Sensory journeys: cultural base of perfume, my journey could only start from Provence

Traveling is something fantastic, it can be done in many different ways and some places allow you to travel by experiencing through all five senses. Sensory travel is ideal for those who, just like me, love to travel calmly, without haste, in close contact with the culture and nature of the places visited. The beauty of a trip, in my opinion, lies in being able to capture the beauty of the various contexts, appreciating places at the fullest, discovering them thanks to the activities that characterize the local culture.

These types of travel are perfect for those who want to exercise and enjoy all the senses, and not just sight and taste (usually the most relevant in this sector), or for those who for other reasons do not have the opportunity to enjoy sight and have already learned to be charmed and guided by others. These trips are open to everyone, and I guarantee that you will live unforgettable experiences thanks to the emotional intensity of each activity.

Provence and lavender

One of the places that fills my nose, my heart and my eyes with joy is Provence, well known for its lavender that covers the fields with its wonderful shades that lighten from blue to purple and lilac, spreading its indistinguishable aroma. The sense of smell is not the only way of feeling pleasure here, as you can imagine that you are getting lost in a landscape that seems to have come directly out of an impressionist painting, with the buzzing of cicadas, the intense perfume released under the blazing sun, and the wonderful contrasts that appear at sunset, which will provide a unique and indescribable experience. It is the perfect place for those who love photography but also for those who want to discover a place at 360 degrees, appreciating the colors of the earth and the harvest festivals, the lavender-based culinary recipes and the treatments in the spa with all the products made from the essence of this wonderful plant.

You can not miss the visit to the abbey of Sènanque, Platueau de Claparèdes, where in addition to the purple of the lavender you will aslo appreciate the gold of the wheat and the red of the poppies, the Prieuré de Salagon, where you can learn a lot about this precious flower, and finally Château du Bois where the true essence is still distilled with ancient traditional methods.

The Albion area and the Platens of Valensole are the places where, in the undulating hills, between magnificent horizons that highlight the lines between cultivated land and small characteristic villages, lavender grows alongside cereal crops.

Did you know that there is a plant called a lavandin? Let me explain the difference between lavender and lavandin. The first one grows between 600 1400 meters above sea level. Today a PDO guarantees an essential oil from high provence which comes from the departments of Vaucluse, Drôme, Alpes de Haute Provence and Hautes-Alpes and a cultivation area located at an average altitude of 800 meters. It takes about 200 kg of fresh flowers to produce one liter of lavender essential oil!
The other very popular variety in Provence is the lavandin, which is a mix between fine lavender and aspic lavender (a wild variant). It is much stronger and creates
rounded bushes and regular fields that decline as far as the eye can see from 200 to 1,000 meters
of altitude. Its scent is much stronger than that of real lavender, slightly
camphorated and herbaceous, but still very fresh and pleasant.

Lavender, however, as well as in the hills, can also be found in the mountains of Provence, between valleys and steep slopes, giving life to an even more suggestive show.

It is a fantastic product which has been used for centuries in perfumery and which, unlike many other mysterious but also very rare, can be easily found as a spontaneous plant in all continents but Provence is where it has established its heady kingdom.

Sensory garden: provence in your garden

If you, just like me, love to appreciate what surrounds you with all 5 senses (and in some cases even with the sixth), and you want to be able to do it as soon as you come out of your front door, a sensory garden is undoubtedly the best choice to make. Taking care of your soil by planting different plants can be a way to satisfy all senses whenever you want, without leaving your home and therefore even in difficult moments, here you will find relief. Colors, shapes and features can help create a wonderful visual environment in your garden. Here are my suggestions!

  1. Holding fresh grass in your hands or stepping on it, perhaps a branch of jasmine, can delight the senses and evoke memories. Choose flowers with subtle scents such as violets, aromatic plants such as mint, thyme or rosemary, to be placed along the edges of the path or next to sitting areas. However, try not to cross them to prevent the perfumes from getting confused.
  2. Lavender is an easy to grow Mediterranean plant, but you will need to plant it so that it has full sun and good drainage. It can be grown in a pot if the soil does not allow growth, and its fragrant purple flowers will enhance the beauty of any garden.The collected lavender can be used in crafts, in the production of bath salts, baked goods and herbal teas. Its calming and reassuring power will help you regain your focus discovering that you can have an easy and immediate supply will be a great joy!
    A few simple steps will allow you to grow fragrant lavender in your personal garden, just choose a good plant to put in a sunny area, check the drainage of the earth, plant lavender fertilizing the soil when it is planted and every spring.
  3. Over the year, check if the plant has dead or dying branches and remove them immediately, prune the whole plant in early spring, before new growth begins, to adjust its shape. It may appear strange to you, but pruning promotes healthy growth, and will allow the plant to become larger and thicker over time

Now that your eyes are painted in purple and your nose is just waiting for a dip in the perfumed fields, you can choose whether to enjoy Provence out of town or to bring a piece of it to your home!