For the last week Apt has been turning purple.
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’.
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.
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…..
……to table-top demonstrations of essential oil extraction
…….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!
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
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!
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’…….
Although I’m still not sure about lavender pizzas or paninis!
In addition to the lavender there was also a good selection of local craft stalls, including our potter from Caseneuve, http://www.provence-poterie.fr/ whose work is simply lovely……
By far my favourite stall of the day though was the beautiful set up by Agnels, an old distillery just outside Apt.
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.
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)
I also managed to walk past the beautifully arranged lavender pâté
……. But am very happy with my lavender & ‘huile essentielle’ from Les Agnels – http://www.lesagnels.com
One thing is for certain – I should sleep well tonight!