Lavender Museum (Musee de la Lavande)
Enjoy the intoxicating aroma of lavender as you tour the 200-acre (80-hectare) farm, learning how the plant is grown and distilled in machines dating back to the 17th century. Tours of the museum are immersive, covering each step of the process. The museum makes for an excellent day trip from Avignon, Marseille, and Arles. Half-day tours allow for time to explore Luberon’s gorgeous hilltop villages Oppède-le-Vieux, Roussillon, and Gordes, with stops at the Marquis de Sade’s infamous castle and Sénanque Abbey.
If you have more time, take a full-day tour over the Sault plateau to admire the blooming fields along the Lavender Route to catch the spectacular views along the Ochre Path in Roussillon.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Coustellet Lavender Museum is an ideal spot for nature lovers of all ages.
- The entrance fee is about US$7, with discounts for students, seniors and groups (kids under 15 accompanied by adults enter free).
- Audio guides are available in several languages.
- Many tours are family-friendly and wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
The Coustellet Lavender Museum is in the heart of Luberon, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Avignon and is not accessible by public transportation. The drive takes you through fields of lavender and sunflowers, and parking is available on-site.
When to Get There
The museum is open daily, with distillation exhibitions in July and August when lavender fields are in full bloom. Also during this time in Avignon, farmers markets and cultural festivals are plentiful, including large events such as the Theater Festival in Avignon and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, in July. Beat the crowds by coming in the fall harvest season or the spring when wildflowers and poppies canvas Provence. The museum is closed in January.
Botanical Notes Along with thyme, savory, and mint, lavender belongs to the lamiaceae botanical family. Three species grow naturally in Provence: lavandula vera, spica, and stoechas. The name ‘“lavender” comes from the Latin verb lavare, meaning “to wash,” as the ancient Romans used the plant essence to perfume their bedding and baths, and in the Middle Ages, prestigious universities studied and documented the plant’s medicinal and pharmacological properties.
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- Senanque Abbey (Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque)
- Les Halles Market
- Rocher des Doms
- Palace of the Popes (Palais des Papes)
- Little Palace Museum (Musée du Petit Palais)
- Rhône River
- Avignon Cathedral (Cathedrale Notre-Dame des Doms)
- St. Benezet Bridge (Pont d'Avignon)
- Les Baux-de-Provence
- Montmajour Abbey (Abbaye de Montmajour)