This past week, I broke the rules of blogging. I…
Chances are that when you think of fields of Lavender, Provence is the first place that comes to mind. Did you think of Canada? It may come as a surprise that Canada is home to a number of lavender farms, the largest of which is Bleu Lavande in Quebec.
Bleu Lavande is located in Quebec’s Eastern Townships in the southeastern part of the province. You can drive there from Montreal in less than two hours.
It’s not just a farm. Rather, it’s an estate devoted to well-being and all things lavender. That includes things like a lavender oil massage, a yoga class among the flowers or some lavender ice cream. Visitors are welcomed from May to October, but the best time to visit is in July when over 100,000 lavender plants are in full bloom. I visited at the end of July – – still beautiful, but just a touch after the peak bloom.
How Lavender Changed One Man’s Life
In 1998, Pierre Pellerin was a successful inventor and entrepreneur with a business in electronic instruments. He worked hard and traveled a lot. One day, seemingly out of the blue, his body started shutting down. It was a message. His doctor told him, “Change your life, or life will change you.”
After selling his business and focusing on his recovery, Pierre had no idea what to do next – – until he discovered and fell in love with a beautiful property. He bought it and, based on his previous travels in France, decided to turn it into a lavender farm. He was told it couldn’t be done in this region, and there were some tough times to get it going. But with perseverance, he opened Bleu Lavande in 2004.
It’s a story that resonates with me, and, no doubt, many people, as a lesson in following your bliss.
The Benefits of Lavender
Lavender is known to have many therapeutic properties – – a fact that was probably not lost on Pierre. The essential oil has been used for over 2500 years, to soothe a variety of ailments. It helps to relieve anxiety, stress, sleeplessness, burns and headaches. It’s also a good insect repellent and smells much better than the regular ones.
According to Bleu Lavande, for the medicinal qualities to work, you need to have pure lavender essential oil (Lavandula Augustifolia), containing no other ingredients.
And then there is that incredible scent. It fills the air at Bleu Lavande, which offers a wide range of lavender products in its on site boutique and online.
Curious Facts About Lavender
I wish that computers had smell-o-vision, because when they make the lavender oil, the scent is heavenly! I just wanted to stand in that barn and inhale.
I was surprised to learn that the oil comes not only from the flower, but also from the stems. Everything goes onto a conveyor belt and into a distiller, where heat and steam release the oil as vapour condensation.
Some other interesting facts about lavender:
- Lavender, as a species of plant, belongs to the mint family, which also includes thyme, oregano, and sage.
- Lavender is a perennial, but in Canada, it needs special protection to survive the winter. At Bleu Lavande, the rows of plants are covered in straw and plastic over the winter.
- Lavender plants don’t produce seeds– propagation is done by cutting or root divisions.
- Lavender was used in ancient Egypt during the mummification process. (Apparently, it helps slow the aging process!)
It’s easy to spend the better part of a day at Bleu Lavande, wandering the fields or the lavender labyrinthe, or having a picnic on the grounds or grabbing a bite in the restaurant. The beauty and the fragrance of the estate make it special. But that’s not the only thing. Based on Pierre’s story, you know that the place isn’t just about producing blissful products – – it’s about about creating that feeling of bliss, in and of itself.
You may also like: