Valensole, France by Titouan Paitier Debray

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There are few places I enjoy revisiting as much as the lavender fields of Valensole, in Provence. It is one of those locations that almost always yields a portfolio image. The drive, from the coast of the French Riviera up to the plateau, in the backcountry, is sublime in itself, taking you past the vineyards of the Var and the gorgeous turquoise colours of St Croix lake. The final stretch of mountain roads up to the plateau welcomes you with the scent of lavender slowly increasing in intensity. Once there, you can spend hours driving on the long, straight roads, with endless fields of lavender on either side, as far as the eye can see.

This image was taken during my first trip to Valensole, in the beginning of summer, just as exam season wrapped up. The first two weeks of July are generally the peak of violet colours - although weather means this varies year by year. I was not alone, and did not intend to make this a photography trip, so this image actually ended up being captured at the "wrong" time of day. The light was harsh, it must have been 35 degrees Celsius with not an ounce of shade in sight, but it was absolutely delightful. This made post-production rather tricky, but the final image remained my desktop background and personal favourite right up until my next trip to Valensole, the subsequent summer.

The stunning display of colour, perfect leading lines, and two solitary trees have made this a location I always revisit. I have done so three times now, with each trip yielding a new favourite, but I have yet to "re-do" this specific shot. Some part of me just doesn't want to.

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