When: May / June
Where to find them: In the countryside, all over France
COQUELICOT (POPPY FLOWER)
Poppy, (Coquelicot in French) is a red flower that can be found all around Europe. In France, it's possible to see Poppy fields in May and early June. Poppy is not specific to one region, and you can have the chance to find poppy fields anywhere in France. However, the largest and the most beautiful ones are in Provence.
A FLOWER LESS AND LESS VISIBLE
Even if poppy fields are amazingly beautiful,the poppy is not cultivated in France. It’s actually an undesirable weed which competes with cultivated plants. As a result, cultivators have been fighting poppy for decades, through the use of herbicides. As a result, it has become difficult to find poppy flowers in the French countryside.
If you're lucky enough to find a poppy field, you will see that French people love to go there to take photos or pick up flowers for a bouquet. Indeed, in May and June the weather is usually pretty good in France so it's usual for French families to go to the countryside during weekends or in the evenings.
Claude Monet: "Les coquelicots" (1873), Musée d'Orsay
Many artists have been inspired by Poppy fields in France, as Monet or Van Gogh. When you look at this famous painting of Monet, it's interesting to see that the scenery of the French countryside did not change much in 150 years (only the clothing style is different!)
Vincent Van Gogh: "Champ de coquelicots, Auvers-sur-Oise (1890)
In some of the fields, the weeds can be very high (up to 1 meter!) and keep the humidity: it's better to wear outdoor shoes and pants (to prevent insects bites).
Author, photos: Vincent Sacau