Keeping France's shrinking violet trade alive

The significance of the delicate plant for two regions

February is the month of the violet in France with festivals in the two regions which are centres for this winter flower. Tourrettes-sur-Loup in the Alpes-Maritimes is the only place where the violet is the sole or main crop. Their Fête des Violettes is on February 27-28. Toulouse has long been called la capitale de la violette and has its festival on February 7-8.

The Maison de la Violette, on the Canal du Midi, aims to uphold the tradition of the Toulouse violet

When the winter fields are bare what more attractive crop could there be than the violet which flowers from October to March at Tourrettes-sur-Loup in the Alpes-Maritimes? It has been cultivated there since the 1880s and at its peak there were 40 growers. In the last 15 years that number has decreased rapidly and now there are only three producers but the scent of the flowers is still in the air when you visit the village in winter and visitors flock to the annual festival and to a museum dedicated to the ...

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