le journal

A rush of scarlet: Poppies in Provence

A rush of scarlet: Poppies in Provence

Poppy fields in Provence are a breathtaking natural phenomenon in the month of May. As one drives through the region, fields flank the roadsides with swaths of scarlet. It is as beautiful as the rows of lavender in July, but perhaps lesser-known.

I spoke to a neighbor who farms the land here in the south of France and asked him how this proliferation occurs. He explained that poppies are talented self-seeders - they are ruthless in their spread. He said that this fact, combined with some specific characteristics of Provence make a magical combination for these endless fields: the climate, well-drained soil, wind for seed spread (Provence is famous for this), peak of spring with daylight nearly reaching full tilt and temperatures that remain soft.

May is a special month in Provence and we are partial to it, compared to the summer months that bring hordes of tourists. If you're thinking of a trip to the south of France, consider timing it with this natural wonder. The blooming poppies paint the landscape with splashes of color, providing a stunning background for painting, photography or any art.

The lovely thing about poppies is that they will pop up anywhere at all.

Photography and writing by Emilie Johnson. She lives in Provence and can be found on instagram at @emilie_joly_johnson