I like my name Esmé, but have always thought that if I had been christened Violet, I would have worn clothes in shades of mauve and purple, at least after I had left Redmaids!
Lavender in France is known as ‘L’or bleu de Provence’, the blue gold. It is so intrinsically French. The author Jean Giono famously said “ Lavender is the soul of Provence”. There are too many stories about it for this article. I love to think that Mary Magdalene washed the feet of Jesus with it. It was regularly used to perfume tombs, and Charles VI insisted on having cushions stuffed with it wherever he went.
Lavender is harvested mostly from June to August, starting along the South, and then to the Alpes of Haute Provence. The essential oils are used to make beauty products and perfume. It is also thought to have healing qualities, and distillers move from market to market with their stills.
Grasse is the town at the centre of the perfume production. It’s not a pretty town, but it smells delightful! Nowadays many top chefs use lavender in their creations, and it’s very popular in ice-creams.
I wish you all a perfumed April, and a healthy one.