Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Love Lavender? Try This!

Game on! The lavender is finally in bloom in Provence and over the next month or so I hope to share with you a couple fun ways you can experience it. Here's one...

Born in Paris, Elsa Lenthal now lives in Les Baux de Provence where, for 10 years or so, she's been making fresh lavender wands every summer. She sells them in local markets (see schedule below), in luxury hotels and on her website. And she's just written to tell me that, for the first time this year, she's offering workshops for people who want to make their own. 

The wands--known as fuseaux--are an 18th-century Provencal tradition still popular today. Used to perfume drawers and linens while keeping moths away, they were a popular part of the bridal trousseau, representing love and happiness. They're handmade with fresh lavender, from mid June to mid September, and they keep their natural aroma for years. (Gently squeezing the wand from time to time releases more fragrance.) Lavandin is the preferred variety of lavender, because of its high essential-oil content.

After harvest, the flowers must be worked quickly while they're still supple. The stems are folded back to make a protective case for the fragrant blossoms...and the weaving of the ribbons requires great dexterity.

Sign up for a workshop and Elsa will show up at your hotel or rental villa with her basket of freshly cut lavender and lots of colorful ribbons. "At the workshop's end," she says, "you'll have a souvenir of Provence which for many years will scent your home and revive your memories." Or, if you prefer, you can request your workshop outdoors overlooking the olive trees at Elsa's house, five minutes from Les Baux.

Lavender wand workshops are offered mid June to mid September and last about 2.5 hours. Price: 45€ per person, three people minimum.

As of about June 25, you'll find Elsa making and selling fuseaux in the following markets: Tuesday in Gordes, Wednesday in St Remy, Thursday in Maussane, Friday in Eygalières and Saturday in Uzes. 

Elsa Lenthal
+33 (0)6 13 17 46 46

Photos: Elsa's promo piece shows her out in the fields gathering lavender, a fuseau being carefully woven and finished fuseaux in various colors.


  1. How beautiful-would like some

  2. Lovely!
    Tell me Julie do you reccommend a particular fete de la Lavandre?
    Would love to know...so many going on..

  3. Hi Carol!

    Try Digne les Bains or Sault.

    Digne les Bains has two major lavender events: the Corso de Lavande will be August 5 to 9, 2016 and the Lavender Festival will be August 24 to 28, 2016. There you'll find producers, displays explaining the distilling process, lavender of all types for sale...and more more. For info: foire-lavande.com.

    In Sault, the Fete de la Lavande will be August 15, 2016. For info: fetedelalavande.fr.

  4. Thanks Julie. This is so important for us in France and I need to replace the old one at mum and dad's house. Will check her. Might do the workshop as it is real fun.

  5. We just hired Elsa for a workshop today in St Remy de Provence. She was a wonderful and patient teacher, spoke great english and has a passion for preserving the historical arts. We will treasure the experience. Thanks for posting Julie!



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