Provence, France

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  Close your eyes and breathe in. The scent of lavender is rather  calming, don’t you think? Now listen. Can you hear the thousands of  bees and bumblebees buzzing around the bushes? Welcome to lavender  season in Provence, when the rolling fields of the French countryside are  emblazoned with the purple shades of this scented shrub. 
  The well known local author, Jean Giono, said, ‘Lavender is the soul of Provence,’ and many  agree. Entire menus are composed around it, but it’s best enjoyed when  infused into ice cream or honey. 
  Blooms are best in July when visitors spend  their days roaming the countryside from the Luberon hills to Valensole  (where this photo was taken), visiting monks who lovingly grow the herb,  and exploring the beautiful towns in between. July, of course, is also the month of Bastille Day (celebrated on the 14th), the French national holiday. It  commemorates the storming of the Bastille 230 years ago, more than half a  millennium after monks began planting their lavender fields in Provence.

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