Lavender, Lavender everywhere….. The Apt Lavender Festival

For the last week Apt has been turning purple. 

Over the last couple of weeks more & more displays like this have been appearing in Apt

Not only have the fields around the town been scenting the air with Lavender, but purple bunting has appeared, shops have had tables outside with displays of lavender flowers & plants have been appearing in the street. All a pre-cursor today’s ‘Fete de la Lavande’.

The Fete’s welcoming archway

I love lavender in almost every form, so today seemed like an ideal opportunity to find out more about how the oils are distilled and to just enjoy the whole amosphere that comes with the local festivals,  which really are great celebrations of specific local products.

Local festivals are always bustling & great to visit

Arriving in the town the first thing that struck me was the scent of lavender that filled the air. I’ve enjoyed the scent whilst cycling through the lavender fields, but this was in a totally different level, mainly (I soon realised) from the various distilling machines that had been set up across the town. From large, mobile machines…..

Lavande du Soleil – large mobile distillery at work

……to table-top demonstrations of essential oil extraction 

A demonstration ‘still’ on the Agnel’s stall

…….there was no getting away from the wonderful smell.

Walking in from the Cereste side of the town the first thing I came across was the main car park, filled with stalls & vintage cars, all decorated beautifully with bouquets of lavender

From an old, but immaculate 2CV…

To a beautiful old car that just made me want to adopt my best ‘Downton Abbey’ accent & enjoy an perfect ‘vintage’ picnic!

All I need now is a chauffeur, Champagne on ice & cucumber sandwiches (with the crusts cut off of course!)

The Main Street through the town was busy with people & a lot of the shops had moved their wares outside, focusing on anything they had for sale  with lavender either in it or on it – I particularly liked the sound of the lavender Calissons 

Such a lovely little display

The whole town had a wonderful buzz about it, with young & old alike enjoying the event – there was certainly something for everyone including pony-riding

On the corner of one of the squares, bunches of lavender were beng handed out to people who passed by, so almost everyone I passed was carrying a handful, or two!

Lavender being handed out by the Lions Club – lots crushed underfoot too, so this corner smelt particularly good!

Many of the restaurants were also offering special menus for the event, recommending various dishes infused with lavender, from lamb to my own favourite ‘Crème Brûlée à la Lavande’…….

Crème Brûlée à la Lavande is delicious & I just had to have one!

Although I’m still not sure about lavender pizzas or paninis!

Not tempted myself, although there was quite a queue!

In addition to the lavender there was also a good selection of local craft stalls, including our potter from Caseneuve,  whose work is simply lovely……

Today’s stall – I love the simplicity & colours in her work

By far my favourite stall of the day though was the beautiful set up by Agnels, an old distillery just outside Apt. 

The Agnel’s stall – a real picture

The old vehicle, filled with bouquets of lavender looked fantastic & the table-top glass distilling demonstration really helped to show how the process worked & it struck home that only a very small amount of oil actually is extracted.

I was amazed to see how shallow the layer of oil was after processing

So all in all I managed to spend a very pleasant few hours wandering around a very lovely, local event. 

Of course I couldn’t leave empty-handed – I did manage to resist the Lavender liqueur (although have a feeling I’ll be getting some soon as with white wine it’ll make a lovely Kir)

This not only tasted good, but was a beautiful colour too

I also managed to walk past the beautifully arranged lavender pâté

……. But am very happy with my lavender & ‘huile essentielle’ from Les Agnels – 

One thing is for certain – I should sleep well tonight!

Shop local – Caseneuve pottery jug, local lavender & essential oil – lovely!

5 thoughts on “Lavender, Lavender everywhere….. The Apt Lavender Festival

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