ahead

Rating: ***


Spot 8: Abbaye de Senanque / Senanque Abbey

This one is a little bit far from Valensole, but worth the drive

Type: Near the road

GPS: 43.92927, 5.18748

Best for: Sunset / daytime

Pro: A really nice place, to combine with a visit of the Abbey

Cons: Site not officially open at the best light hours. There are still some ways....

Parking nearby: yes

Rating: *****

Details at Abbey website


If you have more time in the area

If you still have some days to spend in Provence after visiting Valensole, I highly recommend 2 places not so far which really worth

Les Calanques, between Marseille and Cassis

Hiking, paddling or joining a cruise, there is a way for everyone to explore this amazing area.


My recommendation: Spend 1 day at Cassis and take a hike to the famous calanque d'en vau

Just follow the trail of the 3 Calanques, but do not miss to pass via the Belvédère d'En Vau, which is a little bit longer (8-9km) but definitely worth the extra time. Take the shortcut on the way back (5km). 

Don't forget to pack a lunch and grab a towel, and enjoy your moment on the beach.


More details on Marseille tourisme website (EN)

Les gorges du Verdon

Hiking, canyoning or paddling on the verdon, this place has so much option to offer.

My recommendations:

Hike the sentier Martel (great 15km trail, 7/8 hours one way)

I recommend to park your car at one edge, then hitch-hiking or take a taxi or bus to start your hike on the other side. Then no surprise at the arrival, you'll get your car immediately.

When I did it, the first car I crossed took and bring me at the other side

Paddling in the gorges

Starting from Lac de Sainte Croix, several option to hire a canoe. Just make sure to do it on the morning for a better experience, as it can be really crowded later in the day

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Feel free to comment, share any advice or correction to make this guide as much complete as possible and let people have the best experience in Valensole.

If you find it useful, it would be awesome if you use the affiliate links provided in this post to book your accommodation, car rental or train ticket.


Do not hesitate to share this page


Have a great time !


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